Perhaps lost in the shuffle of Wednesday’s Google I/O news is a story that might actually have the biggest impact for consumers – starting on July 2, new apps published in the Play Store will be eligible by default for Family Library sharing. This means if a family’s oldest son buys a new game for his NVIDIA SHIELD tablet on July 3, his younger sister can install it on her Galaxy S7 without having to pay. Also, Mom, Dad and three other siblings will be able to share in the fun.
Google quietly updated its Developer Console Help page to include a synopsis of how Family Library will work when it goes live, as follows:
When Family Library becomes available to users, up to six family members will be able to share purchased apps on Google Play.
Opt-in previous purchases to Family Library
By default, all paid apps purchased after July 2, 2016 (when the Developer Distribution Agreement update takes effect) will be eligible for Family Library.
To provide a seamless user experience, we suggest you allow users to share purchases made prior to this date as well.
To opt-in previous purchases:
- Sign in to your Google Play Developer Console.
- Select an app.
- Select Pricing & Distribution.
- In the “Family Library” section, select the checkbox.
Users will see whether previous purchases of your app are eligible for Family Library on your store listing page.
App requirements & eligibility
- Once you’ve made previous purchases available for Family Library and submitted your app update in the Developer Console, you can’t opt-out—your selection is permanent.
- Your app doesn’t need to be part of Designed for Families to be included in Family Library.
Also noteworthy is that even apps purchased before July 2, 2016 can be designated by developers as eligible for Family Library sharing.
Games, of course, aren’t the only apps that can be shared among up to 6 family members. Icon packs, third-party launchers, paid office suites, premium dictionary apps and paid fitness apps are just a few examples of non-gaming apps families will be able to share among each other. Unfortunately, according to the revision of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement that goes into effect on July 2, 2016, Family Library sharing does not include in-app purchases or subscriptions. No doubt we’ll see more and more developers releasing their apps for free and earning their revenue through these avenues.