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Open GApps Project Now Owned By Google?

April 1, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

If you’ve been on the Android custom ROM scene lately, you may be familiar with the Open GApps project. It’s an open-source, omni-compatible Google Apps package meant to bring the kind of Google Play and Google App functions that Nexus devices have to any device that can install a custom ROM. With versions catering to ARM and x86 processors in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants, the project is made to cater to an incredibly wide range of devices. After becoming a mainstay of the custom ROM scene, an announcement posted to the site today, April 1, indicates that they’ve been acquired by Google so that the search giant can have a greater degree of control over a much wider range of Android installations throughout the official and unofficial device landscapes.

The details of the acquisition include a statement from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, saying that the acquisition bolsters Google’s mission statement with Android, “Be together, not the same.” Meanwhile, he has handed down some new assignments for the project’s top maintainers. MFonville, the project head, will be tasked with heading up a brand new division of Google, aimed at shell scripting. His premiere project within the division will be developing an entirely new scripting shell to make life easier for Google’s coders. Fellow maintainer MNBooze will find himself on the Google campus, in charge of creating a specialized web crawler made to pull and compile the latest Google Apps as changes hit, keeping the Open GApps project more up to date than the Play Store.

The news of the acquisition could very well be true, despite the date that the team has chosen to announce it. It would make perfect sense for Google to take the project and its maintainers under their wing, giving them a foothold on a ton of new Android installations, while giving those installations incredibly up to date software. The new assignments for the two head maintainers of the Open GApps project may seem a bit out of left field, but certainly make sense, in the context of the project. There is, of course, always the fairly good chance that, as the web at large seems to think, including XDA Developers, this is just an April Fool’s gag.