Google Play has started blocking the downloading of paid apps and updates to paid apps in Russia. Google in the Q&A of its support article said, “you can still publish new free apps, and update existing free apps. Updates to paid apps are blocked for compliance reasons.” Also Read - Explained: What is Predator spyware, why is Google warning Android, Chrome users about it
On March 10, Google Play billing was paused in Russia due to sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. At the time, Google said that users can “still access apps and games that have already been downloaded or purchased.” Also Read - Nothing Phone (1) tipped to launch on July 21: Here’s what we know about it
Google was recently criticised by Russian regulator Roskomnadzor for running ads about the war in Ukraine. Also Read - Google Street View turns 15: Here are top features coming to it
According to The Wall Street Journal, Roskomnadzor said ads on Google’s platforms were targeting Russian viewers and “aimed at creating a distorted perception of current events”. Roskomnadzor said the ads spread “false political information” and could incite protest.
Google earlier announced $15 million towards relief efforts in Ukraine. The aid includes $5 million from employee matching campaigns and $5 million in direct grants. The remaining $5 million is raised from advertising credits.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine is both a tragedy and a humanitarian disaster in the making,” Kent Walker, President, Global Affairs at Google, wrote in a blogpost. Earlier Google had indefinitely paused the monetisation of Russian state-funded media such as RT across its platforms.
Meanwhile, Russian tech developers are building an alternative to Google Play store and plan to launch it on May 9, a national holiday in Russia that celebrates victory in World War Two.
“Unfortunately, Russians can no longer normally use Google Play to buy apps and developers have lost their source of income,” said Vladimir Zykov, director of projects at Digital Platforms, an organization focused on digital development.
“This is why we have created a Russian app shop, NashStore,” Zykov said in a statement.
As per reports on the Internet, NashStore, which translates into English as “OurStore,” will serve Android mobile devices and should ultimately be compatible with Russian Mir bank cards.