Google Family Library

In June 2014 Apple dispatched a feature (named Family Sharing) for the App Store and iTunes. It is basically a sharing plan that lets you share content and services with your family members. And Google also launched a similar feature on July 2, 2016, after two years of apple. Google named this feature Google Family Library. The great thing about this feature compared to Apple’s Family sharing is that Google’s feature will let you share content and services with Android devices, iOS devices, and the web. This difference makes Google’s plan superior here.

One more thing this service of Google is free to use, whereas apple’s family sharing costs you $15 per month (for the number of six family members) google also calls this feature, Families, Google Family, and family Group. (Man, decide a single name for it, don’t confuse us) In this article, I am going to cover everything you need to know about the google play family library so, make sure to read this article thoroughly folks, and learn about this great way to share data with your family. After all, sharing is caring. 

What is the google play family library?

Google play family library is a plan by which you can share multiple things like a book, an app, a tv show, or a movie with your family members. This plan allows up to six family members per group (including you). A truly wonderful way to share digital content. I have referred to it as a plan but it is free to use. Many of us have used or are still using the standard Google play Library in which we set up our own accounts and purchase a book, an app, a tv show, or a movie that we can keep up to ourselves.

So, as I said that this plan only allows up to six members but there is one more condition in this. The necessary condition is that in this six family members must include a family manager. The family manager must be of 18 years of age or older. The role of this family manager is to approve and disapprove any purchases requested by family members that are under 17 years of age. One more thing, you can change your group only one time per year. So, think enough before adding some of your family members to the group (you gotta choose the five best/favorite ones of yours in the group)

If you are a parent and young children are in your group, keep in mind that this feature lets the family members add every download to every device automatically and you may not want to share some of the content with your children. (like R-rated movies and all you know…) In order to avoid this situation, you can switch off the automatic adding download to every device feature and watch some of your favorite content without having to worry that your children might see something which they should not.

You know this automatic adding feature is great too if every person in your group is above 18 or they share the same interests as you and it can also help you keep an eye on your children’s digital activities and administer their google accounts. 

Google Family Library
Google Family Library

What you can share and what you can not?

Most of the apps, movies, books, calendars, TV shows and games can be shared through the family library. But if an item is not allowed to share you will not see the family library icon on that item’s details page. (The family icon is visible on every item’s detail page which is available to share.) Also, you can not share any of the purchases you did before July 2, 2016. This feature also does not work for music plans.

If you want to share music with your family then you can purchase Google Play Music Plan. It costs $14.99 per month and lets you and your family members stream millions of songs. (Yes! Google Play Music family plan and Google Play Family Library are different things.) This feature also does not let you share free apps and in-app purchases. Oh! And family does not necessarily mean your real family, you can add your friends and anyone you want (it is a virtual google family.) You can also share audiobooks, YouTube TV, google play pass, google one plan, and YouTube Music plan. 

What are the roles of members in the family library? 

The person who created the family group on google is called the family manager. The manager can take the role of parent or give it to someone as well. A family group can only have one manager. All the rights of the group are in hands of the family manager, he approves and disapproves of other’s decisions, and he can add or remove anyone from the group, even delete the family group, add or remove family services (for example YouTube premium) plans and can manage a children account. whereas, other group members are called family members. They are just participants in the group.

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Although the members can share any purchases done by them in the group, they do not have any control of the group like the manager. A family member has to accept the invitation sent to them by the manager otherwise they are going to get only limited access to the group.  

What one can see about another in the family group?

However, no one can see the exact files which you are keeping on your google one account.It is just like a WhatsApp group. When you join a WhatsApp group other members can only see your name, profile photo, the content you share, and constant number. The family library group is the same but instead of a contact number, your email address is visible here.

Do not worry any of your personal data is not shared and is not visible to family members (you will not find the personal data on families.google.com/families too.) just the basic details are accessible okay! Files on your phone, files in google services (for example files on google drive), contacts, any downloaded content from chrome or YouTube or from any similar app, your notes, and browsing history of yours from any kind of app.

(Don’t be confused, okay! Parents can still manage apps, check the location and see the activity time of their children’s account.) if your family is having a google one membership then they and also you can see exact shared storage used by a member in the group.

In which countries family library feature is available?

This google feature is now available in 38 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States. People from this many countries can take advantage of the family group feature. Hopefully, It will soon be available in many more countries. The source of this information is Android Police.  

Few necessary rules you should know about the family library

Here are a few things you should know before signing in:

  1. You can only be in one group at a time. 
  2. You are allowed to switch family groups after 12 months. 
  3. Common thing, everyone must possess a google account to be in a family group. 
  4. Not every paid app you see is allowed to share in the group. ( If purchased it before 2016 too) 
  5. You are not eligible to share any in-app purchases in the group. 
  6. The minimum required age of a person to be in a family group is 13 years. (it varies from country to country so, check what is the minimum age required in your country.) 
  7. The members you are trying to add should be from the same country as you. (It is not allowed to add someone from another country)
  8. A family group does not mean it is limited to only family members. You can add anyone in the group. If you can either share everything or share selective items.
  9. Ou can not join a family library using google accounts from work, an organization, or school. you need to have your own google account.  

