We’re knee-deep in Google’s I/O developer conference, and the company has announced some odd changes for the Play Store. Some of these changes focus on security, while others simply help app developers eke more money out of customers.
First, Google has set a June 20th deadline for developers to update their app’s Data Safety section. This new section appears in Google Play Store listings and explains which permissions an app will request from your device, along with other security info. And although the Data Safety section went live in April (and was announced last year), many developers have neglected it—hence the deadline.
Google is also encouraging developers to use the new Play Integrity API, which detects “fraudulent and risky interactions” from your device. For better or worse, these “fraudulent” interactions include device modifications and sideloaded app installations. Clearly, the Play Integrity API could reduce app piracy, but it could also have an impact on Android power users or those who enjoy custom ROMs.
And then there are the changes to Android’s payment system. Developers can now charge as little as five cents for apps, in-game content, and subscriptions (the minimum was previously $0.26). Google says that this change should help developers sell content in global markets, which makes sense. But the company also suggests that customers could tip app developers for their work—I guess a five-cent tip is better than nothing.
Additionally, developers can now offer pre-paid app subscriptions that expire after a set amount of time. And if your card is declined when an app charges you for a subscription, that app can now ask you to update your payment method using Android’s in-app messaging system.
The Google I/O 2022 conference runs through May 12th. You can watch the ongoing event live at the company’s website.