The Google Apps (or GApps as they are commonly referred to) are the proprietary applications by Google included in many Android devices. Most of the applications can now be found and updated via the Google Play Store. Some of the apps include the Google Play Store itself, Google Talk, Google Sync (for adding and synchronizing Google accounts), Google Backup Transport, Car Home, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Search, Google Voice Search, Google Music, and Google Docs.
- In some ROMs, the Google Apps are included. These are usually stock ROMs, smaller or less-common ROMs, or those from areas where intellectual property laws are less commonly obeyed.
- Many AOSP ROMs, most famously CyanogenMod and AOKP, do not include the Google Apps due to licensing issues. They are after all proprietary code owned by Google and not included in the Android Open Source Project.
- The primary mirrors for the Google Apps packages are Goo.im, which provides an application for easy downloading, installation, and notifications of updates to the Google Apps packages on Android 4.0.
In September 2009, Steve Kondik (Cyanogen of the CyanogenMod team) received a cease and desist letter from Google, demanding that the Google Apps not be included in the team's ROMs, since the ROM could be ported to devices which are not licensed to have the Google Apps. In turn, that would bypass the requirement for the devices to be licensed. For a few days, development on the ROM ceased, there were outcries from Android users all over the Internet, and many bloggers suspected Google had just shot itself in the foot.
Eventually, an alternate method was found, whereby Google Apps are not included in the ROM proper but the Google Apps which came with a device would be backed up by the device's custom recovery or another app, and then re-installed onto the device once the new ROM was flashed. This would therefore "Google-ify" one's ROM.
In order to update the Google Apps for devices which have not been updated to the latest versions of Android, and to simplify the Google Apps installation process, the Google Apps are now traditionally packaged in a separate flashable ZIP which can be easily installed on top of a ROM. This allows for faster installations, easier upgrades of Google software, less tasks for the custom recovery to perform, more user-friendly installations, and an overall more streamlined process.
When the Google Apps began to be shipped in ZIP packages, they were made to be specific to their device (HTC G1, Nexus One). As more devices became common, rooted, and gained support of custom ROMs, they were then shipped based on the DPI '(Dots Per Inch)' used by the device's screen. Namely, MDPI, and HDPI. More and more devices gained support, and because of this, more categories of packages had to be made. By the time Gingerbread ROMs started to be made, there were MDPI-TINY (MDPI with all Play Store install-able apps removed), MDPI, HDPI, Tegra (Apps and libraries specifically compiled for Tegra CPU devices), and more. This wound up creating much confusion as to what package was needed by each device.
Due to all the confusion created by the DPI-specific packages, a new method was discovered. Universal packages, that run on all common architectures and screen sizes. This includes ARM6, ARM7, Tegra, Tegra2, LDPI, MDPI, HDPI, and more. This common Universal scheme has created both a more streamlined and easier to understand system for users. The biggest downsides however are that each package requires testing on a variety of devices, and that in turn can create delays in updates for packages. In addition, to maintain compatibility with devices that have small /system partitions, the packages must be in the -TINY format. This means that any apps which can be installed from the Google Play Store (except Google Search) are not included in the package.
Because the new Google Apps pack does not come with the Play Store install-able apps, a new application was created to give users the ability to easily install the Google Apps from the Play Store. This app is called Pacman and is included in CyanogenMod as well as its derivative ROMs. With version 3.x of the Google Play Store (formerly Android Market), Pacman no longer functions properly due to Google's unusual coding style, and instead opens a search page for all apps by Google.
To accommodate new features in Ice Cream Sandwich, while still maintaining support for a variety of devices via a single pack, the updater-script was modified to selectively extract certain parts of the pack. Currently, it will only extract files relating to Face Unlock on devices that have a front-facing camera, and will look to see if it needs to extract NEON-compatible library files or non-NEON files.
Google Apps packages are not cross-compatible with other major Android versions. For example, the 20120224 pack for Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is not compatible with Gingerbread (Android 2.3). Likewise, the DRC83 package for Donut (Android 1.6) will not work with Honeycomb (Android 3.x). Flashing an incompatible package may cause a variety of bugs, boot-loops, crashes, force-closes, kernel panics, plagues, rashes, coughing, sneezing, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting blood, blood dripping from scrotum, thermonuclear war, unending Tic-Tac-Toe games, Mayan Doomsday, flooding, purple pustules forming on the face, a bricked device, exploding batteries, or nothing at all. Regardless, it is not recommended, and support will not be provided by any competent developer to a user who has done so.
