Tag Archives: developers

Google Play Best of 2020 Winners for India


It’s that time of year where we celebrate the best of Google Play in India! More than ever before, this year we were brought together by our favourite apps and games, even when we were apart. And this time around, we’ve added a few goodies in our Best of Play picks including new categories that you’ll find especially relevant and useful, such as special picks for the best apps for personal growth and everyday essentials.


There’s also a callout to the ‘App for Good’, which you’ll find particularly useful in these times. This app happens to be by an Indian developer, as does the Best App of 2020! 


You also rocked the vote to crown your favorites… and the tallies are in.  And so, it’s time to celebrate the year’s top titles across Google Play.


Your 2020 Users’ Choice winners for games and apps are World Cricket Championship 3 – WCC3 and Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint & More.


Explore the complete lists below to see what the Google Play editors loved and what topped the charts in India this year. And check out the full lists in the Best of 2020 section of the Play Store.

 

BEST APP OF 2020

 

Best apps for Fun

 

Best apps for Personal Growth

 

Best apps for Everyday Essentials

 

Best Hidden Gems

 

Best App for Good: InnerHour Self-Care Therapy - Anxiety & Depression



BEST GAME OF 2020

 

Best competitive games

 

Best Innovative games

Best Casual games

 

Best Indie games


Posted by Brett Bouchard, Global Head of Editorial, Google Play

Celebrating devs from Brazil on Black Consciousness Day

Posted by Patricia Correa - Director, Global Developer Marketing

Today is Black Consciousness Day in Brazil, a country where over 55% of the population identifies as Black. To celebrate, we are showcasing local developers who create apps, games and websites. Watch this video to hear about their journeys, tips and passions.

Meet the founders & developers

Vitor Eleotério, Software Engineer at iFood, a popular food delivery app in Brazil. As much as he liked technology, his colleagues used to mock and discourage him. Vitor heard many times that he would be a great security man as he is tall and strong. People kept saying that IT was only for rich people. With his passion and hard work, he proved them all wrong. Now, he wants to motivate others to also follow their dreams.

Priscila Aparecida Ferreira Theodoro, Software Engineer at Centauro, a large sports goods retailer in Brazil. Her first contact with technology happened while working at an organization that teaches programming. At 38 years old, Priscila decided to completely change careers and learn how to code. She now teaches programming to women, mentors youths, and is involved in a podcast project for women developers.

Marcos Pablo, Co-founder & CTO at G4IT Solutions, a platform that helps companies to manage and automate the work schedules of off-site teams. It was his mother who encouraged him to enter the tech world when he was in high school. By the time he was 19 years old, he was already managing a small tech company.

Iago Silva Dos Santos, Co-founder & CEO of Trazfavela Delivery, a platform for deliveries to and from favelas. He wanted to help his community, including drivers, retailers and people who wanted easier access to goods. TrazFavela is one of the first companies to receive investment from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Brazil.

Tiago Santos, Founder & CEO of Husky, an app for Brazilian professionals to receive international payments. As a software developer working with international clients, Tiago had experienced first hand how difficult it was to get payments from abroad. With his friend Mauricio Carvalho he created the app so professionals can focus on their careers instead of wasting time with bureaucratic tasks.

Ronaldo Valentino da Cruz, Co-founder & CEO of Oktagon, a games studio that produces indie titles and games for clients. He learned how to program when he was 14 and started working with game development in 2002 at the Universidade Federal Tecnológica do Paraná. So far, the company has launched well-received mid-core titles and worked with publishers and clients all over the world.

Nohoa Arcanjo Allgayer, Co-founder & CMO of Creators.LLC, a network that connects creative talent with potential clients. For Nohoa, it was not an easy decision to quit her previous comfortable corporate job to set up this startup. Now she is proud of the risk she took, as it opened up a world of opportunity and endless learning. She took part in the Google for Startups Residency Program. Creators.LLC was one of the first startups to receive capital from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Brazil.

Samuel Matias, Software Engineer at iFood. He became a developer in 2015 and is very active in the Flutter community. He frequently shares his learnings through online articles and talks.

