Yesterday, Google announced a major change in policy: to allow apps that feature non-fungible tokens onto its Play Store. The move signals a growing interest among Android developers to include ‘tokenized assets’ that could change the way apps appeal to consumers, including by reimagining traditional games with user-owned content or apps that use NFTs for rewards.
The news came through a blog post on the Android Developers Blog, which is part of the Google website. Joseph Mills, Group Product Manager at Google Play, wrote the blog post, stating that the company wishes to allow for in-app innovation while at the same time protecting the end consumer. To that end, it has set some ground rules for apps wishing to integrate NFTs:
- If the end-user can earn NFTs, the app must state that clearly
- The app must not promote any ‘potential earnings’ from the NFT
In effect, the apps that use NFTs must abide by Google Play’s Real-Money, Gambling, Games, and Contests policy, which states that apps which don’t meet gambling eligibility requirements cannot accept money for assets that have an unknown real-world value. The example the blog post states is the infamous loot box, where there is uncertainty as to the value of the NFTs the app user will receive.
Mills wrote that the new policy comes after close collaboration with certain partners, including Mythical Games and Reddit. John Linden, CEO, of Mythical Games, said in a statement that these new policies are “a step forward” for both app users and developers, and they will positively impact adoption of new technologies while still protecting consumers.
A Google representative told Rarity Sniper that the full policy will roll out later this year and that the company is working with a select group of developers to test the policy. They added that users can expect the first in-game experiences later this summer and that ownership of NFTs can unlock in-app content, even if the NFT was not purchased through the app.
Google Bullish on Web3
While Google may seem like the prototypical Web2 company, it has expressed a bullishness over the past year about Web3. Among its many moves in the space, it has allocated $1.5 billion to a Web3 fund, opened a Web3 division, and even partnered with Layer 2 blockchain Polygon to help its developers. Here are three of our best stories involving Google and Web3.
First, three months ago, Google and Polygon partnered to accelerate ecosystem development. Through the partnership, Google Cloud and Polygon Labs will launch go-to-market and joint engineering initiatives to help companies build their own Web3 products and decentralized applications.
Next, also three months ago, Google announced an expansion of its Cloud Program to include exclusive benefits for Web3 startups. The benefits included up to $200,000 Google Cloud Credits over two years, Customer Care support, and access to Web3 conferences like Consensus. Admitted Web3 startups may also receive a $1 million grant.
Lastly, nine months ago, the CEO of Google Cloud, Tom Kurian, announced a slate of innovations coming to Google products, some of which had a metaverse and Web3 angle. As part of the announcement, Kurian stated that Google Cloud is planning to collaborate with Web3 developers.
As today’s news and the other stories show, Google seems very bullish on Web3, which is good news for a space that has fallen on hard times. We’ll keep a close eye on any further developments in today’s story and report back.