Google on Friday began to restrict auto-updates from outside of its own Google Play store. Before the restriction was put into place. popular apps such as Facebook Home could roll out updates to users without Google Play access required.
Google claims the move will help improve overall security for Android Apps by placing the upgrade path back into the Play Stores control.
In response to its decision, Google released an updated terms of service (TOS), which added new wording to its “Dangerous Products” section. In that section, the company’s policy now 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 new restriction is placed in the same section reserved for malware, viruses, and other harmful software and hardware issues.
While the idea behind the restriction is sound, the move does block many legitimate apps that use automatic updates for testing and other purposes. For example, Facebook Home pushes out small updates to a small subset of users. If the Facebook Home updates go over well, Facebook rolls them out to users on a large scale.
Some legitimate apps that allow for updates outside of the Google Play Store did so to quickly fix security issues and other problems with their apps.
Facebook must now remove the functions that allow for automatic updates outside of the Google Play Store. We are not sure at this time how long Google is giving developers to remove the restricted updating.