Google to Acquire XDA, Dev Rewards & Policy Changes

Google to Acquire XDA, Dev Rewards & Policy Changes

We are delighted to announce that starting on April 20th, a finalized deal with Google will make XDA Developers a software development division for the beloved search giant. This exciting transition will start as early as next week, where new XDA Talent Scouts from Google will browse our forums and reward the best contributors and offer them software development or design positions as well. A new set of XDA Forum Moderators from Google’s Legal Department will also make sure that the new policies that arise from the acquisition are met.

Why XDA, and why now?

As you might have heard, Cyanogen Inc has recently been scaling up their campaign against Google – and we all recognize that this will be no good for the future of Android. At XDA, we also recognize the fame that CyanogenMod versions have amassed in our community, and we are partnering with Google to offer lovers and contributors of CyanogenMod an even better solution. CyanogenMod volunteer maintainers and contributors will also see a lot of love from both XDA as Google, for the upcoming changes in AOSP will give XDA a privilege no other site will have.

Starting next fall, all custom ROM and kernel development on XDA will be commissioned** by Google. Application development can go on as usual. Some contributions and discussions regarding root methods will still be hosted, but the threads can be closed at a moment’s notice once Google can tighten up security through the findings. Changing our stance on custom ROMs might sound unlike the spirit of XDA, but as you may know we thrive on Android – which means development will not cease. XDA and Google are beginning to revamp the forums to provide a means to offer contributions, applications, changes, and ultimately new code and resources directly to Google for them to review and – if you are lucky – implement into their future Android releases.

How does this benefit Android?

First of all, XDA will receive Android updates and AOSP sources before anyone else!* By having our loyal developers upload their work directly to Google, the company will have the ability to have a clean look at all of their work and decide which bits are worthy of future Android updates. The contributing developers may be rewarded accordingly**, which should encourage any volunteer maintainer to support Google instead of Cyanogen.

How does it work for us developers?

Simple! If you are an XDA developer, things will work exactly the same except for the fact that your contributions must be uploaded to Google servers and will not be available for download in your thread. We encourage you to treat the rest of the system exactly like you have before: you can have your thread banner, introduction, feature lists, changelogs, and important information.

How will other users get access to my contributions?

They will not, and our new policies are strict about that. You could even be fined if you repeatedly violate the new rules, so we don’t suggest doing so. We encourage you to read our updated Terms of Service once they are available. On the bright side, bug complaints from angry XDA members will no longer be a problem, which will ultimately be a benefit that will save you a lot of time and stress.

I am a user, how does this affect me?

Like we said earlier, all application development in XDA will go on as usual. The few aspects of the site that will be affected by the acquisition are those regarding certain root methods, custom ROMs, low-level mods, cosmetic mods, themes, custom kernels, Xposed, Xposed modules, unmonitored Android hacking, threads asking how to unbrick phones, anything related to CyanogenMod and any comment that speaks positively of Cyanogen Inc. You will still be able to go on XDA to discuss the latest custom ROM or mods, you just won’t be able to get them. Every other amazing app and game will still be there for you to download!

What will happen to all current custom ROMs?

Every download link will be removed, but the threads will remain in there for discussion about how good/bad they are/were.

Our Vision

When Google was first being founded, their ambitions were big – so big that their very name is inspired by the humongous “googol” number. Google’s ultimate ambition, then, is to reach a googol Android users, and to do this they must keep Android going forward. By concentrating XDA’s development prowess directly at Google’s software division, Android’s future accomplishments can only be dreamed of. And by debilitating Cyanogen’s Google-free (and rather unfree and full of other closed source services) Android and strengthening Play Services and Google Apps, the technological future we all want for our lives will come before we know it.

This marks an exciting day for the XDA community. A lot more is coming soon including big changes to the website’s appearance, but for now let’s aim to bring Google all of our code so that Android lives on!


*XDA members will have access to new Android versions 2 business days before they officially published and roll out for everyone else
**Developers will be rewarded with Play Store credit. Rewards not guaranteed.

About author

Mario Tomás Serrafero
Mario Tomás Serrafero

Mario developed his love for technology in Argentina, where a flagship smartphone costs a few months of salary. Forced to maximize whatever device he could get, he came to know and love XDA. Quantifying smartphone metrics and creating benchmarks are his favorite hobbies. Mario holds a Bachelor's in Mathematics and currently spends most of his time classifying cat and dog pictures as a Data Science graduate student.