Looking to streamline the Google Play payment process, Google this week expanded payment options to include PayPal and more carrier billing in a multitude of countries.
The company in a blog post said it has added PayPal as a payment mechanism in 12 countries, including the U.S., Germany, and Canada. Buyers can find PayPal as an option in Google Wallet for purchasing apps or digital goods, but PayPal can't be used to buy devices or accessories in the store. Also, carrier billing, which lets users charge purchases directly to their phone bills, has been expanded to 24 countries, including Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan. Meanwhile, Google Play gift cards are now available in 13 countries, including Japan and Germany.
Google Play previously was called Android Market and specializes in offering Android apps along with music and devices. In expanding payment options, Google said that during the past year, sales of apps and games have increased more than 300 percent, with two-thirds of purchases happening outside the United States. The company wants to "fuel this momentum" by making payment easier, said Ibrahim Elbouchikhi, Google Play product manager.
Google's payment moves make sense: They help remove friction from the sales process internationally, said Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group.
"One of the easiest ways to [reduce friction] is to open up payment alternatives so that customers can use payment methods that they are used to," Peterson said. "PayPal has been a standard cross-border payment method for quite some time, and over half their revenue is generated offshore."
Developers in 13 additional countries, including newcomers Indonesia, Malaysia, and Turkey, also now can sell apps on Google Play. All told, developers in 45 countries are supported on the app store. Buyer currency support has been increased to include 28 new countries, bringing the total to 60.
Despite sales momentum cited by the company, Google Play continues to have issues with scam apps such as fake anti-virus programs. Security researchers recently have found these apps in both the Google Play and Windows Phone stores. The store previously has been found to have scam apps, even as Symantec informs Google when these are found. In Google's own published malware-protection policy, the company uses a database of known malware to determine whether apps are harmful. The company may then warn users about unsafe apps or even block installation.
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