Family Library and sharing have been a long, really long, time coming on Google Play. In his different app teardowns, Cody has repeatedly discovered strings pointing out to the feature coming to Play Books, Play Movies, Play Services, the Play Store, but up until recently, the only Google entity that had benefited from any kind of family sharing was Play Music and its Family Plans.
But at this year's Google I/O, Google announced that Family Library was coming to Google Play app and games purchases with the new changes taking effect on July 2nd... which happens to be today. Hooray!
I don't see anything related to Family Sharing on my Play Store account (version 6.8.20) so it's possible the feature isn't live yet or maybe it's going live in batches. It's also possible that it requires a newer version of the Play Store and/or Google Play Services.
What has already changed though are the terms of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement. A new section 5.4 explains how a family group, with one manager and different members, can purchase the product once and share it with other members of the family. So starting today, any purchases you make on the Play Store will be available for sharing with your other family members.
5.4 You grant to the user a non-exclusive, worldwide, and perpetual license to perform, display, and use the Product on the Device. The user may include, but is not limited to, a family group, with a family manager and family members whose accounts are joined together for the purpose of creating a family group. Family groups on Google Play will be subject to reasonable limits designed to prevent abuse of family sharing features. Users in a family group may purchase a single copy of the Product (except in-app and subscription Products, which cannot be shared) and share it with other family members in their family group. If, in your Developer Console, you opt in to allowing users to share previously purchased Products, your authorization of sharing of those purchases by those users is subject to this Agreement. If you choose, you may include a separate end user license agreement (EULA) in your Product that will govern the user’s rights to the Product, but, to the extent that EULA conflicts with this Agreement, this Agreement shall supersede the EULA.
As explained earlier, developers have the option of enabling sharing for previous purchases too, but they'll have to do that manually. Google's support explains:
To opt-in previous purchases:
- Sign in to your Google Play Developer Console.
- Select an app.
- Select Pricing & Distribution.
- In the "Family Library" section, select the checkbox.
Users will see whether previous purchases of your app are eligible for Family Library on your store listing page.
Let us know if you start seeing the Family Library features and which version of the Play Store you're running along with which country you're residing in. According to Google's support document for setting up and managing a family, family managers have to reside in one of these countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States. But that page was created when the only family sharing feature was within Play Music and hasn't been updated since, so the requirements might be different for sharing apps and games.
In the meantime, if you're a developer, you can read the new Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement and check the Developer Console support page for setting up prices and distribution (including Family Library) to get ready for this new feature.