Beta Channel Update for Desktop

The Chrome team is excited to announce the promotion of Chrome 96 to the Beta channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. Chrome 96.0.4664.18 contains our usual under-the-hood performance and stability tweaks, but there are also some cool new features to explore - please head to the Chromium blog to learn more!



A full list of changes in this build is available in the log. Interested in switching release channels? Find out how here. If you find a new issues, please let us know by filing a bug. The community help forum is also a great place to reach out for help or learn about common issues.



Srinivas SistaGoogle Chrome

Google Meet meeting hosts now have more control of participant’s audio and video feeds for smoother, more productive meetings

What’s changing 

Meeting hosts in Google Meet can now use Audio and Video Lock to turn off the microphones and/or cameras of other participants in the meeting and prevent them from turning them back on until you unlock them, in the main and breakout rooms. Earlier this year, we announced the ability for meeting hosts to mute everyone all at once in Google Meet on desktops/laptop devices. The new Audio and Video lock makes this feature more useful by enabling hosts to prevent participants from unmuting themselves after they are muted. 


Host control screen

Host control screen

Who’s impacted 

End users 

Why it’s important 

This feature gives meeting hosts more control over their meetings by letting them decide when they want to allow different levels of participation from attendees, for example to address disruptive participants.

Additional details 

Participants using versions of the Android and iOS apps that do not support audio and video locks will be removed from the meeting if the host or co-host turns on either of the locks. If they attempt to join a meeting that has either of these locks enabled they will be prompted to update their app or use another device to join the meeting. Turning off audio or video locks will allow these participants to rejoin the meeting. 

The minimum supported versions are: 

Android: 

  • Android OS version M or newer 

iOS

  • iOS version 12 or newer 

Meet or Gmail app: 

  • The most updated version 

Audio or video locks, as well as chat and present locks, set by the host in the main meeting will also apply to subsequently launched breakout rooms. Once a breakout room is launched, any changes made to a lock setting in an individual room will not affect the settings of other breakout rooms or the main meeting.

Getting started 

  • Admins: There is no admin setting for this feature. Visit the Help Center to learn more about Google Meet security & privacy for admins 
  • End users: This feature will be OFF by default. Hosts can turn it on during meetings. Host Management needs to be enabled to use these features. 

Rollout pace 

  • Rapid Release domains: / Gradual rollout (up to 15 days for feature visibility) / October 21, 2021 
  • Scheduled Release domains: Gradual rollout (up to 15 days for feature visibility) starting on November 1, 2021 

Availability 

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, and G Suite Basic and Business customers 

Resources 

Google Smart Home Developer Summit – New tools and features to build, innovate, and grow with Google

Posted by Michele Turner, Senior Director of Product for Google’s Smart Home Ecosystem

Google Smart Home Developer Summit

Earlier this year at Google I/O, we told you that our goal is to make Google the best place for smart home developers like you to build, innovate, and grow. Today, I'm excited to show you all the new ways we're improving the tools and opportunities you'll have to build you best experiences with Google, by:

  • Expanding our platform and tools to make it easier for you to learn and build devices that do more with Google.
  • Providing a site where you can preview the new tools that are coming over the next year to help you build your devices, apps, and integrations.
  • Supporting Matter & Thread across our entire ecosystem, including Nest and Android.
  • Developing more automation capabilities, including the ability to build suggested routines for your users.
  • Helping you differentiate with Google and connect to more users.

(re) Introducing “Google Home”

Our journey as an ecosystem started five years ago with the Google Home speaker and Google Assistant. It has grown into a powerful platform, with support for new smart speakers and displays, Android, Nest, and the Google Home app. It also includes an ecosystem of tens of thousands of devices made by partners and developers like you, enabling Google users to engage with over 200 million devices, and making the smart home more than the sum of its parts.

We’re bringing all of this together, and announcing a new, but familiar name, for our entire smart home platform and developer program, that helps users and developers do more with Google – Google Home. By bringing our platform and tools under the same roof, it gives us a simpler way to show you why and how integrating your devices with Google Home makes them more accessible and helpful across the Google ecosystem.

New Google Home Developer Center

Launching early next year, you’ll have access to our new Google Home Developer Center that will have everything you need to learn and build smart home devices, applications, and automations with Google. It’s a total redesign of our developer site and console, focused on major upgrades to navigation, and new self-serve tools for both developers and their business teams.

