Interesting news today from Google who have updated their Content Policy (the Dangerous Products section) for the Google Play store with a new little snippet of information that states developers must now go through the Google Play store when pushing updates to their games or applications. Up until now it wasn't mandatory to push an update through Google Play which means developers were allowed to push their updates for their games or applications directly to a user's device.
This has all changed and now it is mandatory that developers go through the Google Play store when pushing out a new update. An example of a developer pushing an update outside of the Google Play store is Facebook Home as people who have this application install were getting updates send directly to their device instead of having to download the update off of Google Play. Here is how the 'Dangerous Product' section of Google's Content Policy now reads:
Dangerous Products: Don't transmit viruses, worms, defects, Trojan horses, malware, or any other items that may introduce security vulnerabilities to or harm user devices, applications, or personal data. We don't allow content that harms, interferes with the operation of, or accesses in an unauthorized manner, networks, servers, or other infrastructure. Apps that collect information (such as the user's location or behavior) without the user's knowledge (spyware), malicious scripts and password phishing scams are also prohibited on Google Play, as are applications that cause users to unknowingly download or install applications from sources outside of 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.
This change to their Content Policy is a security measure which is now in place in order to protect Android users a bit more. The changes will help to prevent Android users for inadvertently getting malware or other possibly harmful items being downloaded to their device.
In the long run this shouldn't be an issue for developers but in the short term there could be some problems arising from this change as a lot of games, especially MMOs and content updates for them, push updates directly to a user's device and not through the Google Play store. Hopefully this doesn't cause too many problems for developers.