Shortly before the Facebook Home launch, some users noticed a new version of Facebook was available on their device, but it wasn't through the Play Store. Instead, the update came directly through the app, bypassing the Store altogether. Naturally, there was outrage, people were angry, felt violated, and whatnot. For Facebook, however, this was a way of getting a beta version of its app out to some users without having to give it to all users. It did a similar sort of update just last night, proving that this wasn't just a one-time thing.
Regardless of why Facebook has chosen to circumvent the Play Store for its own update mechanism, though, that didn't sit too well with Google.
An app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism.
And with that one sentence, Google has effectively closed the loophole that Facebook has been using to send in-app updates. Of course, that disallows any developer from performing such updates – not just Facebook.
Looks like Zuckerberg and company will have to find a new way to beta test upcoming builds of its software – perhaps a separate beta channel listing in the Play Store would suffice? Seems like a logical option to me, and possibly the only one Facebook has left if it wants to continue publicly testing its beta apps.
via Dave Kover (Twitter)