Aline Bezzoco, Founder & Developer of Ta tudo bem? - a suicide prevention app . She feels that the best thing about technology is being able to create solutions to help people. Her app aids those struggling with mental health problems to feel calmer, less anxious and ask for help.

Egio Arruda Junior, Co-founder & CEO of EasyCrédito, a platform that facilitates loans. The main focus is to help those who don’t even have bank accounts. Egio is passionate about innovation and is always looking to create something new. He took part in two Google for Startups programs - Residency and Accelerator.

Márcio Dos Santos, Co-founder & CTO at Facio, a platform that provides loans and financial education to employees in Brazil. Amongst his family and friends, there was no one who had completed a higher education degree. He decided to study Computer Science because he was a video game fan. At University, a professor selected him to do an internship in the United States. Currently based in Seattle, USA, Márcio likes to be approached for advice by those at the beginning of their careers.

Danielle Monteiro, Data Engineer & Founder of Dani.Academy, an educational platform with free and paid courses about data, architecture, NoSQL and infrastructure. She was the first member of her family to start and finish college. She has now won many awards in and outside Brazil, and is a Google for Startups Mentor. Dani is passionate about giving back to society by sharing her knowledge through her blog, lectures, courses and articles.

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These are just some of the stories that show that the tech world is not for a few but for everyone. Together we can create change and see more Black people finding opportunities in tech. Celebrate these stories by sharing the video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn.

What to expect in Series 2 of the Apps, Games & Insights podcast

Can apps become the key to education?


Interest in e-learning has been growing over the last few years but, with the emergence of distance learning, it’s poised to change all types of education. In the first episode, we talk with Elliott Rayner, Head Of Product Marketing, and John Quintana, Head of Guided Learning Experiences, from online language learning developer Babbel. Elliott and John discuss how Babbel is transforming and "thinking big" about the future of education: Can apps take the place of traditional classroom education? How can we make new models of language learning effective across various needs and learning styles? 


How do you get 250 million players to take action on climate change?


The recent Green Games Jam brought together 11 games studios to find  engaging ways to educate and empower 250 million players  to take action on climate change. Jennifer Estaris, Game Director at SYBO Games and Deborah Mensah-Bonsu, Founder of Games for Good and formerly from Space Ape Games, explain what the game jam is really about and how others can raise awareness to fight climate change through their businesses. They also share new approaches to climate change education led to planting trees, saving wolves and more. 


How do you create a successful 4x strategy game?


If you ever played one of those games where you build an empire, you’ve been playing a 4x strategy game. We hear from David Eckleberry, General Manager for Star Trek Fleet Command and Vice President at Scopely, about how they successfully built a loyal player base. Alongside Howard Chen, Google Play Growth Consultant, they shed light on how to create games that find and keep players, and discuss player affinity and KPI growth.


How do you reflect humanity’s diversity in an app?


Drops CEO and Co-Founder Daniel Farkas and Chief Customer Officer Drew Banks join us to explain how they work with native speakers and language experts to bring awareness and encourage people to learn a less spoken language. Daniel and Drew also discuss their initiatives to make the app more inclusive and accessible to all, such as by reviewing the depiction of women in graphics used to support word learning.


How do businesses build quality into an app?


Imagine the scenario: after downloading a great app or game, you  find that it’s not quite the great experience you were hoping for, or worse, it keeps misbehaving and crashing. For developers and  businesses, delivering a quality app is essential for both acquiring and retaining users. To explore how developers can ensure that users are getting the quality experiences they deserve, we’re joined by Maria Neumayer, Staff Software Engineer, at food delivery service Deliveroo, who talks about how Deliveroo has adapted during COVID-19, and Shobhit Chugh, Product Manager, Firebase, who discusses how businesses can rectify quality problems in testing and production.  


Why are your favorite games getting smaller these days?