Please note: The CyanogenMod Team, TeamDouche, Steve Kondik (Cyanogen) and related parties are not involved with the creation of the Google Apps packages. The packages are found on the Internet, tested by a variety of community members, and if they pass testing and fill a need, they are marked as recommended by the Android community, and provided for download via trusted mirrors such as Goo.im. The Google Apps are the intellectual property of Google Inc., and are provided to restore the applications which come on devices which are licensed to have Google's proprietary code.
Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.x-4.2.x)
- Not recommended for 4.2.1.
- All apps updated to 4.2.2 versions
- Google Play Store updated to 3.10.14
- Google Play Services updated to 3.0.25
- Gmail2.apk (Gmail) and GoogleEars.apk (Sound Search for Google Play) removed since they are available in the Google Play Store
- May require uninstalling and reinstalling Gmail and Sound Search after flashing.
- Keeps previous version's Photosphere/Picasa sync install on Mako, Manta, and Tuna (see below).
- Not compatible with 4.1.x.
- All APKs updated to 4.2.1 versions, where applicable.
- Fixes Chrome force-closes.
- Depreciated and duplicate files removed.
- Like 20121130, installs Photosphere and Picasa sync on Mako (Nexus 4), Manta (Nexus 10) and Tuna (Galaxy Nexus, all variants).
- Users on 20121130 will receive GooManager update notifications to 20121212.
- Google Play Store updated to 3.10.10.
- Fixed problem that was breaking root on some devices after being flashed.
- Not compatible with 4.1.x.
- Installs Photosphere and Picasa sync on Mako (Nexus 4), Manta (Nexus 10), and Tuna (Galaxy Nexus, all variants).
- Does not include Grouper (Nexus 7) because it does not have a rear camera.
- The GalleryGoogle.apk's for each are different, thus why there is one APK for each.
- Overrides custom ROM camera features on all three due to replacing the AOSP camera/gallery APK.
- ThinkFree and Microbes live wallpaper removed to save space.
- All APKs updated to 4.2.0 versions, where applicable.
- Still allows sync between AOSP calendar and Google Calendar.
- Does not include non-NEON libraries, as there have not been any non-NEON devices (Tegra and Tegra 2 devices such as the Motorola XOOM) which have received 4.2, and the 4.1 libraries are not compatible with 4.2.
- /system/etc/g.prop updated:
- Users on 4.1 will not receive GooManager update notifications to 4.2.
- Users on any past or third-party GApps packages and 4.2.x will not be recommended the proper package in GooManager when tapping on "Download gapps packages" then selecting to "Download latest google apps".
- GooManager recognizes 20121130 (and future 4.2.x packages) as a new platform (jb42 instead of jb).
- All apps updated to 4.2.0 versions where applicable.
- Package has been re-uploaded.
- Is not compatible with Android 4.1.x.
- Re-uploaded version fixed to install Picasa Sync and Photosphere automatically on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4.
- This will replace any customization in the camera from the ROM.
- Pack pulled due to users on 4.1 being recommended the package, and in turn causing bootloops.
- All apps updated to 4.1.2 versions.
- Google Play Store updated to 3.9.16.
- Should be backwards-compatible with 4.1.1.
- Does NOT contain the leaked Gmail with pinch-to-zoom. GApps do not include leaked/test versions of Play Store applications, especially when the signing key differs from the Play Store version(s).
- GoogleGallery.apk with Picasa sync enabled.
- This will disable any special features from a ROM's camera, including CyanogenMod 10's.
- Added TalkBack (Accessibility app)
- Added JB Gmail with JB notification expansion
- Added libpatts_engine_jni_api.so to fix Google Maps not announcing street names
- Adjusted install and update scripts to remove source-built QuickSearchBox.apk (Search) and replace with Velvet.apk (renamed as QuickSearchBox.apk). This prevents the user from ending up with two Search apps
- Currently no proper way to fix Gallery not syncing to Picasa without ending up with a second gallery app
- Re-Upload: Removed YouTube since it was updated in the Play Store, and fixed backup script to work with Gmail
- First official package of the GApps for JB, recommended only for testing
Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.x)
- Revert GoogleBackupTransport.apk to 20120317 version.
- APKs and libs updated to 4.0.4 versions where available
- Google Play Store's APK renamed from Vending.apk (Gingerbread standard) to Phonesky.apk (ICS standard)
- Google Play Store updated to 3.5.16
- Gmail removed as it is now available in the Google Play Store
- Fixed libfilterpack_facedetect.so which no longer breaks Face Tan and Face Glow when editing pictures in Gallery.