The developer center will have tools for each step of development, deployment, and analytics, including:

  • Building Matter devices
  • Customizing setup of your devices in Android and the Google Home app
  • Creating automations and routines
  • Building Android apps with Matter
  • Testing and certification
  • New tools for analytics & performance monitoring
image of Smart Home Developer Center

Quickly build and integrate with Matter

One of the most important new capabilities we’re bringing to our developers is the ability to quickly build and integrate Matter devices. We’re continuing to collaborate with other leading and innovative companies from across the industry to develop Matter — the new, universal, open smart home application protocol that makes it easy to build, buy, and set up smart home devices with any Matter ecosystem or app. We’re also adding Matter as a powerful new way to connect your devices to Google Home and your Android apps.

To make sure users are ready for your Matter devices, we’ll update Nest and Android devices with Matter support, following the launch of the new standards. That means when you build devices with Matter, they can be easily set up and controlled by millions of users everywhere they interact with Google, including Nest speakers and displays, the Google Assistant, and of course Android devices. To make sure you’re ready to build your best Matter-enabled experiences with Google, we’re adding support for Matter in the Google Home Developer Center, and rolling out new tools for Matter development across Google Home and Android, including two new SDKs.

New Google Home Device SDK for Matter devices

The first is the Google Home Device SDK — the fastest way to develop Matter devices, enabling seamless setup, control, and interoperability.

The open source Matter specification and SDK will ensure everyone is starting from the same code base. But building innovative, quality experiences goes beyond sharing the same connectivity protocol. The Google Home Device SDK complements the open-source libraries and simplifies building Matter devices to work seamlessly with Google, including configuring your device with Assistant, improving quality with logging, and adding tools to interact and test with Google devices. This helps you build a more responsive, reliable end-to-end experience for users. We’ll also be adding new capabilities that allow you to innovate with the SDK.

To make your development even easier, we’re also delivering the Google Home IDE to build your smart home devices and connect them to Google in a familiar way. For developers using Visual Studio Code to develop smart home devices, you can easily leverage our tools in that environment by installing the new Google Home IDE, which complements your existing extensions and tools in this popular editor.

Visual studio code

Native Android Support via Google Play Services and a new Google Home Mobile SDK

Mobile devices are an important smart home tool for users, and are critical to how users set up, manage, and control the devices in their home. To make app experiences more seamless, and help your users experience the magic of your device as quickly as possible, we’re building Matter directly into Android, and announcing support for Matter through Google Play services.

One of the key benefits this enables is seamless Matter device setup flows in Android, letting users connect new Matter devices over WiFi and Thread as easily as a new pair of headphones. You’ll be able to customize that setup flow with branding and device descriptions. With just a few taps, users will be able to link your devices to your app, the Google Home app, and other Matter apps they’ve installed. Of course, when users connect your device to Google, it automatically shows up in the Google Home app, on Android controls for smart home devices, and is controllable with the Google Assistant on Android, without additional development.

We’re also creating new tools to accelerate your development with the Google Play services Matter APIs, using the new Google Home Mobile SDK. Building a Matter-native app on Android lets users link their smart home devices to your app during the setup process, or later in their journey, with a few easy taps - with no need for account linking.

We’re already well underway building Matter integrations with many of the leaders in the smart home industry, and helping their Matter devices do more with Google, with many more to follow.

Inspire engagement with Suggested Routines

Whether via Matter or existing integration paths, being able to easily and reliably connect your devices to Google helps users build their smart homes. For developers, automations allow users to do more with your devices.

We want to help you easily combine them with other devices into coordinated routines, and to use context and triggers to increase their usefulness and engagement with the help of Google’s intelligence. So in our new Developer Center, we’ll enable you to create your own suggested routines that users can easily discover directly in the Google Home app. Your routines can carry your brand, suggest new ways for users to engage with your devices, and enhance them by coordinating them with other devices and context signals in the home.

Do more with Google Home

This is just the start of new ways we’re enabling your devices and brands to do more with Google Home. We know that for device makers, compatibility with Google Home is an important way to engage your users. But you want to make sure that your brand, products, and innovations are front and center with your users, to help them get the most from the experiences you’ve built.

That’s why all of the new tools we’re building help you to go beyond just compatibility with Google Home — and empower you to build your best, most engaging experiences with Google.