Well ok, not necessarily smaller per se, but games are being taken to the small screen.. You’ve probably  noticed that many of your favorite PC and console games are now appearing on your mobile phone and tablet. Game developers want to give you the opportunity to stay engaged with your favorite game throughout the day, whether you’re on the move, or away from your computer or games console. However, going mobile can be challenging, so we speak to Jen Donahoe, Marketing and Growth Lead - Teamfight Tactics at Riot Games who enlightens us on how they develop mobile games and keep their players happy.


How do apps help people overcome failures to achieve life goals?


It can be a struggle to change habits, such as diet and exercise, with the goal of living a healthier life. Keeping people motivated through the ups and downs of lifestyle changes is a core challenge for health and fitness app developer Lifesum. Marcus Gners, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder at Lifesum, together with best-selling author of “Hooked” and “Indistractable,” Nir Eyal, explore the ways apps can help make sure people don’t fall off the wagon, and remain motivated to achieve their goals.


We don’t want to give the whole game away, so we are keeping the details of our final episode under wraps. Keep an eye out for more details shortly.


How to stay tuned in


Listen to the first episode of series 2 here. Subscribe to the podcast and listen to the latest episodes on your favorite podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple, Libsyn, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and Overcast.


Also, keep an eye out on @GooglePlayDev and @AndroidDev on Twitter where we will be announcing the launch of each new episode of the Apps, Games, & Insights podcast.


Funding Black founders fuels generational change

As part of a series of racial equity commitments made in June, we announced the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, a $5 million initiative to provide cash awards up to $100,000 to Black led startups in the US. These awards are non-dilutive, meaning that unlike most investments, founders are not giving up any ownership in their company in exchange for funding.  

Today, we’re announcing the 76 inspiring founderswho have been selected to receive awards from the Black Founders Fund. They’re building incredible startups solving tough problems such as helping Americans get out of debt, ensuring that towns have access to clean drinking water and making our healthcare system more accessible. We interviewed every recipient and asked them the same question: What happens when you fund Black founders? And despite varied backgrounds, missions and motivations, when we asked that question, we saw some clear themes emerge in their answers. 

When you fund Black founders, you:

  • Bring different perspectives to old and new challenges. Whether it's creating technology to form stronger bonds between teachers and parents or using data analytics to help small businesses thrive, Black founders approach big problems for their communities and our world in a way that no one else can. 

  • Level the playing field and build momentum for success. Black founders are consistently locked out of access to early capital that is critical to jump-starting their businesses. With better access to capital early in their journey, founders can make critical hires and prove traction, setting their business up for sustained success. “I can't tell you how many times I've seen other companies that had less traction than us raise more money at higher valuations,” Qoins's Nate Washington tells us, “because they had family or friends funding to get them started.” 

  • Fuel wealth generation and create equal access to economic opportunity.Founders, of course, want success for their businesses. But almost all of the recipients that we spoke with are building their startups in order to ultimately give back to their communities and to pave the way for the next generation of Black founders.

In the U.S., less than one percent of venture capital goes to Black founders. Racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity around the world, and that’s why we’ve also announced funding to support Black founders in Brazil and across Europe. We know that hands-on support and connections are necessary elements to any founder’s success. With these funds, we are also committing to growing a relationship that brings these founders the best of Google. 

Google Play’s billing system: Update

Listening carefully to developer and user feedback is integral to how we continue to make Android better with each release, and improve how the Play Store works. Since we posted a clarification to our Play Payments policy, we have heard some additional questions from the community in India. Below we wanted to address and clearly respond to the topics we’ve heard.  


First and foremost, we want to reiterate that we are deeply committed to the success of the Indian ecosystem -- we do not succeed unless our partners succeed. Being mindful of local needs and concerns, we’ve taken the following immediate steps: 


  • We are setting up listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply;

  • We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies;

  • And we’re also extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system, to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play -- for all apps that are yet to launch, or that currently use an alternative payment system, we set a timeline of 31st March 2022.


In addition, we’d like to provide more clarity on the three recurring topics we’ve heard from the Indian community: 

  • Whether this is a new policy and who it applies to;

  • The forms of payment the Google Play billing system supports;

  • Supporting choice of app stores on Android.


