Huawei’s troubles with the US government has indirectly resulted in Google’s role in the Android ecosystem being put under a microscope. More than just being the main developer of the platform itself, its Google Play Store has become an indispensable part of the Android experience, despite being proprietary and requiring certification that may be blocked by the US government. Google has just released a report on “how” Google Play works and what it has done for the platform, which is also its indirect way of showing how important it is to Android phones.
People may think of Google Play as just the Store since it is the part that users see the most. It is, however, more than just the app store and is actually a platform in itself that includes tools, services, and resources that help both developers and users get the most out of their Android phones.
For users, it means being able to quickly search for the apps they want or need while safe in the knowledge that facilities like Google Play Protect keep the malware away. Developers rely on Google Play not just for convenient API and tools but also for documentation, examples, and, of course, the controversial revenue sharing.
Google’s report unsurprisingly extols the benefits and achievements that continue to enable and empower more than 2 billion devices. It doesn’t speak of the issues that plague the Play Store, from malware that gets past its security checks to false positives that get legitimate apps kicked out. Google does mention that it has 1,700 human reviewers but those seem to only focus on the workflow of Google Play’s programs, not on the apps themselves. That’s still mostly under the control of machine learning.
It’s probably hard to imagine an Android without Google Play today, a scenario that Huawei is warning Google and the US unless restrictions are lifted. This report is pretty much Google’s way of showing how much work it has done which can’t be replicated overnight or even in just a few months.