Recently, Google has been under fire for creating a more restrictive operating system than its open source roots would have you believe. Last month Google quietly removed all ad-blocking apps from its Play store, stating that ad-blockers interfered with the functionality of other apps. Developer Adblock Plus had to resort to distributing their app directly from their website.
Under the “Dangerous Products” section of the Developer Program Policies, there’s a line that 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.”
In contrast to the section cited as the reason for removing ad-blockers, this section is direct and goes as far as calling Facebook’s approach “dangerous.” Facebook will have to remove direct over-the-air updates of its Android app if it wishes to stay in Google’s Play store.
For developers, this is a stark reminder that they’re playing in Google’s sandbox.