Obviously unhappy with Android Market’s lack of in-app purchases, Google announced Thursday that they will launch an in-app billing function for developers to incorporate in their apps. For now, they are giving developers the ability to test the feature along with the application– but uploads cannot be published until next week. Google has released a developer documentation with information on how to get around the products list. The plan for Android in-app purchases was first announced by Google at the Inside Mobile Conference in San Francisco back in January.
“You can now upload your apps to the Developer Console, create a catalog of in-app products, and set prices for them,” Eric Chu with the Android developer ecosystem said in a blog post. “You can then set up accounts to test in-app purchases. During these test transactions, the In-app Billing service interacts with your app exactly as it will for actual users and live transactions.”
Since in-app purchases involve finances, it is important that the process is secure. Apple consumers, for example, have been billed so much for in-app purchases that they weren’t aware of, or were done by their children. Eventually, the Congress had to interfere and asked the Federal Trade Commission to address to the issue. The latter decided that there should be a password requirement prior to the purchases. The Congress is happy about it the outcome. The App Store has been running in-app billing since October 2009, as well as BlackBerry App World since 2010.
“I am pleased that Apple has added new, clearer control settings and restrictions . . . it is important that consumers are protected and mobile devices don’t become a 21st century wallet in the hands of children who may not know any better.”
In-app payments are getting more and more popular these days as devices and operating systems want to interrupt as little as possible to customers’ user experience. RIMM recently signed a deal with 7digital Music Store for iTunes to have them install their services on the BlackBerry PlayBook with in-app purchases via Telefonica– for the US and Canada launch. Even Starbucks has gotten into mobile payments, and has drawn 3 million participating customers so far. Dubbed as Starbucks Card Mobile –for iPhone and Blackberry application –the mobile payment system stretches throughout 7,000 Starbucks Outlets in the US.