Over the last few days, Facebook has sent several modifications to its Home “uber-app” directly to users’ phones, rather than through the Google Play store; but with a few clicks of the keyboard, Google has said no more.
The company added to its developer agreement a clause banning apps from updating through any mechanism other than through Google Play.
“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 language says. (It was first spotted by the developer blog Android Police.)
Industry watchers noted that Facebook had likely stepped on Google’s toes with the release of Home, which overrides some of the Android operating system with Facebook’s own branded functionality.
Whether or not the app itself irked Google, it’s clear that Facebook’s sneaky mode of updating it did. With the new language, Google reminds developers that it has control over what happens on Android phones.