  • Customizable setup flows built into Android and Google Home that let your users experience the magic of your device with just a few taps right out of the box.
  • Native Matter apps on Android your users can discover and connect to in one streamlined setup flow.
  • Suggested routines to help your users do more with your devices.
  • New ways for users to discover and use your devices’ capabilities within the Google Home app.
  • the new Google Home Developer Center that brings developer and marketing tools together in one place, to help you and your team quickly bring all this to market.
Building for Matter

Support user growth and discovery

Of course, when you’ve built those great experiences, you want to tell everyone about them! For users that haven’t discovered your devices yet, we’re leveraging the power of Google to help users learn about your devices, and bring them home.

Earlier this year, we launched our new smart home directory on web and mobile that has seen great user engagement. This new site gives consumers an easy to use resource for discovering smart devices compatible with Google, and the experiences they can create with them, whether with a single device or using multiple devices together with automations and routines. We’re continuing to expand the site with more use cases, addressing the needs of both beginners and more sophisticated users looking to grow their smart homes and get more out of them.

We’ll have more to share with you over the coming months! Visit developers.googoe.com/home to read more about our announcements today and sign up for updates. We can’t wait to see what you build!

Android Enterprise invests big in security and controls

With hybrid and remote work as the new norm, effectively managing the growing number of mobile devices has become even more important for businesses. In fact, 84% of IT leaders are investing more in enterprise mobility, with mobile security and device management topping their list of priorities.

But just spending more on security and management solutions doesn’t necessarily provide the right level of control over enterprise data. And it can often make device management overly complex and costly to maintain. For mobility to truly work in the long term, it’s critical to balance strong platform security with effortless, flexible management that scales to specific needs around user choice, privacy and control.

Android Enterprise has made big investments to help businesses manage mobility on their terms, with strong, built-in and proactive security that is proven at scale; a spectrum of capabilities for every business; and effortless, consistent and cost-effective management. Today, we’re sharing a number of new features and updates to help you successfully balance your needs and achieve your mobility goals with Android Enterprise.

A platform you can trust

For years, we’ve developed multiple layers of security for business customers — from hardware to Google security services and enterprise management tools. In fact, research firm Gartner has consistently awarded the highest security ratings for a mobile OS to Android’s operating system with Google apps and services.

A graphic depicting the layers of Android security

Android 12 extends our commitment to the multi-layered protections of Android.

With Android 12, we’re introducing even more features for enterprise customers — including improving password complexity controls to make it easier to protect company data, and disabling USB signaling on company-owned devices to limit USB-based attacks. We’ve also launched additional privacy-preserving security controls for the Android work profile, like network logging of work apps. Read more about these Android 12 enterprise features.

A graphic that shows the new features in Android 12 promoting privacy and transparency

Android 12 includes new privacy controls and transparency for employees

Android 12 already meets the most rigorous deployment requirements, including the United States Department of Defense's Security Technical Implementation Guide. And since we believe scrutiny and transparency are key to improving security, we’ve launched a new Android Enterprise category as part of the Android Security Rewards Program. We’re offering a reward of up to $250,000 for a full exploit on a Pixel device running Android Enterprise.

Expanded support for Zero Trust

As more mobile workers access data from remote devices outside of traditional security perimeters, companies are increasingly pursuing a Zero Trust security model. This means trust is never assumed, and access to corporate resources is continuously verified. We’ve developed many APIs and tools to support Zero Trust on Android, allowing organizations to tier access based on extensive device-based signals and security information.

We’re now supercharging the role of identity providers in Zero Trust environments on Android. Connecting their first-hand understanding of the user with a full breadth of device trust signals, identity providers can build a comprehensive analysis of trustworthiness before granting access to corporate resources. To make this happen, we are working with industry leaders to move beyond WebView for authentication and embrace Custom Tabs, which we believe is the best way for developers to integrate authentication into their apps.

While WebView is a flexible and powerful component for rendering web content, Custom Tabs are more modern and full-featured, allowing identity providers to gather device trust signals, improve employee security and enable single-sign-on across apps and the web. We’re partnering with Okta, Ping Identity, and ForgeRock to move the industry towards modernizing authentication.

Effortless management

Every organization is different, and has different management needs. So we’ve built a range of device management capabilities that can easily serve businesses across all sizes and sectors — whether you are managing a startup or a highly complex enterprise.

