To date, family members have all had to buy their own Android apps, despite the fact that on iOS family members can share access to paid apps. That, however, is finally about to change.
Google has begun sending letters to developers notifying them of an upcoming change to Google Play that allows up to six family members to share purchased apps on multiple devices, without having to pay any extra.
As part of the letter, Google has asked developers to allow this feature, called Family Library, for previous purchases. While the company is encouraging developers to allow Family Library for past purchases, it does warn that the feature cannot be reversed. Google will also automatically be turning this feature on for purchases made on and after July 2.
It’s important to note that developers can indeed decide if they want to enable the feature for past purchases.
It’s not yet known exactly how the feature will work on the consumer side of things — for example, we have yet to see how Google will verify different family members. In Apple’s case, there’s one “organizer” of the account, which essentially lets multiple family members make purchases on the App Store to the same credit card. It’s possible that the same concept will apply to Family Library.
The new feature is certainly a welcome one for families with multiple devices. No longer will the kids in the family have to pay to access apps that the parents already have — the feature could also help prevent children from making large purchases without the parents’ knowledge.
Apart from sending letters to developers, Google has also updated its support documentation to include the new feature. The documentation notes that apps do not need to be a part of the “Designed for Families” program to be included in Family Library.
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