Recently, the Google Play store imposed a ban on Facebook updates coming from third parties. This is after the social networking site was confirmed to be circumventing the Android store’s rules in its update mechanisms.
The Addition in the Rule
Google already has a policy in its Play store, under the Dangerous Products section, that prohibits developers to make their users download or install third party apps unknowingly. But just to clarify its position on the matter of third party program utilization, similar to the methods used by Facebook updates, it has added a new sentence that would prevent app developers from getting around its loophole.
The additional sentence of the Dangerous Products clause reads:
“An 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.”
The Verge confirmed last March that Facebook updates from unknown sources were being rolled out by the social networking site. This is for the purpose of testing out new features before being offered to the Android community as a whole. One particular example of a Facebook update that targeted a small percentage of users of the social networking site’s app for Android users is the 141046.
It should be noted though that the Facebook app did not appear to break the guidelines of Google Play and the thing about the updating was not mentioned in the previous clause. Facebook defended their move saying that it was only intended for users who have enabled non-Play store downloads in their devices. However, the notification somewhat nags users into downloading them whenever they are connected via Wi-Fi. Also, there were obvious risks involved with updates coming from a third party source, especially when it comes from abusive developers.
Google did not comment at first when the technique of Facebook was brought into light. But with the recent steps that Google has undertaken, their stance about the subject is clear now.