A graphic that represents how the Android Management API connects to a device

Android Management APi is the recommended method of management for customers and partners

For companies who use Android Enterprise with an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution, we’re making management even more powerful, secure and user friendly with Android Management API. Built by the Android team at Google, this cloud-based API ensures customers receive the fastest delivery of all of our enterprise features, with best practices and Android Enterprise Recommended requirements set by default. And with the newly launched Android Management API Extensibility framework, EMMs can adjust Android Management API capabilities on the fly using on-device signals to trigger immediate policy changes and solve for unique and evolving business needs.

With this update, we’re publicly recommending Android Management API to customers and partners as our preferred method of management. More than 60 EMMs — including Microsoft, Citrix, and Google Workspace — have already launched solutions based on Android Management API with many more coming soon.

For our customers with fewer management requirements and IT resources, we launched Android Enterprise Essentials earlier this year to help provide automatic security. We’re now expanding reseller support to Mexico, Italy and Spain this quarter.

Separation for work and private life

One of the unique features of Android is the work profile, which has helped employees boost productivity, keep their personal apps and data private, and achieve a better work-life balance. And for organizations, it’s improved security for business apps and data. Previously, the work profile was only available on managed devices. Now, we’re planning to bring those same work profile benefits to unmanaged users with a business identity, too.

Image of work profile on Android device

The Android work profile will become available to unmanaged Google Workspace users next year

This will eventually allow anyone using Android for business purposes to separate work and personal apps in one interface and pause all work-related apps in one click. This will be available to Google Workspace users first starting next year, with plans to expand to more identity providers soon after.

Join us for the Art of Control

On October 27, we're hosting a special event to talk about these new security and management solutions — and even more to come — to help you manage mobility your way. Register for the Art of Control, and find out how we’re bringing together security and management into one, uncomplicated offering. You’ll also hear from customers like the FBI, Walmart, and Schneider Electric about how they’re using Android Enterprise to achieve effortless control.

Our Content Removal Transparency Report for January to June 2021

Courts and government agencies around the world regularly require that we remove content and information from various Google services like Google Search and YouTube.

We review these demands carefully to determine if the content that is the subject of the request violates a specific local legal requirement. Because we value access to information, we work to minimize over-reaching removals whenever possible by seeking to narrow the scope of government demands and ensure that they are authorized by relevant laws.

For over a decade, we’ve also published a transparency report on Government Requests for Content Removal. This report includes only demands made by governments and courts. We report separately on requests by private actors under content-removal systems established by various governments such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States or the Right to be Forgotten included in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU.

Over the years, as use of our services has grown, our transparency report shows a rise in the number of government demands for content removal – as to both the volume of requests that we receive and the number of individual items of content we are asked to remove. Today’s transparency report, covering January to June 2021, represents the highest volumes we’ve seen on both measures to date.

January - June 2021 Data

Top countries by volume of requests:

  1. Russia
  2. India
  3. South Korea
  4. Turkey
  5. Pakistan
  6. Brazil
  7. United States
  8. Australia
  9. Vietnam
  10. Indonesia

Top countries by volume of items:

  1. Indonesia
  2. Russia
  3. Kazakhstan
  4. Pakistan
  5. South Korea
  6. India
  7. Vietnam
  8. United States
  9. Turkey
  10. Brazil

As research by organizations like Freedom House makes clear, all online platforms are seeing a similar trend.

We’re also seeing a significant increase in the number of laws that require information to be removed from online services. These laws vary by country and region, and require the removal of content on a very wide range of issues – from hate speech to adult content and obscenity, to medical misinformation, to privacy and intellectual property violations.

Many of these laws seek to protect people online and align with Google's own platform policies and community guidelines that help ensure people have a good experience while they are using our services. But laws in some countries can also go significantly beyond those policies, affecting access to information on a range of topics.

Coupled with this, we’ve also seen new laws that impose individual liability on local employees for actions taken by a company offering online services. These types of laws have drawn concern from organizations like the Global Network Initiative because individuals can be pressured, prosecuted, and held personally liable, even when they are not responsible for the content decisions of the company they work for.

While content removal and local representative laws are often associated with repressive regimes, they are increasingly not limited to such nations. Findings from entities like the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), our own transparency report data, and any survey of international laws introduced over the past few years all point to the fact that we are likely to continue to see a rise in these types of laws across more countries around the world.

