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Google opens the door to alternative app stores in India

Following requirements by the CCI Google have made the first moves to allow in-app billing outside Google's own Play Store.
Google opens the door to alternative app stores in India
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A recent Google blog has highlighted changes the company is making to the functionality of Android devices sold in India, such as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) being able to licence the pre-install of individual Google Apps and enabling users to choose their default browser from the get-go.

Ultimately, it appears that the door is opening to alternative stores on Android.

Increasing user choice

These changes follow the Competition Commission of India’s directive that alterations to Android and Google Play are necessary in the country, although Google is "respectfully" appealing certain aspects due to security and safety, to expand user choice, and as a result of the company’s "principles of openness".

Among the changes that Google is making to meet requirements in India, enabling OEMs to licence individual Google apps is a notable one, bringing the ability to licence Google Docs but not Google Mail, for example.

Android users will also be able to choose a default browser from a selection screen rather than from within another browser, and as of next month, user choice billing is due to be made available to all games and apps.

In regards to in-app content, this means that developers will be able to offer users a choice between Google Play’s system or an alternate billing system.

"At Google, we have been privileged to play a part in India’s embrace of technology to improve lives in three key ways: bringing access to affordable devices, building helpful and secure products to meet the evolving needs of Indian users, and partnering with India's vibrant developer community to grow and reach a global audience," the blog reads.

"We believe technology can help unlock opportunities in core areas of the Indian economy and we look forward to continuing to partner in this journey."

It was also noted within the blog that implementing these changes will be complex, requiring a significant amount of work. It was only a few months ago, in October, that India’s antitrust watchdog issued Google with a $113 million dollar fine.