How to sign up for the family library

Learn to sign up for this feature with me step by step. You will make the purchase for any content and your family group can access it without paying even a single penny. You can either select one card for all the purchases or each family group individual can use their own card for the purchase. (I will suggest that you should choose one card to be the default of all the purchases.) you can either use your existing Google account to sign up for this plan or just make a new google account and use it. Well, here are the steps to sign up for google family group:

  1. Open the google play app store on your device. 
  2. Click on your profile (it is in the upper right corner)
  3. Click on the Settings option
  4. The fourth option is Family in the new menu, click on it
  5. You will see the sign-up option, tap on it, and carefully on-screen instructions to set the family library, then you need to select a payment option for the group. (the card you choose will be behind all the purchases done in the group.)
  6. Select whether you want to add all the purchases in the group or not. 
  7. All done, now invite members to the group. 

You can also create a google family group from other google services like the Family Link app, and the families.google.com website. 

Some apps and games can not be shared due to the fact that some developers do not allow them.  

How do you add family members to the group?

Done making the family group? Now, let’s add your favorite people to the family group. (before sending them a request for joining the group make sure to read the Few necessary rules you should know about the family library section.) although you could have added the members in the group when you created it. Nothing wrong if you did not add them at that moment. (One needs time to think after all.)

The instructions to add family members through the Play Store app to the group are  as follows: 

  1. Open the google play store and go to Settings.
  2. Click on the family option 
  3. Then tap on the Manage family members option.
  4. Before Google lets you add members to the group. It is going to verify the payment details/methods first. This process includes entering the CVC code. (which is on the back of your credit card.) 
  5. Then click on the Invite family members option.
  6. You will see your contact list on the menu either add from there or you will need to enter their email addresses under Add recipients option.  
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Note – the member will receive a request for joining the group and they must accept the request in order to fully access the group. They will also need to undergo a setup process. (This process also includes sharing their own purchased item with the family group) 

Instructions to add members to a family group through the web browser:

  1. Open this link https://families.google.com/families on your browser
  2. Click on the “Invite family member” option
  3. Type the email address of the person you want to add and select it from the appeared search results
  4. Tap on the “Send” option. 

Instructions to add members to a family group through the Family Link app:

One more thing to keep in mind is that the family link app may not be available in your country. I have already listed the countries in which the family link app is available (follow the list of In which countries family library feature is available? section.) Alright here are the steps:

  1. Open the Family Link app on your phone/tablet
  2. Click on the menu option located on the upper left side of the screen. (Just beside the “Family”)  
  3. Tap on the “Family group” option.
  4. Click on the “Invite family members” option
  5. Send the invitation to whoever you want to add and you are done.   

Instructions to add members to a family group through the Google One app:

  1. Open the Google One app on your phone or tablet
  2. Go to the “Settings” option
  3. Tap on the “Manage family group” option
  4. Then click on the “Manage family group” option
  5. Click on the “Invite family members” option and send the invitations. 

Instructions to add members to a family group through the Google Assistant app:

Tell the google assistant of your phone or tablet and it will do the job for you. To access google assistant say “Hey/hello google, open assistant settings.” Don’t wanna do it like this? Wanna do it manually? Then access assistant settings.

  1. Click on the Settings option from the google assistant menu 
  2. Click on the “You” option
  3. Then click on the “Your people” option
  4. Then click on the “Add person” option
  5. Select the person you want to add from the list or search for them on the search bar
  6. Toggle on the “Family group” option
  7. Then you need to confirm the new member’s email address
  8. Click on the “Use this email” option
  9. Click on the “Save” option and you are done. 

How to accept the invitation to the google families group?

Firstly make sure that the group manager has sent you the invitation. You receive the invitation for google families in the form of an email. And also make sure the invitation is not in the “Spam” section. Well, here is the guide on how to accept the invitation for google families:

  1. Open the email or Gmail application on your device. 
  2. Tap on the invitational mail and then tap on the “ACCEPT INVITATION” option
  3. Once you click that option, you will be redirected to chrome or the default browser on your phone
  4. Then tap on the “Get Started” option
  5. Now, you have to log in to your google account 
  6. Once you log in, it will redirect you to the google play store app
  7. Click on the “Use account” button to ensure that this is the account you want to join the family group with
  8. Tap on the “Join” option and then click on the “Continue” option
  9. You can either add the eligible purchase at the current moment or you can add them after some time one by one. Then click on the “Continue” option again
  10. Last tap, tap on the ‘got it” option and the procedure is finished. Congratulations! Now You are a part of a family group

Note-  if you are already a part of a family group then you can not join a new group. 

How do you remove family members from the group?

If you want to remove someone from the family group then follow these steps:

  1. Access the google play store app on your phone or tablet
  2. Now, access family settings. There are two ways to do it. First, by clicking on the Menu button, or second by tapping on your profile icon. Do any of these
  3. If you clicked on the Menu button then now, click on the Account option. And if you clicked on the profile icon then now, click on the Settings option and then the Account option.
  4. Click on the Family option
  5. Then tap on the Manage family members option
  6. Click on the family member you want to remove from the group. 
  7. Click on the More option
  8. Then tap on the Remove member and click again on the Remove option. The person will be removed.

