It’s been a year since Google added in-app purchases to what was then the Android Market. Now Google is again looking to catch up to Apple in the features department. This time the Android maker has added the ability for developers to sign up users for ongoing subscriptions within apps. This important revenue stream is going live right now in Google Play for all users and developers.
In the coming days, several high-profile developers that have been making use of in-app purchases will be rolling out the first subscription apps with Google’s support. As an example, Google used Glu Mobile, which has long been raking in cash by selling packages of in-app currency to users. Soon, its apps will come with the option to subscribe to get ongoing premium features instead of buying points constantly.
This comes off as a little bit of a money grab, but if you would be spending on in-app purchases constantly, it might be okay. This system will also give newspapers and magazines the option to sell subscriptions through the app, which Google then gets a cut of. The subscriptions can be viewed and managed from the Google Play Store.
Unlike Apple’s subscription system, Google is making this entire deal cross-platform. The backend servers will be able to authenticate subscriptions from multiple places. This allows publishers to extend a subscription bought on Google Play to its web properties or desktop apps.
The Play Store is one of the few aspects of Android that Google has managed to keep cohesive. The in-app subscriptions will be supported on Google Play version 3.5 or higher, which all Android devices should already have. Keep an eye out for developers to start implementing subscriptions very soon.
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