Google has today made a few changes, mostly linguistic, to its Play Store payments policy that clearly defines how it is implemented. Following the policy update, Google says that any app that currently relies on an alternative billing system will need to remove it before September 30, 2021. All such apps are required to adopt the Google Play In-app Billing system as the method of payment. As for the new apps that are submitted after January 20 next year, they will have to rely on Google Play Store’s native billing system for in-app payments. Of course, the policy is there to ensure that Google gets its cut of 30% for purchases made via apps downloaded from the Play Store, just the way Apple mandates for all apps listed on the App Store.
As mentioned above, Google is drawing clear lines for in-app payments that will qualify under the revenue sharing scheme to make it easier for developers to understand the policies. As part of the update, using the Google Play In-app Billing system will be mandatory for in-game products (coins, gems, characters, weapons, special items), additional app content (exclusive features or an ad-free version of the app), subscription services (streaming music, videos, books and other media services) and cloud-based software products.
However, Google Play Store’s native billing system won’t be compulsory for apps where in-app purchases are made to buy physical goods, pay for services (food, transport, tickets), memberships (gym, loyalty programs, clothing, etc.), bill payments and peer-to-peer payments. You can read more about the policy update here.
Talking about third-party app stores, Google says that Android 12 will make it “even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices.” However, this facility will be granted after making sure that safety measures put in place by Android are not overlooked. The search giant notes that work on implementing it is already underway and that more details will be shared in the foreseeable future. Google also added that it gives equal treatment to its in-house and third-party apps on the Play Store.