Home / News / Software News / Google Changing App Store Policy - Again

Google Changing App Store Policy - Again

David Gilbert


Google To Introduce In-App Payments

Despite posting profits of $2.54 billion for the final quarter of 2010, Google just ain’t happy with the amount of paid-for apps being sold in the Android Market and so have set about making sure it can squeeze more money from mobile phone (and tablet) users in 2011.

The news that paid-for app download levels were less than expected came from Google's Android group manager, Eric Chu, speaking at a social games conference in San Francisco. Chu said Google were less than pleased with the sales figures from the Market and had now put in train a plan, which will help make it more profitable. Paid-for apps were introduced for the Android Market in February 2009 and has seen the app store grow rapidly to now offer over 100,000 apps.

Chu said that Google had planned on introducing in-app payments by the end of 2010 but with the busy Christmas period it had been unable to get sufficient developer feedback. In-app payments are something Apple’s iOS has allow for some time now and is widely used in social games like Smurfs’ Village to buy items or credits. The system also allows for the purchase of individual editions of magazines or newspapers.

BlackBerry and even Nokia have both beaten Google to the punch in relation to bringing this functionality to their operating systems however all three are playing catch up with Apple. The in-app feature will be available in most Android phone and won't be only compatible with a one particular version of the platform.

In related news Google is looking to allow users to have app purchases appear on their mobile bill and is talking to carriers to try and implement this, a service which AT&T already provides in the US. Finally Google also announced it will be trying to prevent apps appearing that violate the company’s terms of service. Hopefully this won’t mean the end of apps which add greatly to the functionality of Android devices but could be termed “malicious” by Google.

In related news Amazon has finally announced the availability of an Android version of its app – which appeared in Apple’s App Store as far back as 2008. The free app includes a barcode scanner for quick price comparisons while you’re out shopping. It will let you freely browse Amazon’s listings and even place and track orders direct from your phone and is available now.


January 26, 2011, 8:20 pm

Coming from an WM background and now an Android owner, I find it hard to justify buying Apps if they have a website that is free to use.

I also think that the Android App store is so totally stuffed with utter dross that it really is a chore to browse/use. The fact that your 'Top 10 Apps' features get lots of comments recommending good Apps that others don't know about goes some way to prove my point.


January 26, 2011, 8:21 pm

Maybe Google's App Store would be more successful if more Android devices could actually access it. Which to me seems partly Google's fault for the silly restrictions it places on non-smartphone devices.

Also, whilst I respect Google for allowing Android to support a wide variety of chipsets, screen resolutions, etc - it sure doesn't make it easy for developers to turn out optimised software (one general executable can't possibly be optimised for the wide gamut of hardware combinations out there in Android land).

Sort of sums up my feelings for Android, in that I love how ambitious it is, but still feel it is yet to realise the potential - with no obvious way to cure some of the niggles of something that is really trying to be all things to all people on pretty much any handset / tablet / netbook.

I want Android to do well - but hope that Chrome OS isn't stillborn (as per much industry commentary in recent times) and can move us past some of the quirks of Android.


January 26, 2011, 8:33 pm

I'm guessing that the low level of sales is related the availability of games on the Market. I remember reading somewhere how games make up a massive proportion os sales on iOS and Android is definitely lacking on thie front. In four months I've spent way more on my iPod Touch than I have in nearly two years of using Android.

Amazon have had a US app out for ages though it's good to see them catching up with a UK version. How about Amazon MP3 for iOS now?


January 26, 2011, 9:08 pm

I have been using Android for a year now and I have only bought two apps. FeedR (which I love and use everyday) and PowerAmp which I bought for WMA playback, lockscreen widget and because I so sick and tired of a bug where the default player wouldn't play downloaded files correctly. I would download a podcast (one I couldn't get an MP3 of through Dpod) and have to manually start it through Astro and it would play but if you went outside of the music player app it stopped and couldn't remember your last position. Starting the music player would default to whatever you were playing before the downloaded MP3. Drove.me.nuts.

So thats around £4.50 ish I have spent in the market in total in a year. I guess I am part of the problem then. If my N1 didn't have rubbish multi-touch I would maybe buy some games but I don't see much else I would spend money on. It has to be said as well that the market is full of utter crapware. Crapware even Orange wouldn't touch.


January 26, 2011, 10:04 pm

The problem is not so much new device types being barred, the problem is many phones cannot use the market.

Every single version / revision needs to be signed and approved by Google - many manufacturers (step forward: Acer) seemingly can't be bothered by this, so the apps you see in the market are just the fart apps that are flagged as not copycontrolled/whatever. It's no good having a market if stuff being advertised as available in it just simply aren't appearing in the search.

Anything useful is hidden (eg the train time apps) as my phone os (out of the box) was unapproved - I understand why this is .. a casual user does not and is lost for good at that point.. For me, this was enough to throw my shiny android phone in a drawer and go out and (reluctantly) buy another iPhone. Android have lost me until i'm convinced they've sorted this mess out. Problem they have is application of the Microsoft model (ie, pay us and do what you like with the software) to something requiring the rigidity of IOS.


January 27, 2011, 2:10 am

Oh forgot about Robo defense (how could I do that?). 3 Apps I have bought in a year.

You know making people buy more apps is also a good way to tie people into your eco-system. Maybe it's not about the developers at all. It's to make people think twice about changing platforms.

comments powered by Disqus