While still not a whole lot is known about what Google plans to do with the Android Market backend when it undergoes maintenance downtime tomorrow, but a few interesting leads of come out way that might suggest what we can expect. It may be that the maintenance will only be preparatory and won’t coincide with the actual release of any new features, but from what has been gathered it looks like the tweaks relate to the improved web version of the Android Market shown off way back when and the more recent rumblings of PayPal support coming for app purchases.
Developer Luck has been doing some digging and found some interesting tidbits that might point towards a overhauled payment system. A page has shown up asking developers to pair up their AdSense accounts to handle revenues even if their apps don’t use any ads within them. A help page points to this as a temporary solution, hinting that new payment methods are on the way:
“Google Checkout is temporarily requiring developers to link to an AdSense account to receive payments. Our team is working towards adding additional payment functionality in the coming months, at which time the AdSense account may become unnecessary.”
PayPal may not be part of what is initially going down on Thursday, but “additional payment functionality” smells a lot like first-party support of the payment service.
In addition to improved payment methods, some of our own digging uncovered new backend improvements including a requirement that developers submit a higher res (512×512) application icon (presumably for blown up display in a desktop browser) and can additionally add a link to a YouTube promo video or 1024×500 feature graphic. If these features don’t sound like they are meant for an in-depth browser-based Market that I don’t know what is.
Like I said, it could be that we don’t see the immediate effects of any changes until the announcement of Gingerbread, but that shouldn’t be too far off. The timing seems too perfect for the matters to be unrelated.