Google has always prided itself on its free services. Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube are all technically free to the public. However, that's about to change ever so slightly for European Android device makers.
The European Commission recently ruled that Google could not continue to "illegally" tie its proprietary apps and services – specifically, Chrome and Google Search – to Android and the Play Store.
By being forced to put an end to this practice, Google now says they'll have to charge licensing fees for Android device makers who want to pre-install their apps and services on an individual basis. It's not clear how much these fees will be, but the new "licensing options" will go into effect on October 29.
It's not clear whether or not companies will still be able to choose a bundled app option to skip these fees. To be clear, nothing about Android itself is changing - it will remain completely free to use. As The Verge notes, it's just Google's apps and services, which have almost become synonymous with the mobile OS, that will become fee-based in Europe.
From a customer perspective, it's not likely that much will change here unless European smartphone makers decide to pass these new costs on to their customers.