Google announces action on in-app billing for the purpose of Netflix and Spotify


With much attention to how smartphone app developers are treated on Apple and Google’s App Store recently, Google has decided now This is a great time to announce more stringent App Store billing rules. A new post from the official Android developer blog promises a crackdown on in-app billing that seems to be aimed at large streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify.

Google’s post is actually beating around the bush trying to sugar-coat this announcement, but it starts by saying, “We always need developers who use Google Play’s billing system Let’s distribute their apps on Play if they offer a digital in-app purchase of goods, and pay a service fee by percentage of purchase. “This rule has not been implemented, however, and many big developers have just -Now overlooked Google’s billing requirements. Today, Netflix and Spotify do not use Google’s in-app billing and instead pull out new accounts from web browsers, where companies use PayPal or direct credit card processing to dodge 30 percent of Google’s fees. Can.
“We’ve made the language more clear in our payment policy that using Google Play’s billing system requires all developers selling digital goods in their app,” Google continues. “For those who already have an app on Google Play, who need technical work to integrate our billing system, we don’t want to clutter their roadmap and complete any necessary updates Giving one year (until 30 September 2021). ”
This is basically the meat of the blog post: Everyone has to use Google Billing by this time next year. A look at the “payment policy” shows examples like “subscription services” that offer things like “music” and “video”. It also warns readers at the top that “changes are coming to this policy!” And that “any existing app currently using the alternative billing system will need to be removed to comply with this update.”

Google states a clear distinction between Android and iOS that on Android, developers have an “in-store option” and most Android devices ship with multiple app stores. Google mentions twice that “each store is able to decide its own business model and consumer features” with the implication that if developers want to be on Google Play, which has 2 billion active users, they should Gotta start following the rules or look elsewhere.

Better third-party App Store support in Android 12?

Another tidbit in this post reports an Android 12 feature: “We are careful not to compromise that it will be easy for people to make changes to Android 12 (next year’s Android release) to use other app stores on their devices . Android has security measures in place. We are designing all of this now and look forward to sharing more in the future! ”

Currently, installing the second App Store requires some additional checkboxes, but given that stepping outside of Google’s walls actually exposes users to more threats, the two warning messages don’t seem excessive . Google regularly publishes statistics comparing the malware rate of Google Play-only devices vs. devices that have installed applications from outside the Play Store. While Google Play is by no means perfect, Google is one of the few app store operators to put every app through a veterinarian process, and as a result, users are 5 to 10 times more likely to have malware Is more. Outside the Play Store for the past two years.

The current App Store install process is not difficult. If you’re downloading something like F-Droid (an open source app store), first Chrome will give you a warning that this type of file (APK) can harm your device, which you can click. If you’ve never installed an app from a browser before, you’ll be sent to the device settings so you can flip the “Install from source in install” checkbox for Chrome. You can then install the App Store. Android requires any app that gives apps the “Install Unknown Applications” checkbox, so you’ll have to flip this setting to allow the new App Store to install applications.

Alternative App Store install process of Android 11.
in great shape / Optional App Store install process of Android 11.

Ron Amdev

This step makes a bit more sense as a response to make the third-party App Store easier to use FortniteThe developer, Epic, is currently suing Google over its alternative App Store policies. Epic’s Antitrust lawsuit states, “Downloading Fortnite on Android devices can involve a dozen steps that require the user to change the default settings and click bravely.” “And even if a frequent user manages to set up a competing App Store, Google prevents such stores from doing the same thing with the Google Play Store, to prevent them from offering original functions. , Such as automatic updating of apps in the background. ”

Like any lawsuit, Epic’s filing is a bit blurred. By my count, setting up a third-party App Store takes five taps, not “a dozen steps.” While any pre-installed App Store (in a locked-down system partition) can install app updates, Epic is correct that user-downloaded app stores cannot automatically update apps. Downloaded applications find it a bit scary to install new code in the background without user consent, but perhaps allow a highly privileged “App Store” for downloaded apps to please companies like Google Epic Can. Epic also says that it doesn’t like the “strict warnings” associated with these permissions, though, and how powerful the App Store permission is, it correctly informs users that it’s too scary-sounding for A warning will be required. The epic was already caught illegally using these powers once, when A. Fortnight The installer opened Samsung devices to security vulnerabilities.

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