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Google tightens up Android’s in-app purchase process

google tightens app store guidelines protect users android bot
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You may well be worried about your kids running up large bills through in-app purchases, and Google and Apple are worried too: after being sued by a mother in New York whose child spent $65.95 on Marvel Run Jump Smash!, Google is now adding a new security level to Android’s app store.

As it stands, purchasing a new game or app on Android requires the account password. There’s then a 30 minute window during which time other apps and in-app purchases can be made without entering the password again, which is how Ilana Imber-Gluck’s young son was able to get his hands on so many crystals.

This option will remain for those who have no kids and don’t want the hassle of entering their password again and again — you can even turn it off altogether — but Google is now rolling out an additional setting that prompts for a password every time an in-app purchase is made, and it’s this setting that moms and dads will be able to take advantage of.

The new option can be found in the settings page for the Play Store app, as Android Police reports. It’s not the only change that Google has made either — the company has also tweaked Google Play to make it more obvious which titles have in-app purchases available.

It’s an issue that continues to be a thorn in the sides of Google and Apple, who were both recently summoned before the European Commission to discuss the implications of freemium games and in-app purchases. You may remember that back in January Apple was ordered to pay out $32.5 million to cover the cost of unwanted in-app purchases made by kids, even though there is an option to disable the feature in iOS.

[Image courtesy of JD Hancock / Flickr]

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