Evolving our business model to address developer needs

When we started Android and Google Play more than a decade ago, we made a bet that a free and open mobile ecosystem could compete with the proprietary walled gardens that dominated the industry. It wasn’t yet clear what kinds of businesses would move to mobile or what apps would be successful. To keep things simple, we went with an easy-to-understand business model: The vast majority of developers could distribute their apps on Google Play for free (currently 97% do so at no charge). For the developers who offered a paid app or sold in-app digital goods (currently just 3% of developers), the flat service fee was 30%. This model helped apps to become one of the fastest-growing software segments. And instead of charging licensing fees for our OS, our service fee allowed us to continually invest in Android and Play while making them available for free to device makers all over the world.

The creativity and innovation from developers around the world spurred amazing new app experiences we could have never imagined when we first introduced Android. As the ecosystem evolved, a wider range of business models emerged to support these different types of apps. We've made important changes along the way, including moving beyond a “one size fits all” service fee model to ensure all types of businesses can be successful. Instead of a single service fee, we now have multiple programs designed to support and encourage our diverse app ecosystem.


The result is that 99% of developers qualify for a service fee of 15% or less. And after learning from and listening to developers across many industries and regions, including developers like Anghami, AWA, Bumble, Calm, Duolingo, KADOKAWA, KKBOX, PicsArt, and Smule, we're announcing additional changes to further support our ecosystem of partners and help them build sustainable businesses, and ensure Play continues to lead in the mobile app ecosystem.



Decreasing service fees on subscriptions to 15%


Digital subscriptions have become one of the fastest growing models for developers but we know that subscription businesses face specific challenges in customer acquisition and retention. We’ve worked with our partners in dating, fitness, education and other sectors to understand the nuances of their businesses. Our current service fee drops from 30% to 15% after 12 months of a recurring subscription. But we’ve heard that customer churn makes it challenging for subscription businesses to benefit from that reduced rate. So, we’re simplifying things to ensure they can.



To help support the specific needs of developers offering subscriptions, starting on January 1, 2022, we're decreasing the service fee for all subscriptions on Google Play from 30% to 15%, starting from day one.



For developers offering subscriptions, this means that first-year subscription fees will be cut in half. We’ve already gotten positive feedback from our developer partners on this change:

“Our partnership with Google has been a powerful one for our business, helping us to scale and ultimately playing a key role in advancing our mission to empower women globally. The pricing change they’ve announced will allow us to better invest in our products and further empower users to confidently connect online.”

– Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO, Bumble Inc.



"Just as every person learns in different ways, every developer is different as well. We're excited to see Google continuing to collaborate with the ecosystem to find models that work for both the developer and platform. This reduction in subscription fees will help Duolingo accelerate our mission of universally available language learning."

- Luis von Ahn, Co-Founder and CEO of Duolingo.

Going further with cross platform experiences

While apps remain incredibly important for mobile phones, great services must now also span TVs, cars, watches, tablets and more. And we recognize that developers need to invest in building for those platforms now more than ever.



Earlier this year we launched the Play Media Experience program to encourage video, audio and book developers alike to help grow the Android platform by building amazing cross-device experiences. This helped developers invest in these multi-screen experiences with a service fee as low as 15%.



Today, we’re also making changes to the service fee in the Media Experience program, to better accommodate differences in these categories. Ebooks and on-demand music streaming services, where content costs account for the majority of sales, will now be eligible for a service fee as low as 10%. The new rates recognize industry economics of media content verticals and make Google Play work better for developers and the communities of artists, musicians and authors they represent. You can go here for more information.



We will continue to engage with developers to understand their challenges and opportunities — and how we can best support them in building sustainable businesses. It’s a theme that will be front and center at the Android Developer Summit on October 27-28, where you’ll hear more about our latest tools, application programming interfaces (APIs) and technologies designed to help developers be more productive and create better apps.



If you’re looking for more information about Google Play and its service fees, we've answered some common questions here.



Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President, Product Management

 

 


Evolving our business model to address developer needs

When we started Android and Google Play more than a decade ago, we made a bet that a free and open mobile ecosystem could compete with the proprietary walled gardens that dominated the industry. It wasn’t yet clear what kinds of businesses would move to mobile or what apps would be successful. To keep things simple, we went with an easy-to-understand business model: The vast majority of developers could distribute their apps on Google Play for free (currently 97% do so at no charge). For the developers who offered a paid app or sold in-app digital goods (currently just 3% of developers), the flat service fee was 30%. This model helped apps to become one of the fastest-growing software segments. And instead of charging licensing fees for our OS, our service fee allowed us to continually invest in Android and Play while making them available for free to device makers all over the world.

