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Google Play improves privacy, payments, and subscriptions 

Google is introducing several new features that will help game and app developers to engage and grow their audience while further improving privacy and security.

At this year’s Google I/O conference, the Google Play team is focusing on new initiatives to create an even safer app ecosystem for users and developers alike while also adding new tools for developers. These include new custom store listing options, increased flexibility in pricing models for in-app subscriptions, and more. The Google Play team outlined these new initiatives during its What’s New in Google Play session at Google I/O 2022.

What's new in Google Play

Privacy and security

The Google Play SDK Console for developers is getting a new Google Play SDK Index to help developers figure out which app permissions are required by the most widely used commercial Software Development Kits (SDK).

The new index will feature over 100 commonly used SDKs used for things like integration with social networks and advertising services. Safety signals will let developers make an informed decision about whether using a given SDK is suitable for their business.

Google is also enhancing the methods by which apps are signed to ensure that they can be trusted. A new Play Integrity API protects users and developers by helping games and apps detect fraudulent and risky behavior.

Custom store listings

Developers will now be able to create up to 50 custom store listings that can be shown to different audiences based on how and where they’re accessing the Play Store. These custom listings can be displayed based on the visitor’s country or region or the marketing channel or link that a potential customer uses to access the app’s page on the Play Store.

For example, a developer of a recipe-finder app could run targeted search ad campaigns for Halloween, Diwali, or other fall celebrations, each of which could deep-link to a custom store listing to highlight seasonal recipes directly related to the ad the user viewed.

Along similar lines, Google is relaesing its LiveOps feature as a beta for all developers. This will allow developers to submit content such as limited-time offers, events, and major updates for their app or game to be considered for featuring on the Play Store. Google says that LiveOps drives 5% more 28-day active users and 4% higher revenue for developers using the feature.

Improved payment and subscription options

The Play Store is letting developers drop prices even lower, with new ultra-low price points that allow apps and games to be sold for as little as $0.05 — or the equivalent in any other market. This will allow for locally relevant sales and promotions, as well as support for microtransactions such as tipping.

Google has also expanded its payments library for Play Commerce to include over 300 local payment methods in 70 countries, including eWallet payment methods such as MerPay in Japan, KCP in Korea, and Mercado Pago in Mexico.

Customers will also soon enjoy more flexible subscription options in their favorite apps and games. Google notes that it’s reimagined the entire developer experience for managing subscriptions, allowing apps to offer multiple base plans and offers per subscription. More importantly, developers will finally be able to update their subscription pricing to new customers without affecting existing subscribers. This means developers can now increase prices without penalizing their most loyal customers.

Developers can now offer prepaid plans in place of subscriptions, allowing their customers to have access for a fixed amount of time without worrying about being blindsided by automatic renewals. Much like a prepaid phone plan, customers will be able to purchase top-ups at any time, either directly in the app or on the app’s subscription screen in the Play Store.

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