Google Rolls Out User Choice Billing Pilot In India

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All non-gaming developers can sign up to participate in the pilot and offer choice billing to users from Friday (September 2)

The tech giant allows participants to offer users an alternative billing system along with Play’s billing process

Google’s move comes as the CCI is looking into the company for charging commissions from different apps

Google is launching the next phase of its user choice billing pilot project, with India being among the markets where users can avail of the service. Along with India, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and the European Economic Area are getting the service, the tech giant said on Friday (September 2).

From Friday onwards, all non-gaming developers can sign up to participate in the pilot and offer choice billing to users in the aforementioned markets.

According to Google, the user choice billing pilot is being launched to “gain insights on user choice billing from developers and consumers in different countries to ensure we can maintain a positive user experience with alternative billing systems.”

With the next phase of Google Play’s user choice billing pilot, all non-gaming developers can offer an additional billing choice alongside Play’s billing system for their users in the selected regions. The participants in the pilot would also be incentivised, per a Google blog.

“For participants in this pilot, service fees, which support our investments in Play and Android, will continue to apply. Developers must pay Google the applicable service fees. When a consumer chooses to use an alternative billing system, the service fee the developer pays will be reduced by 4%,” the tech major said in a blog post.

The US-based company also added that it is the first and only major app store to pilot user choice billing. “No other major app store, whether on mobile, desktop, or game consoles, has taken similar steps toward providing more payment choice and opportunities for developers, users and the entire internet ecosystem,” it said.

The user choice billing pilot was announced first earlier this year to explore the feature in apps on Google Play. The tech giant allowed participants to offer users an alternative billing system along with Play’s billing system, hence giving them a choice. 

Google also added that it will charge a ‘reasonable’ service fee to support its investments in Android and Play.

It is prudent to mention here that in 2020, Google enforced a 30% commission for all Play Store transactions, which was deemed anti-competition by many countries, including India. 

The tech major’s move comes as the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into the company for charging commissions from apps. Back in April, Google was also caught by the CCI blocking rival payment options in Google Play’s billing process.

A CCI panel is set to hear Google’s case soon. It will look at the relevant findings of the case, which alleged that Google favoured its own app store over its competitors.

Several major internet companies, including international companies Meta and Amazon and local companies Swiggy, Flipkart and Zomato, have come under scrutiny from the CCI for their anti-competitive practices.

Amazon and Flipkart have witnessed raids on the premises of their biggest sellers. The US-based ecommerce major also had to end its partnership with the parent company of Cloudtail, its biggest seller. On the other hand, Swiggy and Zomato are under CCI probe for predatory pricing and deep discounting on their platforms.



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