Google apps, called Gapps by the custom Android software community, are the collection of Google’s proprietary apps like the Play Store. They’re a key part of any Android experience, but not all devices ship with Gapps. Devices like Amazon’s Fire tablets and many cheap Chinese phones don’t have the Play Store, because getting Gapps requires working directly with Google.
Nonetheless, it has historically been very easy to install Gapps on a device. This is changing, though, as Google is blocking the installation of Google apps on uncertified devices.
Why is this important for Google? There are plenty of uncertified devices shipping with Gapps without Google’s permission. Licensing Google apps is part of Google’s revenue stream as well as its control over what devices use its apps (and how it affects the experience of using those apps). This new decision will prevent those companies from using Google apps without Google’s blessing and fee.
How does this affect the average person? It doesn’t, unless you like rooting and flashing ROMs. You’ll be flashing uncertified software, so installing Gapps will no longer be possible. Google has thought of this, and you can now bypass this certification by registering your Android ID with Google. It’s limited to 100 devices per user and we don’t know what happens when you’ve reached that limit, especially when the older devices are not in use.
This may be a problem for ROM developers that have a wide scope of development. They likely have a ton of devices to test ROMs on, but the 100 device limit might bite the bigger developers. Multiple Google accounts may be the solution, but we’ll have to see.