Last week we clarified the language in our Google Play Payments Policy in response to developer feedback that the policy language could be more clear regarding which types of transactions require the use of Google Play’s billing system. Our payments policy is not new -- it is our global business model and policy, and we have always required developers who distribute their apps on Play to use Google Play’s billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods. In fact more than 97% of developers with apps on Google Play already comply with the policy. 


To be clear, the policy only applies if a developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, which is less than 3% of developers with apps on Google Play. You can find more detail on our Payments Policy page and we’ve also posted a developer FAQ that answers many of the top developer questions. 


There has also been some confusion that Google Play billing is in itself a form of payment.  Google Play billing is a billing system that supports many ways for consumers to pay -- today Play’s billing supports more than 290 forms of payment globally. Over the last several years we have added more local forms of payment in India including credit and debit cards, netbanking, carrier billing, gift cards, and all supported UPI apps. And we will continue to engage with developers and consumers on adding additional forms of payment.  

 Google Play’s billing system is a payment platform that offers numerous payment options, on which UPI -- and all supported UPI apps -- are available, along with many other forms of payment including netbanking, credit and debit cards, carrier billing, and gift cards.


Note that Google Play’s billing system isn’t just about offering several forms of payment -- it helps ensure a great purchasing experience for Google Play users. It provides clear disclosures about price, what is being purchased, and key subscription information like when a charge will be incurred and whether a charge is recurring. It also includes post-purchase experiences including reminders about when free trials end, and is a one-stop shop for managing your subscription in Google Play including cancellations and refunds.


In short, our billing system provides a simple, safe way for consumers to transact -- and we have seen that this simplicity and safety is critical to growing developers’ businesses inside Google Play. 


Finally, we have always said developers should have a choice in how they distribute their apps, and that stores should compete for consumers’ and developers’ business. Android is open and choice is a core tenet of the operating system. It’s why users have always been able to get apps from multiple app stores and why they have always had control over which apps they use, be it their keyboard, messaging app, phone dialer, or app store. In fact, most Android devices ship with at least two app stores preinstalled, and consumers are able to install additional app stores.  


We consider it extremely important to understand the concerns across the ecosystem, and these listening sessions over the next several weeks will help us find comprehensive solutions that work for everyone. When a developer succeeds on the Play Store, we consider it our biggest win. At Google we have always had a long and deep commitment to India, and working alongside the startups and developers has given us a more meaningful understanding of how technology can be more helpful. And so we remain committed to engaging with the community, to listen and find the right ways to help the indian ecosystem grow and flourish.


Posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development, Games & Applications, Google Play


Answering your FAQs about Google Play billing

We are committed to providing powerful tools and services to help developers build and grow their businesses while ensuring a safe, secure and seamless experience for users. Today we are addressing some of the most common themes we hear in feedback from developers. Below are a few frequently asked developer questions that we thought would also be helpful to address.

Q: Can I distribute my app via other Android app stores or through my website?

A: Yes, you can distribute your app however you like! As an open ecosystem, most Android devices come preinstalled with more than one store - and users can install others. Android provides developers the freedom and flexibility to distribute apps through other Android app stores, directly via websites, or device preloads, all without using Google Play’s billing system.

Q: What apps need to use Google Play's billing system?

A: All apps distributed on Google Play that are offering in-app purchases of digital goods need to use Google Play’s billing system. Our payments policy has always required this. Less than 3% of developers with apps on Play sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of this 3%, the vast majority (nearly 97%) already use Google Play's billing. For those few developers that need to update their apps, they will have until September 30, 2021 to make those changes. New apps submitted after January 20, 2021 will need to be in compliance.

Q: Many businesses have needed to move their previously physical services online (e.g. digital live events). Will these apps need to use Google Play’s billing?

A: We recognize that the global pandemic has resulted in many businesses having to navigate the challenges of moving their physical business to digital and engaging customers in a new way, for example, moving in-person experiences and classes online. For the next 12 months, these businesses will not need to comply with our payments policy, and we will continue to reassess the situation over the next year. For developers undergoing these changes, we're eager to hear from you and work with you to help you reach new users and grow your online businesses, while enabling a consistent and safe user experience online.

