Google Play updates policies

28 August 2013

Google has updated the policies for its digital application distribution platform Google Play in order to regulate certain apps, payments with apps and advertising.

According to the Gadgets news website, Google sent an email to developers to outline the new policies.

Google has also revised its hate speech policy to provide more comprehensive coverage, while recognising Google Play as a platform for free expression.

The internet company has additionally clarified that the gambling policy extends to all games that offer cash or other prizes. All virtual goods and currency within games are subject to the payment processor policy, while incentives should not be provided for users to rate apps.

The most significant change is perhaps mandating the use of Google Play’s in-app billing service as the method of payment for games with virtual goods or currencies. For other apps with additional content, services or functionality, Google Play’s in-app service is also mandatory – except in games were payment is for physical goods and services, or for digital content and goods that can be consumed outside the app.

The move means offering virtual currency or coins through in-app payment is only available through the Google Play in-app billing service, and not other third-party payment providers such as PayPal.

Google has also added what it classified as “games of skill that offer prizes of cash or other value” under the gambling clause in order to prevent games that offer real money from being made available on the Play Store.