The creativity and innovation from developers around the world spurred amazing new app experiences we could have never imagined when we first introduced Android. As the ecosystem evolved, a wider range of business models emerged to support these different types of apps. We've made important changes along the way, including moving beyond a “one size fits all” service fee model to ensure all types of businesses can be successful. Instead of a single service fee, we now have multiple programs designed to support and encourage our diverse app ecosystem.


The result is that 99% of developers qualify for a service fee of 15% or less. And after learning from and listening to developers across many industries and regions, including developers like Anghami, AWA, Bumble, Calm, Duolingo, KADOKAWA, KKBOX, PicsArt, and Smule, we're announcing additional changes to further support our ecosystem of partners and help them build sustainable businesses, and ensure Play continues to lead in the mobile app ecosystem.



Decreasing service fees on subscriptions to 15%


Digital subscriptions have become one of the fastest growing models for developers but we know that subscription businesses face specific challenges in customer acquisition and retention. We’ve worked with our partners in dating, fitness, education and other sectors to understand the nuances of their businesses. Our current service fee drops from 30% to 15% after 12 months of a recurring subscription. But we’ve heard that customer churn makes it challenging for subscription businesses to benefit from that reduced rate. So, we’re simplifying things to ensure they can.



To help support the specific needs of developers offering subscriptions, starting on January 1, 2022, we're decreasing the service fee for all subscriptions on Google Play from 30% to 15%, starting from day one.



For developers offering subscriptions, this means that first-year subscription fees will be cut in half. We’ve already gotten positive feedback from our developer partners on this change:

“Our partnership with Google has been a powerful one for our business, helping us to scale and ultimately playing a key role in advancing our mission to empower women globally. The pricing change they’ve announced will allow us to better invest in our products and further empower users to confidently connect online.”

– Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO, Bumble Inc.



"Just as every person learns in different ways, every developer is different as well. We're excited to see Google continuing to collaborate with the ecosystem to find models that work for both the developer and platform. This reduction in subscription fees will help Duolingo accelerate our mission of universally available language learning."

- Luis von Ahn, Co-Founder and CEO of Duolingo.

Going further with cross platform experiences

While apps remain incredibly important for mobile phones, great services must now also span TVs, cars, watches, tablets and more. And we recognize that developers need to invest in building for those platforms now more than ever.



Earlier this year we launched the Play Media Experience program to encourage video, audio and book developers alike to help grow the Android platform by building amazing cross-device experiences. This helped developers invest in these multi-screen experiences with a service fee as low as 15%.



Today, we’re also making changes to the service fee in the Media Experience program, to better accommodate differences in these categories. Ebooks and on-demand music streaming services, where content costs account for the majority of sales, will now be eligible for a service fee as low as 10%. The new rates recognize industry economics of media content verticals and make Google Play work better for developers and the communities of artists, musicians and authors they represent. You can go here for more information.



We will continue to engage with developers to understand their challenges and opportunities — and how we can best support them in building sustainable businesses. It’s a theme that will be front and center at the Android Developer Summit on October 27-28, where you’ll hear more about our latest tools, application programming interfaces (APIs) and technologies designed to help developers be more productive and create better apps.



If you’re looking for more information about Google Play and its service fees, we've answered some common questions here.



Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President, Product Management

 

 


Evolving our business model to address developer needs

Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President, Product Management

When we started Android and Google Play more than a decade ago, we made a bet that a free and open mobile ecosystem could compete with the proprietary walled gardens that dominated the industry. It wasn’t yet clear what kinds of businesses would move to mobile or what apps would be successful. To keep things simple, we went with an easy-to-understand business model: The vast majority of developers could distribute their apps on Google Play for free (currently 97% do so at no charge). For the developers who offered a paid app or sold in-app digital goods (currently just 3% of developers), the flat service fee was 30%. This model helped apps to become one of the fastest-growing software segments. And instead of charging licensing fees for our OS, our service fee allowed us to continually invest in Android and Play while making them available for free to device makers all over the world.

The creativity and innovation from developers around the world spurred amazing new app experiences we could have never imagined when we first introduced Android. As the ecosystem evolved, a wider range of business models emerged to support these different types of apps. We've made important changes along the way, including moving beyond a “one size fits all” service fee model to ensure all types of businesses can be successful. Instead of a single service fee, we now have multiple programs designed to support and encourage our diverse app ecosystem.