Q: Do Google’s apps have to follow this policy too?

A: Yes. Google Play’s developer policies - including the requirement that apps use Google Play’s billing system for in-app purchases of digital goods - apply to all apps on Play, including Google’s own apps.

Q: Can I communicate with my users about alternate ways to pay?

A: Yes. Outside of your app you are free to communicate with them about alternative purchase options. You can use email marketing and other channels outside of the app to provide subscription offers and even special pricing.

Q: Can I communicate with my users about promotions on other platforms?

A: Of course. We're an app developer too, and we know how important it is not to restrict your ability to communicate with your users. You can email them or otherwise communicate outside of the app information about your offerings, even if they are different on Google Play than in other places.

Q: Can I have different app features, prices and experience depending on the platform?

A: Yes. It is your service and business, it is up to you. We do not require parity across platforms. You can create different versions of your app to support different platforms, features and pricing models.

Q: Can I offer a consumption-only (reader) app on Play?

A: Yes. Google Play allows any app to be consumption-only, even if it is part of a paid service. For example, a user could login when the app opens and the user could access content paid for somewhere else.

Q: Does your billing policy change depending on what category my app is in?

A: No. Business or consumer apps, and verticals like music or email are all treated the same on Google Play.

Q: Can I offer my customers refunds directly?

A: Yes. We understand the importance of maintaining the relationship with your customers. You can continue to issue refunds to your customers and other customer support directly.

Q: Will Google Play allow cloud gaming apps?

A: Yes. Cloud game streaming apps that comply with Play’s policies from any developer are welcome on Google Play.

For more examples and best practices for in-app purchases, visit this Play Academy course and watch this video.

Posted by Mrinalini Loew, Group Product Manager


Answering your FAQs about Google Play billing

We are committed to providing powerful tools and services to help developers build and grow their businesses while ensuring a safe, secure and seamless experience for users. Today we are addressing some of the most common themes we hear in feedback from developers. Below are a few frequently asked developer questions that we thought would also be helpful to address.

Q: Can I distribute my app via other Android app stores or through my website?

A: Yes, you can distribute your app however you like! As an open ecosystem, most Android devices come preinstalled with more than one store - and users can install others. Android provides developers the freedom and flexibility to distribute apps through other Android app stores, directly via websites, or device preloads, all without using Google Play’s billing system.

Q: What apps need to use Google Play's billing system?

A: All apps distributed on Google Play that are offering in-app purchases of digital goods need to use Google Play’s billing system. Our payments policy has always required this. Less than 3% of developers with apps on Play sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of this 3%, the vast majority (nearly 97%) already use Google Play's billing. For those few developers that need to update their apps, they will have until September 30, 2021 to make those changes. New apps submitted after January 20, 2021 will need to be in compliance.

Q: Many businesses have needed to move their previously physical services online (e.g. digital live events). Will these apps need to use Google Play’s billing?

A: We recognize that the global pandemic has resulted in many businesses having to navigate the challenges of moving their physical business to digital and engaging customers in a new way, for example, moving in-person experiences and classes online. For the next 12 months, these businesses will not need to comply with our payments policy, and we will continue to reassess the situation over the next year. For developers undergoing these changes, we're eager to hear from you and work with you to help you reach new users and grow your online businesses, while enabling a consistent and safe user experience online.

Q: Do Google’s apps have to follow this policy too?

A: Yes. Google Play’s developer policies - including the requirement that apps use Google Play’s billing system for in-app purchases of digital goods - apply to all apps on Play, including Google’s own apps.

Q: Can I communicate with my users about alternate ways to pay?

A: Yes. Outside of your app you are free to communicate with them about alternative purchase options. You can use email marketing and other channels outside of the app to provide subscription offers and even special pricing.

Q: Can I communicate with my users about promotions on other platforms?

A: Of course. We're an app developer too, and we know how important it is not to restrict your ability to communicate with your users. You can email them or otherwise communicate outside of the app information about your offerings, even if they are different on Google Play than in other places.

Q: Can I have different app features, prices and experience depending on the platform?

