Product Engineering // Blog

Google Play Launches In-App Subscriptions

Google is making it easier for Android app developers to monetize their products and for consumers to automate their purchases. Last week, the company announced the launch of in-app subscriptions on Google Play, more than a year after introducing in-app billing to Android.

Google Play’s in-app billing system allows users to buy something within an app instead of having to exit the app to finish the purchase. The system has been a success, with 23 of the 24 top-grossing apps in Google Play offering in-app billing. According to Google, in-app billing generates more revenue than traditional app purchases.

Now, with in-app subscriptions, users can opt into monthly or yearly recurring payments to renew the content they want to receive without having to complete the transaction manually over and over. All subscriptions to apps, games and other products are auto-renewing, and Android app developers only have to set the price and billing interval, then Google Play manages the purchase transactions for them.

Ibrahim Elbouchikhi, product manager on the Google Play team, wrote in a blog post:

For users, Google Play provides a familiar and convenient purchase experience, highlighting subscription details such as price and billing interval before continuing with purchases… At any time, users can visit My Apps in the Play Store app to view their subscriptions and cancel any subscription as needed.

While making it easy for developers to offer a great purchasing experience, our subscriptions are also designed for flexibility. Developers can use them to monetize premium dynamic content such as journals and magazines, but they can also use them to sell access to bundled products, game levels, music and video content, value-added services, or any other digital content.

Google is also introducing an HTTP-based publisher API that will allow Android app developers to expand their subscriptions beyond Android devices and across “multiple properties, services or campaigns.” This would allow users to pay for a subscription to an app through Google Play, then access the same content on their computer’s web browser.

android developers rejoice as in-app subscriptions come to Android

Highlights of In-App Subscriptions:

  • Subscriptions let developers sell products with automated, recurring billing, either monthly or annually
  • Developers can sell multiple subscription items in an app with different billing intervals or prices
  • Users are able to purchase subscriptions from inside apps instead of directly from Google Play
  • Users manage their subscriptions from the My Apps screen in the Play Store app
  • If a user cancels a subscription, Google Play keeps the subscription valid until the end of the current billing cycle and does not grant a refund

Learn about Applico’s award-winning Android app development, and tell us about your next project.

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