At the beginning of March, when the conflict between Ukraine and Russia had already broken out, companies outside Russia began to take action due to the invasion. Giants like Google applied their own sanctions on their services and platforms. In factGoogle restricted Russian government-funded news companies’ access to advertising tools and some YouTube features.
Google restriction in Russia
“We are committed to meeting all sanctions requirements and continue to monitor the latest guidance.”, the company wrote in a blog. Although at that time you could still use Google Maps and YouTube, Google limited the use of the Google Play Store, the Android application store, although it did not block it.
On March 10, Google Play billing stopped in Russia due to Ukraine invasion sanctions. This affected new app purchases, subscription payments, and in-app purchases (IAPs). At the time, Google said users can “continue to access apps and games that have already been downloaded or purchased.” Android apps not updating
But after more than two months, the conflict continues. Y Google have decided to go a step further in these limitations by now preventing Russian residents from downloading and updating applications that they have previously purchased from the Play Store. As revealed the 9to5Google site, Google is preventing developers from rolling out paid app updates to Russian users by claiming “compliance reasons”.
Only to paid apps
This lock is ascribed (for now?) only to apps that are paid, and it does not affect free Android apps, which Russian users will still be able to update. The change is already reflected in the official ‘Q&A’ section questions and answers from their support article on the subject:
Can I publish new applications or update existing ones during this pause?
You can keep publishing new free apps and update existing ones. Updates to paid apps are blocked for compliance reasons.
Google has recommended several options to developers of paid applications:
- Defer payment renewals (possible up to one year)
- Make apps free
- Remove paid subscription “during this break”
Will Google escalate this blockade even further, including free apps in the future, or will it leave things like that until the armed conflict ends?