Google Play Developer Program Policy Updated To Require Use of In-App Billing Service

Google has this weekend shot off an email to developers that publish their apps through the company's Play Store, detailing a number of changes to the service's program policies. Listed changes take effect immediately, and must be adhered to if an app is released or updated after this point (older, no-longer-updated apps seem fine to remain as they are). Failure to adhere to these policies, not surprisingly, can risk your app being removed from the Play Store.

At the forefront, Google is now requiring all developers to use the company's own billing system when selling in-app goods. We'd imagine that this is for security's sake, since it keeps user financial data confined to one source rather than several. Exceptions are when physical goods are purchased through an app, or content that can be accessed outside of the app (such as music, movies, et cetera).

Another significant change to the policy has to do with ads. In effect, developers can only display an ad inside of their app - ads in the notification bar and elsewhere around the OS is prohibited. It's also prohibited that developers force users to click an ad in order to proceed on with the app functionality.

This raises some serious questions about apps that don't even have a user interface, or simply run in the background. A music player is one example, a launcher is another. What could result from this is less free versions and more paid versions (which is actually fine by me if it gets rid of ads).

Other changes to the policy can be gleaned at the URL below. All in all, these are good changes for the consumer, but definitely questionable on the developer front.