Google Play Family Library is official, launching in July

Developers now have capabilities to enable their apps for the new sharing element that's coming to the Play Store.

android family
Derek Walter

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If you have a group of Android devices in your family, you’ve probably been impatiently waiting for Google to implement some type of digital sharing option.

The family library finally flips on July 2, as Google detailed in a recent change to the Google Play Developer Support documents. All new app purchases will have this feature enabled by default, but developers have the option to opt out, or to make their previous purchases compatible.

The program appears to have some features in common with Apple’s family sharing. Previous APK teardowns indicated that you’ll be able to share music, movies, books, TV shows, and other purchased content, just as with Apple's system. It would make sense for Google to enable the same features, though the current changes to the Google Play Developer Support documents only detail Android apps, for now. 

Apple’s efforts also integrate with other services like family photo albums or Find My Friends, but Google doesn’t have any similar service for the latter and image sharing is a separate entity under Google Photos. 

Much like Google Play Music’s family plan, there will be one individual who serves as the family manager, who can manage who gets into the group. You may also see some limitations with streaming TV shows and movies, as rights holders tend to guard these pretty closely. If it works just like Apple, all app purchases will go on the credit card of the account holder.

The impact on you: This is a needed catch-up feature for Google Play, as Apple has had a more family-friendly sharing mechanism for a while. And now that Chromebooks will be running Android apps, it’s even more important for buyers to feel like they can bring their family’s digital content under the one roof.

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