Google will extend third-party in-app payments system to India and some other markets, allowing non-gaming developers to offer users the choice of an payments alternative to Google Play.
That will be subject to a “reasonable” service fee, the search giant said, to support investments in Android and 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. “We’ll be sharing more in the coming months as we continue to build and iterate with our pilot partners.”
The move comes amid discontent among developers as well as increasing global scrutiny of app stores and the commissions they charge. Earlier this year, Google announced a pilot to explore user-choice billing. In March, Google allowed Spotify to use its own payments system for its Android app.
Following the passage of a new law in South Korea last year, Google said it would allow developers to introduce third- party payments systems, along side its own in that market.
According to 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 gaming consoles — has taken similar steps.
“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.
Over the last two years, Google has moved away from one-size-fits-all pricing. According to its own estimates, 99% of developers qualify for a service fee of 15% 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.