Google Play In-app Billing Adds 'Subscriptions', Introduces HTTP-based Publisher API

Google annoounced of adding subscriptions to In-app Billing -- Starting today, developers can use In-app Billing to sell monthly or annual subscriptions from inside of their apps. "All subscriptions are auto-renewing, for every app and game and every type of subscription product. Developers just set the price and billing interval and Google Play manages the […]

Google annoounced of adding subscriptions to In-app Billing -- Starting today, developers can use In-app Billing to sell monthly or annual subscriptions from inside of their apps. "All subscriptions are auto-renewing, for every app and game and every type of subscription product. Developers just set the price and billing interval and Google Play manages the purchase transactions for them, just as it does for other in-app products and app purchases," posted Ibrahim Elbouchikhi, Product Manager on the Google Play.

"Since the launch, In-app Billing has been extremely successful in helping developers monetize their apps through try-and-buy, virtual goods, upgrades, and other popular business models. Today, 23 of the 24 top-grossing apps in Google Play use In-app Billing, and the total revenue generated from in-app purchases exceeds revenue from traditional app purchases."

"For users, Google Play highlights subscription details such as price and billing interval before continuing with purchases. After the transaction, Google Play manages recurring billing and keeps users informed of new charges, sending them an email with each renewal," posted Elbouchikhi.

At any time, users can visit My Apps in the Play Store app to view their subscriptions and cancel any subscription as needed.

Google Play In-app Billing Adds Subscriptions

"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," writes Elbouchikhi.

If you're a developer, you can get started with subscriptions right away by reading the In-app Billing documentation and downloading the updated sample app. If you are already using in-app billing, you'll find that adding support for subscriptions is straightforward and involves only minor changes to your code.

Google also introduces an HTTP-based publisher API through which enterprise-scale backend servers can validate or cancel subscriptions. "Using this API, for example, developers can extend access from their Android apps to their web properties, based on subscriptions that are purchased on Google Play," Elbouchikhi said.