Home / Technology / News /  Google brings third-party billing in India: What it means for app developers

Google has extended its third-party 'in app' billing system to India and some other markets- Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and European Economic Area. This will allow non-gaming app developers to offer users the choice of an alternative billing mechanism alongside that of Google Play.

"With this next phase of Google Play's user choice billing pilot, all non-gaming developers can offer an additional billing choice alongside Play's billing system for their users in Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, and the European Economic Area," a Google spokesperson said.

Google says that it will continue to charge a service fees to support investments in Android and Play. However, the company did not reveal specifics of what the reasonable service fees will be.

The spokesperson added: "We will be sharing more in the coming months as we continue to build and iterate with our pilot partners."

What it means for developers?

The move comes amid discontent among developers as well as increasing global scrutiny of app stores norms, and the way commissions are structured by big app stores. With this, developers will be able to offer an alternative in-app billing system alongside Google Play's. At checkout, users will be able to choose which billing system to use.

For those unaware, in-app purchases are additional content, features, or subscriptions that users buy within a particular app.

The Google Play Billing policy has always required developers to use Google Play's billing system for in-app purchases of digital goods. Earlier this year, Google announced a new pilot to explore user choice billing in apps on Google Play, allowing participating developers to offer users an alternative billing system next to Google Play's billing system.

In March, Google said it would allow Spotify to use its own payment system in its Android app as part of new pilot program.

Following passage of a new law in South Korea last year, Google also said it would allow developers to introduce third- party payment systems alongside its own in that market.

As per Google, Google Play is the first and only major app store to pilot user choice billing. No other major app store, whether on mobile, desktop, or game consoles, has taken similar steps toward providing more payment choice and opportunities for developers, users and the entire internet ecosystem, it contends.

"Android has always been a uniquely open operating system, and we continue to evolve our platform and increase the choices available to developers and users, while maintaining our ability to invest in the ecosystem," the Google spokesperson said on the latest announcement.

Over the last two years, Google has moved away from one-size-fits-all pricing and as per its estimates, currently 99 per cent of developers qualify for a service fee of 15 per cent or less.

Google emphasises it is constantly listening to external feedback and considering changes to business that enable the Android ecosystem to compete and thrive.

(With inputs from PTI)

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