The battle for control of your apps has only just begun
Google went live at I/O 2017 with the news that blocking apps via Google Play onto rooted devices is now allowed (XDA: SafetyNet Exclusion is Actually a New Feature in the Google Play Console).
Until today this type of restriction has only been put in place for special circumstances where safety is a matter of life and death… well, Netflix or PokemonGO.
Whether or not you’re on board with users having complete control of their devices — security has long been the perfect excuse to limit freedom — Google seems to have taken a liking to that idea after annexing in this restriction as yet another criteria to block apps from its dev console for GPlay.
In the same light Google’s continued push towards heavy promotion of their new Instant Apps means you won’t have to run installs. Great!. What seems like a straightforward process is actually fully controlled by its proprietary environment where apps and web dig themselves deeper into total dependence on Google Play Services much at the overall loss of dev control. (Instant Apps is unnecessary and will hurt development with a proprietary environment from Google Play).
Parallel to all this, they’re poised mallet in hand ready to strike with any of their “standards” for the web, AMP (Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web /Google May Be Stealing Your Mobile Traffic) or for Progressive Web Apps (We don’t have to make the web great again, it has been always great).
While none of this is news to anyone — it’s been years now since Google buried other app sources in their search results — note: I understand that they need the extra push since it’s not enough to force manufacturers to install their products Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Google on Android operating system and applications -, but I can’t help but feel somewhat taken aback when watching how open-source concepts and technology are twisted to conveniently back strategies that are more and more closed off.
I can only hope that eventually Google will realize, before it’s too late, that this kind of practice is already dominated by Apple. What has brought users to Google this far has always been their open business culture which is actually their greatest weapon.