The result is that 99% of developers qualify for a service fee of 15% or less. And after learning from and listening to developers across many industries and regions, including developers like Anghami, AWA, Bumble, Calm, Duolingo, KADOKAWA, KKBOX, Picsart, and Smule, we're announcing additional changes to further support our ecosystem of partners and help them build sustainable businesses, and ensure Play continues to lead in the mobile app ecosystem.

Decreasing service fees on subscriptions to 15%

Digital subscriptions have become one of the fastest growing models for developers but we know that subscription businesses face specific challenges in customer acquisition and retention. We’ve worked with our partners in dating, fitness, education and other sectors to understand the nuances of their businesses. Our current service fee drops from 30% to 15% after 12 months of a recurring subscription. But we’ve heard that customer churn makes it challenging for subscription businesses to benefit from that reduced rate. So, we’re simplifying things to ensure they can.

To help support the specific needs of developers offering subscriptions, starting on January 1, 2022, we're decreasing the service fee for all subscriptions on Google Play from 30% to 15%, starting from day one.

For developers offering subscriptions, this means that first-year subscription fees will be cut in half. We’ve already gotten positive feedback from our developer partners on this change:

“Our partnership with Google has been a powerful one for our business, helping us to scale and ultimately playing a key role in advancing our mission to empower women globally. The pricing change they’ve announced will allow us to better invest in our products and further empower users to confidently connect online.”
– Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO, Bumble Inc.
"Just as every person learns in different ways, every developer is different as well. We're excited to see Google continuing to collaborate with the ecosystem to find models that work for both the developer and platform. This reduction in subscription fees will help Duolingo accelerate our mission of universally available language learning."
- Luis von Ahn, Co-Founder and CEO of Duolingo.

Going further with cross platform experiences

While apps remain incredibly important for mobile phones, great services must now also span TVs, cars, watches, tablets and more. And we recognize that developers need to invest in building for those platforms now more than ever.

Earlier this year we launched the Play Media Experience program to encourage video, audio and book developers alike to help grow the Android platform by building amazing cross-device experiences. This helped developers invest in these multi-screen experiences with a service fee as low as 15%.

Today, we’re also making changes to the service fee in the Media Experience program, to better accommodate differences in these categories. Ebooks and on-demand music streaming services, where content costs account for the majority of sales, will now be eligible for a service fee as low as 10%. The new rates recognize industry economics of media content verticals and make Google Play work better for developers and the communities of artists, musicians and authors they represent. You can go here for more information.

We will continue to engage with developers to understand their challenges and opportunities — and how we can best support them in building sustainable businesses. It’s a theme that will be front and center at the Android Developer Summit on October 27-28, where you’ll hear more about our latest tools, application programming interfaces (APIs) and technologies designed to help developers be more productive and create better apps.

If you’re looking for more information about Google Play and its service fees, we've answered some common questions here.

Learn a new word every day

People come to Search every day to look up the definition of words – whether they want to know how the dictionary defines “love” as they write their wedding vows, or they simply came across an unfamiliar word in a newspaper article. Understanding the meaning of new words helps unlock information for people as they go about their daily lives, and worldwide in September, according to Google Trends the top-searched English definitions were “introvert” followed by “integrity.” With this in mind, we’ve created an easy-to-use feature that not only helps you learn about different words, but also sparks your curiosity.

Now, through the Google app on your phone, you can sign up to receive daily notifications that help you learn new words and some of the interesting facts behind them. For example, did you know the word “benefactor” comes from the Latin saying “bene facere,” which means “do good?”

To sign up, look up the definition of any English word – let’s say defineserendipity, for example – then just click on the bell icon in the top right corner.

Three screenshots of a phone showing how to sign-up for this feature as well as what the notification looks like once the user has signed up.

While this feature is currently only available in English, there are words tailored to both English learners and fluent speakers alike, and soon you will be able to choose different difficulty levels. So you can expand your vocabulary, develop your language proficiency, or just show off to your friends that you learned an interesting word or fun fact.

Meet the Canadian Artists and Producers Joining the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022


Earlier this year, we introduced the inaugural #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Artist Class of 2021. In doing so, we had one goal: Amplify Black voices on YouTube. To accomplish this mission, we provided the participating artists with the following: 
  • Dedicated partner support from YouTube 
  • Seed funding invested into the development of their channels 
  • The opportunity to participate in training and networking programs focused on production, fan engagement, and wellbeing 
As we shared back in July, the inaugural class achieved incredible feats on our platform, far outperforming any expectations. From Mariah The Scientist’s exclusive live set in support of NIVA, to Rexx Life Raj, Joy Oladokun, and Tkay Maidza taking center stage at YouTube’s annual Brandcast event, and every success in between. We want to thank each and every one of these individuals for bringing so much energy and passion to the program and for sharing the power of their music with fans around the world. 

