On Wednesday, Google announced several changes to its operating system Android and Google Play Store in India.
The move comes after the Supreme Court denied its plea to grant a stay on the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) October 2022 order, fining the company Rs 1,337.76 crore for abusing its dominance in the Android market, and directing it to make appropriate changes.
“Implementation of these changes across the ecosystem will be a complex process and will require significant work at our end and, in many cases, significant efforts from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers,” Google said in a blog post. “However, we are making some changes as required by the CCI’s directives.”
The changes, which will come into effect starting Thursday, will allow OEMs to license individual Google apps for pre-installation on their devices; earlier these apps were pre-installed for free with Android. Indian users will now have the option to choose their default search engine via a choice screen that will soon start to appear when a user sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India.
The company is also updating its backend to introduce changes for partners to build non-compatible or forked variants. User choice billing will be available to all apps and games starting next month, Google said.
“Through user choice billing, developers can offer users the option to choose an alternative billing system alongside Google Play’s billing system when purchasing in-app digital content,” the tech giant added.
Google stated in the blog that Android always supported the installation of apps from a variety of sources, including via sideloading, which involves app downloads directly from a developer’s website.
“We recently made changes to the Android installation flow and auto-updating capability for sideloaded apps and app stores while ensuring users understand the potential security risks,” the company said.