While incessant declarations of loyalty to Apple and its products might make it feel like most people in the world use an iPhone, that bragging right actually belongs to Android. According to Statista, Android owns nearly 70 percent of the worldwide market share as of Jan. 2022, while Apple’s iOS system only accounts for 25 percent in comparison. With that in mind, a new change from Google is likely to negatively affect a significant number of people and how they use their phones. Read on to find out what Android users were just barred from doing.
READ THIS NEXT: Google Just Issued Another Urgent Warning to All Android Users.
Google updated its payment policy for Google Play—Android’s App Store—in Sept. 2020, according to The Verge. With the update, the tech giant announced that it would be tightening its requirements for third-party apps to use Google’s billing services, which allows it to take a cut of revenue generated by an app. This change just went into effect on March 31, after Google offered a six-month extension from its original Sept. 2021 deadline.
“All developers selling digital goods and services in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system,” Google now states in its store’s payment policy. “Apps using an alternative in-app billing system will need to remove it in order to comply with the Payments policy.”
Following Google’s clampdown on outside payments, Hulu has made a massive change to its app for Android, 9to5Google first reported on April 29. According to the news outlet, the streaming site is no longer allowing users to sign up for Hulu on their Android devices. Hulu has removed the option to make a new account or start a new free trial on its app for both Android and Android TV.
The streaming company has not officially disclosed a reason for this decision, but tech experts believe it is a response to Google’s recent billing changes. “By not offering sign-ups within the app, Hulu gets to keep its full revenue by generating new accounts via its website,” 9to5Google explains.
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Before this change was made, the Hulu Android app originally opened up to a page advertising the starting prices for its service, alongside a “Log in” or “Start your free trial” button, according to 9to5Google. The app’s latest update removed those options, as well as any reference to the cost of its plans or to its free trial.
But you can still use the app on your Android devices. “Sorry, we’re unable to do sign ups in the app. If you’re already a subscriber, log in below to start watching,” a message on Hulu’s app for Android now reads, per 9to5Google. The app’s new user interface also now features a more prominent “Log in” button at the bottom of its screen.
Hulu is not the only company that has made similar adjustments following Google’s decision to tighten billing requirements. On April 1, Amazon stopped allowing Audible users to purchase audiobook titles with a credit or debit card on its Android app, The Verge reported. Then on April 4, Barnes & Noble removed the ability to purchase digital books or other content from its Nook App for Android.
Barnes & Noble told The Verge that it “determined it was unable to integrate with Google billing” but that Android users can still purchase ebooks directly from the company’s website, which can then be synced to the app. Google also states in its payment policy that developers “that are not compliant” with its billing requirements will be removed from Google Play, starting June 1.