What you need to know
- Google mandates that Android apps use Play Billing for in-app purchases.
- The deadline to adhere to Google's policy was March 31, following a six-month extension.
- Audible and the Barnes & Noble Nook app made last-minute changes to remove in-app purchasing options.
The deadline for Google's Play Billing mandate has recently passed, and two apps have made last-minute changes that fans may not be too happy with. Both Audible and Barnes & Noble have removed in-app purchases in the latest updates issued over the past couple of days as a response to Google's policy.
The changes were spotted by The Verge, with some of the best e-book and audiobook apps outlining the recent changes made to the respective apps. An Audible support page includes a notice informing users that they can no longer make in-app purchases with credit and debit cards as of April 2 with version 3.23 of the app:
"As of April 02, 2022, you may notice some changes to the Audible for Google Play Android app. Most of the features you love about the Audible app will remain the same, but you can see what's changing below, and as always please contact us if you have questions."
"Audible has integrated the core features you love and expect. You can still sign up in the app. And we know that credit redemption is a primary way that customers use Audible, so you can still purchase credits and redeem them for audio titles."
The notice also includes a comparison between the Android app versions, so users can easily discern the differences with the new version.
On Monday, Barnes & Noble also issued a statement about an update to the Nook app. It notes that with Software Version 6.1, "the ability to purchase has been removed from the Barnes & Noble NOOK App for Android and the NOOK HD 10" Designed with Lenovo."
Barnes & Noble says customers can get around this by purchasing content from its website, which will sync to the app. Users can also access their wishlist from the website as well to make purchasing easier. However, once you download the update, in-app purchases will no longer be available (you can apparently avoid this by not updating the app).
Google initially had a September 30 deadline for apps to comply with the Play Billing policy, meaning in-app transactions had to go through Google's billing system. However, plenty of apps still relied on their own billing, and Google gave developers the option of an extension to comply with the policy. That extension lasted until March 31.
While the policy has come under scrutiny from regulators, Google has recently shown that it's willing to work things out with developers, at least somewhat. Google announced that it's working with Spotify to test Choice Billing, which would allow customers to choose their preferred billing system. However, details of the program are fairly scarce as the companies build it out, and Spotify appears to be the only partner thus far.
The program lets developers offer their own billing system as long as Play Billing is included, and Google previously told Android Central that developers will still incur the same service fee. That said, it's unclear how exactly this might benefit developers since the service fee was one of the biggest complaints, but we'll learn more when the program launches later this year. For now, Audible and Nook users will have to use a roundabout way to make purchases.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.