Facebook has reportedly been preparing for the off chance that Google blocks it from Android. According to a report by The Information, the social networking giant has been preparing contingency plans, which will ensure that users can still use Facebook on Android if Google blocks the app from the Play Store. Facebook’s contingency plans include its own services for important operations like app updates, in-app payments and push notifications. The company has also tested ways to get people to download its app without using the Play Store. The contingencies wouldn’t just come into play if Google blocks the social network, and may also be used if Facebook voluntarily withdraws the app.
Further, the report by The Information says that while Facebook doesn’t actually expect Google to block it “anytime soon”, the two giants have had spats over the social network’s various experiments, including automatically installing Facebook-made apps on users’ devices, which had apparently prompted Google to threaten to cut Facebook off the Play Store. Facebook may also be worried that in future, Google could decide to charge the company for services like push notifications, etc. For a company in Google’s powerful position, such a path is quite possible, and the sheer number of users that Facebook has would mean that the social networking company would have to pay billions to Google, then.
In order to get people to install the Facebook app without the Play Store, the company has reportedly run tests in a small country for about a week. Facebook apparently got users to download the app outside of the app store, and the result was that “people did it; it wasn’t disastrous.” The company may also use the Oculus VR app store to bring the Facebook app on smartphones, and could also decide to work with other OEMs to install its apps directly on devices.