How to delete the google family group?

So, removing a member from the google family group is not enough. Wanna end the whole group? Follow the instructions written below to delete the google family group:

  1. Firstly, access the family member’s Settings. (Read the above section to know how to access it)  
  2. Click on the More option
  3. Then tap on the Delete option to delete all the members from the group. 

What kind of account do you need to join the family library?

You can use your existing Google account if it is your personal account and it does not belong to any organization, work, or school to join the family group. The other family members can join with their own existing accounts too and their accounts should also belong to themselves. 

How to share content with the family group? 

Now that we have learned how to make a family group, how to invite members to it, and how to accept the invitation for a family group. So, let’s quickly see how to share “Apps and games” and “Movies and TV shows” with the family group here are the steps on how to share Apps and games with the family library:

  1. Open the google play store on your phone or tablet
  2. Click on the “Menu” option it is in the upper left corner
  3. Tap on the “My apps and games” option
  4. Click on the Installed, it is going to show you all the installed applications/games on your device 
  5. Tap on the application/game you want to share from the list. A detail page will open up for that particular app/game
  6. You will see the Famil Library option, toggle it on. 
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And if any day you do not want to remove some content, just toggle off that “Family Library feature. 

here are the steps on how to share Movies and TV shows with the family library:

  1. Open the Google TV app on your phones or tablets. the google TV app was 
  2. previously known as Movies and TV 
  3. Go to the “library” it is at the bottom 
  4. Now, search for the item that you purchased and want to share.
  5. Click on the ‘“Family Library” to see

The process of removing some stuff is the same as it was for Apps and games for the family library section. 

How to share photos and videos with google family? 

You can share your photos and videos with your google family and they can even comment on them (By using the web or the app.) to share photos and videos with your google family there should be at least three people in the group (including yourself.) follow the following procedure:

  1. Open the Google photos app on your phone and tablet. 
  2. Choose the photos and videos you want to share with google family. 
  3. Click on the Share button and then tap on your family group from the appeared list. 
  4. You can also attach a message if you want or just hit the Send option to send them as it is. 

How do you access content from the google play families group?

Until now I have shown you how to create a family group, invite members, accept the invitational request to join the family group, and share content in the family group too. Looks like it is time to guide you on how to access the shared content on your google play families. Just follow the steps below to know:

  1. Open the google play store app on your phone or tablet
  2. Go to the menu. It is located in the upper left corner
  3. In the list, you will see many things such as movies and TV, My apps and games, Newsstand, and Books. Click on the option you want to access. 
  4. Once you are in your desired option’s category. Click on the “Family Library” button.
  5. All the available content which are available to your whole google family will be listed there.  

How will you find out that an item has been purchased already?

How exactly are you going to find out that the item you are going to purchase has already been purchased by someone from the family group? I am here to tell you no need to worry. So, if a group member has already paid for the item (for example let’s say a game or app.) look if the buyer has kept the sharing feature on then other members are going to see a message on the details page of the app. The message they are gonna see is “Added to Family Library.” and if one is trying to buy a premium service then he/she is going to get informed if they already possess the subscription or not. 

What if one leaves the family group?

Trying to find out that, what will be the consequences if you leave your family group. Let me tell you what the will consequences of leaving a family group are:

  1. Just like any other group, you are going to lose access to the google play library. 
  2. You can not install any paid items for free. Now, purchase the items for yourself (Just like the old times)
  3. The other members of the group are going to lose too. (you are not the only one) they will lose access to any item that you purchased for the family group
  4. And obviously, now you can not use family payment method options 
  5. You are going to lose all the family subscription plans too. 
  6. The best thing for you. Any purchase you did via the family payment method is going to stay with you, in your account. 

Also, you can not join any other group for about 12 months. So, think carefully before leaving any family group. 

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How old purchased items you can share in the family library? 

Purchases you did after July 2, 2016, can be shared with the family group. It does not matter whether you did the purchase after creating/joining a family group or before joining/creating a family group. As long as the purchased item is sharable, you can share it with them. 

Talking about the purchases done before July 2, 2016. The purchased item should be eligible for the Family Library in order to share it. (Yes! Some apps and games purchased before July 2, 2016, can be shared.) you will need to confirm if the app is eligible or not, go to the app’s detail page on the google play store to check it.

Final words

In this article, I have covered everything you need to know about Google Family Library. I literally wrote a full beginner guide about it. Anyways if you still wanna know something about this feature do let me know will try to cover it. One more thing besides the ability to share paid applications it also offers you to share notes, calendars, photos, etc. in my opinion google family is better than apple family sharing. You can use google family group on multiple devices and it also does not restrict you from using a particular brand device. (you can only use the apple family sharing feature if you possess an apple device.) Also, google’s feature is free to use, you only need to pay for in-app purchases whereas apple’s family sharing costs you an amount of $15 per month.   

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