It looks like Google is finally fed up with developers updating their apps by avoiding the Play Store. The company recently revised its Developer Program Policies after Facebook was found to be pushing updates to its Android app without resorting to the Play Store. Google has now put its foot down to discourage other developers, adding a new clause to the “Dangerous Products” section.
The terms and conditions now say that “[a]n app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play’s update mechanism.” As a result, Facebook and other developers will no longer be able to push updates to users without going through the Play Store. Facebook previously justified the activity by saying that it only pushed the updates to users who had chosen to allow installation from unknown source, but now it really doesn’t have any excuse.
So why is Google enforcing this now? Apps could potentially point to a malicious APK if they try to update outside of the Play Store. Sure, it’s unlikely that a major company like Facebook would try to pull such a stunt, but it looks like Google would rather emphasize the need for security over convenience. Of course, if you’ll still be able to sideload apps and updates, but anything originating from the Play Store can now only push updates through official channels.
[spotted at The Verge]