You may be eligible for a payout from Google after details of a recent lawsuit settlement have finally been revealed.
Back in 2021, 36 US states as well as Washington DC sued the tech giant over “anti-competitive practices” occurring on the Google Play Store. They claimed the company made it difficult for developers to distribute their apps on other platforms, discouraged users from using third-party stores, and even overcharged customers. A settlement was reached this past September between both sides, although no one knew what it entailed until this week. Now, Google has pledged to “pay $630 million into a settlement fund” that will be distributed to 102 million “eligible consumers”. The company will also be paying an extra $70 million into a separate fund that the states involved will use at their discretion.
Meeting certain criteria
The Washington Post explains in its report that eligible consumers need to meet certain criteria before they can receive any money. First, individuals must have a legal address located in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands listed on their Google payments profile. Second, they must have purchased an app on Google Play or “made an in-app purchase… through Google Play Billing from August 16, 2016 [to] September 30, 2023.” Buying a subscription does count as an in-app purchase, by the way.
At the time of this writing, it’s unknown how or when eligible users will get the payout. Details on this part of the deal should come out once the courts formally approve Google’s settlement. Again, it’s unknown when this will happen.
Play Store changes
In addition to the payout, Google will be making multiple changes to the Play Store to make things less restrictive. Most notably, it will be simplifying app sideloading which is where you install software onto your phone directly from the developer’s website. And it will be “updating the language” around sideloading to better inform people of all the potential risks that come with performing this method. 9To5Google states the revamp will merge certain warning screens.
The company goes on to say it will expand User Choice Billing, offering an alternative billing method besides Google Play’s system. This will have the added benefit of allowing app developers to take home more money at the end of the day. No one knows exactly when these Play Store changes will go live. Similar to the payout, the update is contingent on the courts approving the final settlement.
Despite all this, Google is not out of the woods yet. Details on Google’s other settlement with Epic Games have yet to be released so we could see additional changes made to the Play Store. Plus, the US Department of Justice enacted its own antitrust lawsuit against the tech brand back in September of this year.
It's going to be a rough year for Google. Check out TechRadar's list of the 10 best Android apps of 2023.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.