An APK teardown by the good folks over at XDA Developers has revealed that Google is possibly going to introduce free to watch movies on its Google Play Movies app.

At the moment, Google’s only film streaming options are via the Play Movies app or the YouTube app where users can pay to buy or rent content. This is unlike most other streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ that charge a monthly fee for unlimited viewing of a curated selection of titles.

Were Google to introduce a selection of free to watch films – with ads – it would mirror the model of YouTube, which it also owns. The leak didn’t suggest however that a paid subscription would also be available, or that such a thing would unlock streams with no ads.

XDA found the below string in v4.18.37 of the Android Google Play Movies app, along with another mention of “hundreds of movies, just a few ads,” a tantalising clue that Google might be about to open up a lot of free content right when billions of people are stuck at home thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Image: XDA Developers

It’s unlikely Google would make all films on its platform free, but it shows that it could be considering how to join the Streaming Wars without having to launch a service with Netflix’s business model.