- Updated Google Play Store to 3.5.15
- Adds new g.prop file to allow for third-party applications to detect the currently installed package.
- Lays groundwork for applications such as GooManager to detect the version and notify users of updates.
- Removes YouTube from /system as the Honeycomb/ICS version is now in the Android Market.
- Removes broken PlusOne.apk.
- Removes Picasa sync
- Adds plusone.apk to avoid breaking SetupWizard when linking a Google+ account
- Android Market updated
- New non-NEON lib for facelock that fixes Face Unlock on non-NEON (Tegra, Tegra 2, etc.) devices.
- Fixed Picasa Sync
- updater-script deletes AOSP Gallery, Quicksearch, and provisioning to replace with Google versions
- PicoTTS added for non-US-English languages
- NEON and non-NEON Flint engine added
- Added new "smart" updater-script to detect if Face Unlock and whether NEON/non-NEON libraries should be extracted.
- Face Unlock files included in ZIP.
- Google Backup fixed.
- Gallery fixed to properly sync.
- First recognized pack for Ice Cream Sandwich.
- ICS versions of apps that are still GB versions on the Market.
- Files specifically to enable Face Unlock
- Should not be installed on devices lacking a front-facing camera, or small /system partitions.
Honeycomb (Android 3.x)
No GApps packages were release for Honeycomb, due to the source code for Android 3.0 being closed. Because of this, AOSP-built ROMs could not be made, and so there was no need for a separate GApps installation package.
Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x)
- Market (v3.1.3) and all other apps updated to latest versions.
- Google Talk and Car Home downgraded to versions from 20110613
- Latest version of Talk has video chat, which is unstable on many devices.
- Car Home from 2.3.5 requires CarHomeLauncher and CarHomeGoogle. Was swapped with Market version to enhance compatibility and reduce the number of applications.
- If you receive a "Status 0" error during flashing, delete your downloaded version and re-download.
The new Google Talk app is available in a separate ZIP to be flashed on top of 20110828. It was not included in the main 20110828 package due to having a number of bugs on many devices:
- Some devices experience force-closes during video chats when attempting to switch between front and rear cameras.
- Users may not appear as video-capable to their contacts.
- Users may not be able to send or receive video/voice chat invitations.
- More often than not, this is due to a network issue, such as a poorly operating home router, poor carrier coverage, or a carrier actively blocking video chats; AT&T in the USA is known to do this.
- Muting the user's microphone during a video or voice chat may not work.
- Some users experience black screens or static on one end of a video chat.
This was a testing package which included the v3.0 Vending.apk (Android Market) and the Google Talk with Video/Voice Chat in a universal form that is meant to work on all architectures and DPI's. After some testing, it was found that the Google Talk app had a number of bugs, it was not included in the main 20110828 package, and instead offered as a separate ZIP.
20110613 was an update to apps. Namely an updated Vending.apk (Android Market) which supported in-app purchases. This meant that the Market no longer had to self-update after being initialized and then opened several times in order to provide support for apps which use in-app billing. It is only compatible with Android 2.3.4 and higher, due to API changes.
For Android 2.3.3 or higher, due to API changes.
The first package which combined Tegra and ARM architectures, designed for Android 2.3.2.
A Tegra architecture-only update.
An ARM architecture-only update that was discovered to also work on Tegra devices a few days after the next Tegra update was made.
The first stable ARM-only update.
The first stable Tegra-only update.
Froyo (Android 2.2.x)
These packages "officially" support the HTC Desire HD (ace), HTC Desire (bravo, bravoc), HTC Droid Incredible (inc), HTC Nexus One (passion, Motorola Droid (sholes), HTC EVO 4G (supersonic), and HTC Vision (vision).
This package "officially" supports the MSI Harmony (harmony).
Eclair (Android 2.1.x)
Donut (Android 1.6)
This package must be flashed prior to flashing the main ROM, unlike later iterations.
- ^ Apps by Google Inc. - Google Play. play.google.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-29.
- ^ CyanogenMod - The current state... www.cyanogenmod.com. Retrieved 2012-04-28
- ^ GitHub - CyanogenMod/android_packages_apps_Pacman. github.com. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
- ^ GitHub - Workaround for new market - 4383efb - CyanogenMod/android_packages_apps_Pacman. github.com. Retrieved 2012-04-28.