Often times in this industry when we’re talking about one company following in the steps of another, it’s trying to duplicate the earlier firm’s success: just look at Microsoft’s current efforts to deliver its Cortana voice assistant, in the wake of Siri and Google Now. But then there’s odd occasion when the company doing the copying isn’t trying to benefit itself, but merely finds it caught in the same mire another business trudged through before. That’s just the sort of situation we’re looking at today, as Google catches the wrath of parents over in-app purchases.
Apple has had plenty of its own problems with kids running up massive in-app purchase bills on their parents’ accounts. It took steps to correct the problem years ago, removing the fifteen minute “grace period” following another purchase and requiring password authentication to make any in-app purchase. Still, itwasn’t until this past January when Apple could finally put the matter behind it, settling over an FTC complaint.
But now a California woman is suing Google over similar behavior from the Android side of smartphones, and specifically a $70 in-app purchase bill her five-year-old stuck her with.
Google already offers tools to restrict purchases by requiring a password, so this lawsuit is likely to address just how clearly Google presents these settings to users, as well as the 30-minute grace period that follows successful authentication.