Love ‘em or hate ‘em, in-app purchases continue to grow as a means of monetization in today’s app economy. Whereas paid and ad-supported models reigned in the past, developers increasingly are turning to so-called “freemium” software in order to provide a best-of-both-worlds solution. As an update to the Google Play app for Android did last December, the web version of the Android app marketplace has been tweaked to now make it easy for users to find out if an app contains in-app purchases.
While developers for the most part keep in-app purchases as an optional aspect of an app or game — the full experience is typically available but enhanced with add-ons or unlockables at an extra cost — it’s nice to know what you are getting into ahead of time. For parents who often allow their children to play on a smartphone or tablet connected to mommy or daddy’s credit card, knowing which apps could potentially lead to a little one amassing thousands of dollars worth of unwanted charges is no doubt a welcomed addition.
We have no problems with the freemium model as long as it is clear when in-app purchases become a factor in the app experience. The latest moves by Google make sure that info is brought to the forefront. Next time you are downloading an app, pay attention to the text located underneath the install button on the Play Store’s web interface. You will know right away what to expect.