As we celebrate the success of these artists, today we’re excited to grow and reaffirm our commitment to Black musical excellence by announcing the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022. Expanding on our commitment, this new Class will not only include songwriters and producers, but we are also expanding the cohort to include music creators from the UK and Canada. 

The Class of 2022 includes one producer, and three artists from Canada, who help demonstrate the passion, energy and talent of Black music creators in our country. Joining the songwriter and producer cohort is Toronto-based music producer WondaGurl, whose credits already include hits from artists like Jay-Z, Drake and Rihanna. The musicians joining our artist cohort include rapper NorthSideBenji, from Brampton; Savannah Ré, an R&B singer from Toronto, and Liza, a singer-songwriter from Toronto. 

These artists and producers will join 50 others as part of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2022. For the first time ever, they will have the opportunity to come together to co-write and collaborate. 

We’re also honored to introduce Hip Hop ICON and the genre's most notable storyteller, Slick Rick, as the inaugural mentor member of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022. In this capacity, Slick Rick will play an additional role, sharing his wisdom and experience with fellow grant recipients within educational and networking programs for the class. 

These artists, songwriters, and producers — from the United States, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, and now, the United Kingdom and Canada — speak to the vastness of the pool of Black genius. Limitless in genre, identity, talent, innovation, and creativity, their voices and the music they make encapsulate the global experience of Black people–past, present, and future. 

Please meet the the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022: 

#YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022

Azawi (Kampala, Uganda), Barkaa (Barkindji Nation, Western NSW), Blanco Brown (Atlanta, Georgia, United States), Bree Runway (East London, England, United Kingdom), Budjerah (Fingal Head, Australia), Cico P (Jacksonville, Texas, United States), Cimafunk (Pinar del Rio, Cuba), CKay (Anambra, Nigeria), Dijon (Ellicott City, Maryland, United States), Elaine (Pretoria, South Africa), EST Gee (Louisville, Kentucky, United States), Jonathan Ferr (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Jords (Croydon, England, United Kingdom), Kadhja Bonet (Long Beach, California, United States), Kamille (London, England, United Kingdom), Liniker (São Paulo, Brazil), Liza (Toronto, Canada), midwxst (Carmel, Indiana, United States), Monaleo (Houston, Texas, United States), Nija (Union City, New Jersey, United States), NorthSideBenji (Toronto, Canada), NSG (London, England, United Kingdom), Omah Lay (Port Harcourt, Nigeria), Rico Dalasam (São Paulo, Brazil), Savannah (Toronto, Canada), Tai Verdes (Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, CA), Tamera (Kent, England), Tasha & Tracie (São Paulo, Brazil), Teezo Touchdown (Beaumont, Texas, United States), whiterosemoxie (Detroit, Michigan, United States) and one of the globes most legendary voices in hip hop, the legendary Slick Rick The Ruler (from The Bronx, New York United States).  

For more information on the Artist Class, click here. 

#YouTubeBlack Voices Songwriter & Producer Class of 2022


Cadenza (London, England, United Kingdom), Compass (North London, England, United Kingdom), Dallas Woods (Wyndham, West Australia, Australia), Dj Lag (Johannesburg, South Africa), Gloria Kaba (Irvington, New Jersey, United States), HARV (Kansas City, Missouri, United States), IamTash (Boston, Massachusetts, United States), Jay Versace (Pleasantville, New Jersey, United States), jetsonmade (Columbia, South Carolina, United States), Kobie Dee (South Sydney, Bidjigal Land, Australia), Léo Casa 1 (São Paulo, Brazil), Major League DJz (Johannesburg, South Africa), Mu540 (Praia Grande, São Paulo, Brazil), Nova Wav (Tallahassee, Florida / Atlanta, Georgia, United States), OG Parker (Atlanta, Georgia, United States), P.Priime (Lagos, Nigeria), RDD (Paulo Afonso, Bahia, Brazil), Rodriguinho (Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil), Telz (Lagos, Nigeria), Walshy Fire (Miami, Florida, United States), WondaGurl (Toronto, Canada), YAOB (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 

For more information on the Songwriter & Producer Class, click here.