Google to stop calling games with in-app purchases ‘free’

Google assured the European Union that it will no longer list games with in-app purchases as “free” on the Google Play Store, by the end of September. Google’s new policy comes after a flurry of lawsuits and complaints from irate customers and parents over expensive in-app purchases.

On Friday, the EU issued a report, detailing all the rules it would like app developers and app stores to follow, in regard to in-app purchases. The guide, which was sent to Apple and Google, recommends the following policies:

  • Games advertised as “free” should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved.
  • Games should not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them.
  • Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements for purchases and should not be debited through default settings without consumers’ explicit consent.
  • Traders should provide an email address so that consumers can contact them in case of queries or complaints.

Google promptly agreed to stop listing games with in-app purchases as free in the Play Store and said that verification will be required for every purchase. The company did not specify whether the new policy applied to all countries where the Play Store is available, or only in European Union countries.

Meanwhile, the EU accused Apple of dilly dallying on updating its in-app purchase policy.

“Regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorization,” the organization said in a statement. “Apple has proposed to address those concerns. However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes.”

Apple defended itself in a statement made to the BBC, where it claimed that it’s doing “more than others” to rectify its wrongs when it comes to in-app purchases.

“These controls go far beyond the features of others in the industry,” a spokesman told the BBC. “But we are always working to strengthen the protections we have in place, and we’re adding great new features with iOS 8, such as Ask to Buy, giving parents even more control over what their kids can buy on the App Store.”

Apple did not offer any specifics about its new policies, nor did it say that it will stop listing games with in-app purchases as free in the App Store. In January, Apple introduced a way to turn off in-app purchases for iOS 7 users.

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Product Review

Hotter than a Dot? Google's Home Mini outsmarts, doesn't outperform Amazon rival

With voice match and improved artificial intelligence capabilities, the $49 Google Home Mini is a voice assistant that seamlessly puts the Google platform on the tip of your tongue.
Home Theater

Need more contrast in your life? Here’s what you need to know about HDR TVs

So what is HDR TV? In a nutshell, it’s the best thing to happen to TV since the arrival of 4K. Here's everything you need to know about the technology, what it can do, and why it’s a must-have.
Mobile

Google Pixel 3 vs. Apple iPhone XS: Does Google’s A.I. take down Apple?

The Google Pixel 3 is here, boasting top-tier specs like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM, and some of the world's best artificial intelligence features on a phone. But can it take out the Apple iPhone XS?
Mobile

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Product Review

The Huawei Watch GT’s battery life gets a tick, but the software may not tock

Huawei’s track record with smartwatches is strong, having releases two models and several spin-offs to general acclaim. This is the Watch GT, and it moves away from Google’s Wear OS to focus on fitness, yet stays ahead of the…
Mobile

Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon offers lots of plans for individuals, your family, and folks who want prepaid service. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's plans, from data packages and smartphones to Big Red's prepaid plans.
Product Review

If Huawei sells the Mate 20 Pro in the U.S., Samsung needs to watch its back

Huawei knocked it out of the park with the P20 Pro earlier this year, and it’s looking to do the same again with the Mate 20 Pro. The Mate series has traditionally been sold in the U.S., so will Americans finally be able to get a taste?
Product Review

You’d be crazy to dismiss the Huawei Mate 20 as an amateur

Traditionally, Huawei’s Mate series of phones has been a little staid. That started to change with the Mate 10 Pro, and now both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro have come along to turn our heads. Here’s a look at the standard Mate 20.
Mobile

Mate 20 range now includes new 20 X model with huge 7.2-inch display

Huawei has released the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X. With all new Kirin processors, advanced A.I. brains, and an amazing triple camera, here's absolutely everything you need to know about the new Mate 20 series.
Mobile

Safeguard your new Apple smartphone with one of our favorite iPhone XS cases

If the iPhone XS is your next phone, then you’ll want to shop for some proper protection now. That glass sandwich design is all too easy to scratch or crack, so make sure you snag one of the best iPhone XS cases to keep it looking good.
Mobile

Here are our favorite wireless phone chargers for Android devices and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Mobile

Google will start charging Android manufacturers to use its apps in Europe

Google announced that it will be charging Android device manufacturers in Europe a licensing fee to use its apps and services. The announcement comes as an effort to comply with new European Commission regulations.