Last month, we got word of an unusual change happening with the Facebook app for Android, as Facebook appeared to be doing an end-run around the normal Google Play app update process and enabling the Facebook app to update itself directly from Facebook’s own servers. Since then, we’ve seen Facebook Home launch, and heard plenty of gossip about how all this Facebook Android stuff was going down over at Google. We’ve been wondering what, if any, action Google might take to try and make a play for power, and now the first volley may have been fired, upon Google informing developers of a new policy regarding app updates.
Under the new rules, apps are prohibited from updating themselves by any means other than the normal Google Play update procedure. While there’s no direct evidence that this is in response to Facebook, the timing makes for a decent enough circumstantial argument, and we’re hard-pressed to think of other apps that have tried to take that route.
As users, this has minimal effect on us. Sure, an in-app update might ever so slightly more convenient, but not so much as to really get us caring too much either way. Really, this is about Google cracking the whip a little and showing that it’s still very much still the boss.