google announced on Wednesday (23) the launch of a pilot program that will allow participants to offer their own billing systems for in-app purchases available on the Play Store. The novelty allows users to choose between the technology of the official Android store and the tool provided by the developer.
According to the Mountain View company, the tests will be carried out by a “small number of developers”. The first app to offer its own surcharge system in addition to the Play Store engine is Spotify.
“This pilot will help us better understand whether and how user choice billing works for users in different countries and for developers of different sizes and categories,” explains Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management. The test comes amid mounting criticism from lawmakers over fees charged on the platform.
The novelty gives the user more options for payment methods to, for example, purchase items in games or purchase subscriptions to streaming services. The pilot follows the same payment flexibility in the Play Store in South Korea that was implemented at the end of 2021, following the adoption of local legislation.
Chosen to begin testing with third-party billing systems on the Play Store, Spotify said the change will “give everyone the freedom to sign up and make purchases using the payment option of their choice, right within the app.” The alternative method will be available in all markets where music streaming is active.
However, the pilot is expected to launch in only a few select markets and may be expanded based on user feedback. The companies have not said which regions will receive the feature first, nor have they disclosed an exact date for the start of the tests.
What is also not clear is the number of developers who will be able to use their own charging systems in Android apps in this first phase of the project. The names of the other pilots have not been released by google.