Google has announced the launch of a pilot program that is aimed at testing support for third-party billing systems for the company’s Android ecosystem. The pilot program called ‘User Choice Billing’ will enable users to pay for their in-app purchases not just via the Play Store but also via the third-party payment gateways. Also Read - Apex Legends Mobile now available on Google Play Store, Apple App Store
As a part of the pilot program, Google is partnering with Spotify to offer a third-party billing option alongside Play Store’s own billing option in the Spotify app. “As one of the world’s largest subscription developers with a global footprint and integrations across a wide range of device form factors, they’re a natural first partner,” Google wrote in a blog post. Also Read - Spotify is testing NFTs for select artists on the platform: How it works
“This pilot will help us to increase our understanding of whether and how user choice billing works for users in different countries and for developers of different sizes and categories,” the company added. Also Read - JioPhone Next gets a major discount, available for Rs 4,499 on exchange
Talking about the development Spotify said that users who have downloaded Spotify from the Google Play Store will now be presented with a choice to pay with either Spotify’s payment system or with Google Play Billing. “For the first time, these two options will live side by side in the app. This will give everyone the freedom to subscribe and make purchases using the payment option of their choice directly in the Spotify app,” the music streaming giant wrote in a post.
The company said that it will work with Google’s product and engineering teams to build this new functionality and that it will be available to users around the world later this year.
Interestingly, the development comes as Google is facing intense scrutiny over its billing system. To recall, the company back in 2020 had announced that it would require all apps in the Play Store to use its own payments platform. After facing an intense pushback from developers, the company delayed the implementation of this policy to March 31, 2022. However, it is unlikely that Google will implement this policy as it gears to offer third-party payment options to users, even if it is one developer at a time.
It is worth noting that the partnership is a major victory for Spotify that has advocated freedom of choice and fair competition as Apple and Google moved to implement rules to bar developers from offering third-party payment options within their apps. The company is a part of a coalition called ‘The Coalition for App Fairness’, which also includes Epic Games, Deezer, Tile and Match Group among others. This coalition has been lobbying to create a level playing field for app businesses and give people freedom of choice on their devices in markets across the globe.