As the start of Android 11 approaches, Google has begun testing an important innovation in the Play Store without much fuss – if the feature becomes widespread, subscriptions to individual apps will also be available for purchase directly from the app store interface.
It embeds the third version of the Android Billing Library, announced by Google a few weeks ago. With this solution, you don't have to install the app first to subscribe to subscriptions or the free trial periods that precede them, and then flick through its often annoying pop-up recommendations – both installation and subscription can be disrupted at the touch of a button. Accordingly, in addition to the traditional “install” page for that app, a “install and start trial” button will also appear. At the same time, application descriptions are expanded with subscription details, such as the length of the free trial period and the pricing and exact content of the post-paid period.
The solution can be useful for both developers and users: they can make it more convenient to subscribe to subscriptions and trial periods, resulting in fewer customers dropping out in the middle of the process. In the meantime, users will be able to see before installation which apps require a subscription to use the full range of features and what content they offer – and the pricing of similar services is easier to compare.
Users can keep track of their active subscriptions in the usual way, in the Play Store Subscriptions menu, or resume previously canceled subscriptions.
The company is also refining the operation of promotional codes, free of charge after redeeming each code. After these periods, developers can automatically launch paid versions of their services, unless the user has otherwise specified before the end of the trial period. To avoid unexpected bills, Google also alerts users via email when the free trial period for one of their services is coming to an end, or when a separate pop-up message reminds them to cancel the associated subscription.
Features are currently being tested. and are only available on a limited basis, Google is expected to expand them in several steps in the coming months.
Gellert is Technology Editor at Counting News Media and contributor at other major tech publications. Her interests includes testing new gadgets and reading.