Google requiring fewer of its own apps on Android phones, tablets

If you want Google+, Play Games, Play Books or Newsstand on your new Android device, you'll have to get it yourself from the Play Store. That's OK, because not everyone wants them.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

There's good news if you don't like having too many pre-installed Google apps on your Android phone: You'll see less of them in the future.

A report from Android Central indicates Google has modified the rules it requires of Android hardware partners.

Note that anyone can create a phone or tablet with the open-source version of Android. For a Google Android device, however, hardware makers agree to Google's licensing rules, which dictate certain Google apps to be pre-installed and shown prominently.

Google+, Google Play Books, Google Play Games and Google Newsstand are no longer required to be installed on a Google Android phone. The first hint of this change came earlier this week when Android Central noticed that Google+ wasn't pre-installed on two different Galaxy Note 5 models.

All of these apps are, of course, still available in the Google Play Store and can be manually installed.

For device makers, the relaxed rules opens up opportunity for their own apps and services to be front and center. The benefit here to Android device owners is that they have more choice in what is and what isn't installed on their handsets and tablets.

The pre-installed Google apps often take up storage capacity because they can't be removed; only hidden. And for some -- particularly those with handsets that don't have microSD card expansions slots -- every megabyte counts when it comes to local storage.

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