A: Yes. It is your service and business, it is up to you. We do not require parity across platforms. You can create different versions of your app to support different platforms, features and pricing models.

Q: Can I offer a consumption-only (reader) app on Play?

A: Yes. Google Play allows any app to be consumption-only, even if it is part of a paid service. For example, a user could login when the app opens and the user could access content paid for somewhere else.

Q: Does your billing policy change depending on what category my app is in?

A: No. Business or consumer apps, and verticals like music or email are all treated the same on Google Play.

Q: Can I offer my customers refunds directly?

A: Yes. We understand the importance of maintaining the relationship with your customers. You can continue to issue refunds to your customers and other customer support directly.

Q: Will Google Play allow cloud gaming apps?

A: Yes. Cloud game streaming apps that comply with Play’s policies from any developer are welcome on Google Play.

For more examples and best practices for in-app purchases, visit this Play Academy course and watch this video.

Posted by Mrinalini Loew, Group Product Manager


Listening to developer feedback to improve Google Play

Developers are our partners and by pairing their creativity and innovation with our platforms and tools, together we create delightful experiences for billions of people around the world. Listening carefully to their feedback is an important part of how we continue to make Android better with each release and improve how mobile app stores work. In an April 2019 blog post we shared some updates we made to Android APIs and Play Policies based on developer feedback. And today, we wanted to share some additional insights we’ve gained from developer feedback and how we’re taking that input to improve Google Play and Android. Some of the key themes we’ve heard include:

  • Supporting developers’ ability to choose how they distribute their apps through multiple app stores on different platforms (mobile, PC, and console), each with their own business model competing in a healthy marketplace;

  • Clarifying our policies regarding who needs to use Google Play’s billing system and who does not;

  • Ensuring equal treatment for all apps, including first-party and third-party apps, on our platforms;

  • Allowing developers to connect and communicate directly with their customers;

  • Enabling innovation and ensuring our policies embrace new technologies that can help drive the consumer experience forward.

We’d like to share our perspective on each of these points.

Choice of stores

We believe that developers should have a choice in how they distribute their apps and that stores should compete for the consumer’s and the developer’s business. Choice has always been a core tenet of Android, and it’s why consumers have always had control over which apps they use, be it their keyboard, messaging app, phone dialer, or app store.

Android has always allowed people to get apps from multiple app stores. In fact, most Android devices ship with at least two app stores preinstalled, and consumers are able to install additional app stores. Each store is able to decide its own business model and consumer features. This openness means that even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform. This is why Fortnite, for example, is available directly from Epic's store or from other app stores including Samsung's Galaxy App store.

That said, some developers have given us feedback on how we can make the user experience for installing another app store on their device even better. In response to that feedback, we will be making changes in Android 12 (next year’s Android release) to make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place. We are designing all this now and look forward to sharing more in the future!

Clarity on billing policies

As we mentioned, each Android app store is able to decide its own business model and consumer features. For Google Play, users expect a safe, secure and seamless experience, and developers come to Play for powerful tools and services that help them build and grow their businesses. Our developer policies are designed to help us deliver on these expectations and Google Play's billing system is a cornerstone of our ongoing commitment. Consumers get the benefit of a trusted system that allows them to safely, securely, and seamlessly buy from developers worldwide. Google protects consumers’ payment info with multiple layers of security, using one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures. For developers, Google Play’s billing system provides an easy way for billions of Android users to transact with them using their local, preferred method of payment.

We’ve always required developers who distribute their apps on Play to use Google Play’s billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods, and pay a service fee from a percentage of the purchase. To be clear, this policy is only applicable to less than 3% of developers with apps on Google Play. We only collect a service fee if the developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, and we think that is fair. Not only does this approach allow us to continuously reinvest in the platform, this business model aligns our success directly with the success of developers.

But we have heard feedback that our policy language could be more clear regarding which types of transactions require the use of Google Play’s billing system, and that the current language was causing confusion. We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system.

