Tech giant Google shared an article on its Android Developers Blog and announced that it’s updating the Google Play billing policies in order to clarify in-app billing requirements. The company also said Android 12 users would be able to use third party app stores in an easier and more secure way.
While there’s not much difference between the old payments policy page and the updated one in terms of content, Google only made it more clear the requirements around the use of its in app billing service.
The company said that the updated billing policies will only apply to a small percentage of developers as 97% already use Google Play’s billing.
‘’…this isn’t new. This has always been the intention of this long standing policy and this clarification will not affect the vast majority of developers with apps on Google Play. Less than 3% of developers with apps on Play sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of this 3%, the vast majority (nearly 97%) already use Google Play’s billing.’’
The %3 who haven’t introduced Google Play’s billing library into their apps yet will be required to comply with the terms within a year.
‘’But for those who already have an app on Google Play that requires technical work to integrate our billing system, we do not want to unduly disrupt their roadmaps and are giving a year (until September 30, 2021) to complete any needed updates.’’
Also, some businesses impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic including the ones that had to move their physical service online and holding live events will be able to opt-out of its payment policies for the next 12 months.
Apple took a similar step last week announcing that it would temporarily stop the App Store fee for Facebook online events.
In addition, Google also said that it won’t limit developers’ ability to communicate with their customers via email or other channels.
“To clarify, Google Play does not have any limitations here on this kind of communication outside of a developer’s app. For example, they might have an offering on another Android app store or through their website at a lower cost than on Google Play,” the company noted. “
Google’s update comes weeks after Epic-owned Fortnite’s removal from the Play Store and Apple’s App Store after the developer introduced a new payment system which blocked the companies from collecting the 30% fee.
Epic and several Apple critics including Spotify, Basecamp and Match Group recently founded the ‘Coalition for App Fairness’ to fight against App Store policies.
However, Google didn’t receive harsh criticism as much as Apple did as Android users are able to download apps outside of Google Play Store.
In the meantime, Google also announced that it will make changes in Android 12 to enable its users to use other app stores
‘’Some developers have given us feedback on how we can make the user experience for installing another app store on their device even better. In response to that feedback, we will be making changes in Android 12 (next year’s Android release) to make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place.’’
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