In recent times, internet giant, Google, has been in the news for multiple reasons. The company like other large tech companies are battling several court cases. One of the major reasons that Google is in court is due to alleged monopoly. The Google Play Store is one of its major cash cows and authorities are seeking to address the issues of monopoly in the Play Store. Last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Google for restricting third-party payment services. The CCI is also investigating the company for other anti-competitive practices. After Google’s recent Supreme Court order to block CCI was rejected, the company had to change its agreements with phone makers and ease rules for users.
Google Play Store third – party billing services are a go in India
Android users in India will be able to use third-party billing services for apps and games starting next month. They can also choose a different default search engine during the setup process. These specific rules apply only to India, but other regions have similar rules in place. As for mobile phone makers, they will be allowed to authorize individual Google apps to come pre-installed on the devices they ship. Previously, brands were forced to bundle the entire Google Suite apps.
Google will continue to appeal the CCI’s decision, but for now, it is working to implement the following changes:
- OEMs will be able to license individual Google apps to pre-install on their devices.
- Android users have always been able to customize their devices to their liking. Indian users can now choose their default search engine. The display will appear soon when users set up a new Android mobile phone or tablet in India.
- The Android Compatibility Requirements are being updated to introduce changes for partner builds of incompatible or forked variants.
- Starting next month, user choice billing will apply to all apps and games. User Choice Billing allows developers to allow users to choose an alternative billing system as well as Google Play’s billing system when purchasing in-app digital content.
- Android has always supported installing apps from a variety of sources, including through sideloading. This involves downloading an app directly from a developer’s website. Recent changes have been made to the Android installation process and auto-update feature for sideloaded apps and the App Store. The company will also ensure that users are aware of potential security risks.
A few days ago, Google also agreed to allow third-party app stores to be listed on the Google Play Store, also under pressure from the CCI.
Google set to lay off thousands of workers – CEO Pichai comments
According to reports, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told staff that the recent layoff decision was a decisive move during the company’s slowing growth. Minutes from the internal meeting reveal that Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, said that he had discussed with the company’s co-founders and the board of directors the decision to lay off 6% of the workforce. “Without clear and decisive action sooner, the problems we face could be compounded and worse, ” he said.
Gizchina News of the week
Google announced on Friday that it would lay off about 12,000 workers. It is the latest tech giant to announce plans for massive layoffs. While speculation about the layoffs has been going on for months, for some staff, the layoffs are still taking their toll. Some staff didn’t even find out they had lost their jobs until they lost access to company systems. However, Pichai claims that the layoffs were the result of careful consideration. “The process of layoffs is not random,” he stressed.
Google’s chief talent officer, Fiona Cicconi, said at a staff meeting that the size of Google’s workforce dictated that the decision could only be made within a relatively small circle. “In an ideal world, we’d give each manager advance notice, but at Google, we have over 30,000 managers. We want to get that as soon as possible,” she said.
Another executive said the layoff compensation package is more geared toward giving back to staff who have been with the company longer. Alphabet Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat claims that the layoffs will free up resources for the company to continue investing in key priorities. “By acting early, we created the ability to invest in long-term growth,” she said. “While the decision to cut jobs was tough, these are the rewards for us.”
Android 14 will impose stricter API restrictions
According to 9to5Google, Google has imposed stricter API restrictions in Android 14. This will prevent devices from installing outdated apps. Google will upgrade the Google Play app store in Android 14. When users install an app, if they encounter an app that has not yet upgraded the API, they will not be able to install it. This change will also restrict users from sideloading specific APK files and prevent the App Store from installing those same apps.
The Android 14 feature is mainly aimed at particularly old Android apps in the early stages of its launch. In the follow-up promotion, it will extend to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), and Google has maintained a “gradual upgrade” mechanism. Android app developers can freely choose to actively block.
The report mentions that the Android maker plans to prevent the spread of malware apps on the operating system. The developer responsible for the change notes that some malware apps intentionally target older Android versions. This is to bypass some protections that are only in place for newer apps.