Android billing grows up: Google Play finally gets in-app subscriptions
Google just made Android an even more compelling option for app developers looking to make a buck. The company today is launching in-app subscriptions on Google Play, more than a year after it first brought in-app billing to Android.
By standardizing in-app billing, Google made it easier for developers to charge for virtual goods, upgrades, and the like. Now with the addition of subscriptions, consumers can opt into monthly or annual recurring payments, allowing them to keep getting content without the hassle of purchasing over and over.
“For users, Google Play provides a familiar and convenient purchase experience, highlighting subscription details such as price and billing interval before continuing with purchases,” Google Play product manager Ibrahim Elbouchikhi wrote in a blog post this morning. “After the transaction, Google Play manages recurring billing and keeps users informed of new charges, sending them an email with each renewal. At any time, users can visit My Apps in the Play Store app to view their subscriptions and cancel any subscription as needed.”
Google says it’s also offering an HTTP-based API that will let developers extend subscriptions beyond Android devices. You’ll be able to subscribe to something on Google Play, then get access to that same content via a desktop web browser. This is one pretty big difference from Apple’s in-app billing, though it remains to be seen how much developers will jump on-board.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Matt Carona, VP of product at the concert streaming app company Qello, said that the in-app subscriptions will be simple to implement, and “from a consumer standpoint it makes everything really easy.” Developers get a way to keep people paying, and consumers won’t have to bother with making as many manual purchases.
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