Again, this isn’t new. This has always been the intention of this long standing policy and this clarification will not affect the vast majority of developers with apps on Google Play. Less than 3% of developers with apps on Play sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of this 3%, the vast majority (nearly 97%) already use Google Play's billing. But for those who already have an app on Google Play that requires technical work to integrate our billing system, we do not want to unduly disrupt their roadmaps and are giving a year (until September 30, 2021) to complete any needed updates. And of course we will require Google’s apps that do not already use Google Play’s billing system to make the necessary updates as well.

Equal treatment

Our policies apply equally to all apps distributed on Google Play, including Google’s own apps. We use the same standards to decide which apps to promote on Google Play, whether they're third-party apps or our own apps. In fact, we regularly promote apps by Google’s competitors in our Editors Choice picks when they provide a great user experience. Similarly, our algorithms rank third-party apps and games using the same criteria as for ranking Google's own apps.

Communicating with customers

Developers have told us it is very important to be able to speak directly with their customers without significant restrictions. As app developers ourselves, we agree wholeheartedly and our policies have always allowed this.

That said, developers have asked whether they can communicate with their customers directly about pricing, offers, and alternative ways to pay beyond their app via email or other channels. To clarify, Google Play does not have any limitations here on this kind of communication outside of a developer’s app. For example, they might have an offering on another Android app store or through their website at a lower cost than on Google Play.

We understand the importance of maintaining the customer relationship. As such, we have also always allowed developers to issue refunds to their customers and provide other customer support directly.

Enabling innovation

Developers are coming up with cool things all the time. Using their feedback, we are always trying to adjust our approach to ensure that we continue to help enable new forms of innovation. For example, recent innovations in game streaming have generated new game experiences that are available on Google Play, including Microsoft’s recent launch of Xbox cloud gaming in the Xbox Game Pass Android app.

Keep the feedback coming

We really appreciate all the feedback we have received from our developer community and believe the Android ecosystem has never been a more exciting place to be.

It is exciting to see developers such as Duolingo, Truecaller, Hyperconnect, Any.do, and Viber be so successful and grow their business on Android and reach a diverse audience. These kinds of services delight consumers and we are thrilled to have built a platform that can support them.

We’ve also published some additional frequently asked developer questions here.

Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President, Product Management


Listening to developer feedback to improve Google Play

Developers are our partners and by pairing their creativity and innovation with our platforms and tools, together we create delightful experiences for billions of people around the world. Listening carefully to their feedback is an important part of how we continue to make Android better with each release and improve how mobile app stores work. In an April 2019 blog post we shared some updates we made to Android APIs and Play Policies based on developer feedback. And today, we wanted to share some additional insights we’ve gained from developer feedback and how we’re taking that input to improve Google Play and Android. Some of the key themes we’ve heard include:

  • Supporting developers’ ability to choose how they distribute their apps through multiple app stores on different platforms (mobile, PC, and console), each with their own business model competing in a healthy marketplace;

  • Clarifying our policies regarding who needs to use Google Play’s billing system and who does not;

  • Ensuring equal treatment for all apps, including first-party and third-party apps, on our platforms;

  • Allowing developers to connect and communicate directly with their customers;

  • Enabling innovation and ensuring our policies embrace new technologies that can help drive the consumer experience forward.

We’d like to share our perspective on each of these points.

Choice of stores

We believe that developers should have a choice in how they distribute their apps and that stores should compete for the consumer’s and the developer’s business. Choice has always been a core tenet of Android, and it’s why consumers have always had control over which apps they use, be it their keyboard, messaging app, phone dialer, or app store.

Android has always allowed people to get apps from multiple app stores. In fact, most Android devices ship with at least two app stores preinstalled, and consumers are able to install additional app stores. Each store is able to decide its own business model and consumer features. This openness means that even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform. This is why Fortnite, for example, is available directly from Epic's store or from other app stores including Samsung's Galaxy App store.

That said, some developers have given us feedback on how we can make the user experience for installing another app store on their device even better. In response to that feedback, we will be making changes in Android 12 (next year’s Android release) to make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place. We are designing all this now and look forward to sharing more in the future!

