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Google’s changing Android billing, search, and licensing in India


Google will let Android users in India use third-party billing options starting next month as part of its compliance with a ruling from the country’s antitrust authority, the company announced in a blog post on Wednesday. The search giant will also give users the ability to choose their default search engine “via a choice screen” whenever they start setting up a new Android phone or tablet.

In compliance with these rules, Google says it will let smartphone makers “license individual Google apps” to preinstall on their devices as well as “introduce changes for partners to build non-compatible or forked variants.” However, the company says it will continue to “respectfully appeal certain aspects of the CCI’s decisions.”

“We take our commitment to comply with local laws and regulations in India seriously.”

“We take our commitment to comply with local laws and regulations in India seriously,” Google writes. “The Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s recent directives for Android and Play require us to make significant changes for India, and today we’ve informed the CCI of how we will be complying with their directives.”

As Google faces global scrutiny over its stringent in-app payment policies, the company brought its User Choice Billing pilot — a program that lets non-gaming app developers use third-party payment options — to India last year. While it rolled out the pilot to the European Economic Area (EEA), India, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia as well, it still hasn’t launched in the US, where it’s also contending with legal issues.


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