So I understand that I need to flash the gapps package after installing a custom Android distro (ROM). In that case, is there an official google apps package? If so, why should I rely on competing distributions of the Google apps package, rather than get it straight from Google? If not, do device manufacturers get it through a different, private route?
If not, is there any way I can extract the Google Apps platform whole from my own device's stock Android OS image? As I understand, that is in fact the exception which Google allowed, which everyone seems to be abusing by simply distributing APKs extracted from other devices. I have not seen a single guide for this.