Clarity on billing policies

As we mentioned, each Android app store is able to decide its own business model and consumer features. For Google Play, users expect a safe, secure and seamless experience, and developers come to Play for powerful tools and services that help them build and grow their businesses. Our developer policies are designed to help us deliver on these expectations and Google Play's billing system is a cornerstone of our ongoing commitment. Consumers get the benefit of a trusted system that allows them to safely, securely, and seamlessly buy from developers worldwide. Google protects consumers’ payment info with multiple layers of security, using one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures. For developers, Google Play’s billing system provides an easy way for billions of Android users to transact with them using their local, preferred method of payment.

We’ve always required developers who distribute their apps on Play to use Google Play’s billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods, and pay a service fee from a percentage of the purchase. To be clear, this policy is only applicable to less than 3% of developers with apps on Google Play. We only collect a service fee if the developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, and we think that is fair. Not only does this approach allow us to continuously reinvest in the platform, this business model aligns our success directly with the success of developers.

But we have heard feedback that our policy language could be more clear regarding which types of transactions require the use of Google Play’s billing system, and that the current language was causing confusion. We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system.

Again, this isn’t new. This has always been the intention of this long standing policy and this clarification will not affect the vast majority of developers with apps on Google Play. Less than 3% of developers with apps on Play sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of this 3%, the vast majority (nearly 97%) already use Google Play's billing. But for those who already have an app on Google Play that requires technical work to integrate our billing system, we do not want to unduly disrupt their roadmaps and are giving a year (until September 30, 2021) to complete any needed updates. And of course we will require Google’s apps that do not already use Google Play’s billing system to make the necessary updates as well.

Equal treatment

Our policies apply equally to all apps distributed on Google Play, including Google’s own apps. We use the same standards to decide which apps to promote on Google Play, whether they're third-party apps or our own apps. In fact, we regularly promote apps by Google’s competitors in our Editors Choice picks when they provide a great user experience. Similarly, our algorithms rank third-party apps and games using the same criteria as for ranking Google's own apps.

Communicating with customers

Developers have told us it is very important to be able to speak directly with their customers without significant restrictions. As app developers ourselves, we agree wholeheartedly and our policies have always allowed this.

That said, developers have asked whether they can communicate with their customers directly about pricing, offers, and alternative ways to pay beyond their app via email or other channels. To clarify, Google Play does not have any limitations here on this kind of communication outside of a developer’s app. For example, they might have an offering on another Android app store or through their website at a lower cost than on Google Play.

We understand the importance of maintaining the customer relationship. As such, we have also always allowed developers to issue refunds to their customers and provide other customer support directly.

Enabling innovation

Developers are coming up with cool things all the time. Using their feedback, we are always trying to adjust our approach to ensure that we continue to help enable new forms of innovation. For example, recent innovations in game streaming have generated new game experiences that are available on Google Play, including Microsoft’s recent launch of Xbox cloud gaming in the Xbox Game Pass Android app.

Keep the feedback coming

We really appreciate all the feedback we have received from our developer community and believe the Android ecosystem has never been a more exciting place to be.

It is exciting to see developers such as Duolingo, Truecaller, Hyperconnect, Any.do, and Viber be so successful and grow their business on Android and reach a diverse audience. These kinds of services delight consumers and we are thrilled to have built a platform that can support them.

We’ve also published some additional frequently asked developer questions here.

Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President, Product Management


Understanding our Play gambling policies in India

Google Play is designed to provide a safe and secure experience for our consumers while also giving developers the platform and tools they need to build sustainable businesses. Our global policies have always been designed with that goal in mind, considering the good of all our stakeholders. 


We have the same goals for our gambling policy. We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. This includes if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of our policies. 


We have these policies to protect users from potential harm. When an app violates these policies, we notify the developer of the violation and remove the app from Google Play until the developer brings the app into compliance. And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently.


We actively engage with our developer community for feedback while we define and refine our policies. Together, we will continue to create a safe and secure mobile app ecosystem for everyone. For more details on our policies, please take a look at our policy page which provides more details on the types of content in which regions are permitted.


Posted by Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy