Is Facebook afraid Google will kill its Android app?
Social network reportedly develops contingency plans in case Google drops its app
Facebook may be planning ahead for the day Google decides to remove it from the Android Play store, by allegedly testing alternative ways for users to download and update the app.
The social network has been secretly developing a contingency plan in case Facebook and Google products can no longer work in tandem, according to The Information.
As part of its plans, Facebook apparently wants to offer software that provides functions currently only offered by Google to Android app developers.
If the Facebook app is no longer available for Android users via the Play store, services such as push notifications, updates and in-app payments would not be accessible, but Facebook's software would restore this functionality via its own servers if and when it is required.
Another alternative is to make use of the Oculus VR app store to offer installation and updates for the Facebook mobile app, which is already present on tens of millions of Samsung phones.
Meanwhile, The Information claimed that Facebook may have already tested the loyalty of its user-base by purposefully crashing its native app on various devices for a number of hours.
Affected users, the site reports, didn't stop returning to the service but instead simply accessed Facebook via their mobile browser.
This is not the first sign that Facebook wants to make its Android app more self-sufficient, with news that the company is also developing an alternative to Google Maps, according to "people who've been involved or briefed about such planning".
Sources quoted by The Information said the company does not expect that its suite of apps will be dropped by Google "anytime soon", but there is a history between Facebook and the search engine giant that suggests such a move would not be impossible.
Google has been known to drop, albeit briefly, prominent apps including Amazon.com from the Play store for violating app store rules.