I love developing apps for Android. All the tech bloggers can say whatever they want, I’ve found it much easier to create an app for Android than I did during my brief tenure learning iOS development. However, nothing is perfect in life, and for the past few weeks I’ve been having a major complaint against Google, and their developer relations team and just about everyone involved with the Play store.
But before I get into my rant, I want to open up the comments to all developers who’ve been exasperated by anything for a long, long time. Maybe we get some good insight from others as to why things are the way they are, and if nothing else, the tiny bit of satisfaction that comes with getting things off our chests.
Primarily, I’m annoyed that as an Indian developer, I still cannot charge for apps. The issue is related to Google Checkout Merchant accounts, which a developer needs to sell apps. These accounts are not available in India, and several other countries.
My complaint is an old one: if you can’t pay us on Checkout, why not look for other ways? For developers in some countries, like Israel till until recently, payments were made to their AdSense accounts. That seems like an obvious way to go about it, until the issues are sorted out, right?
Not to Google, it isn’t. I posted the question to last week’s APAC Android Developer’s Office Hours hangout, and got the usual “we’re working hard on it, but cannot give any sort of time frame.” Nothing new there, we’ve been hearing this for years, and they even admitted it’s a very popular question. There’s no statement as to what the exact issue is. They’ve only stated problems with the government, but without giving any details it feels like a poor excuse: PayPal, which has a near identical system, have offered Merchant accounts over here for years, and they’ve never complained of any issue.
Because of this issue, I decided sell my recent app on Amazon. And despite a tiny sliver of users there, my earnings outweigh what I’ve got through my ad-supported version on Google Play. I’d love to be able to offer an ad-free, probably a fermium version on Play itself, but Google just won’t let me. And unfortunately, from experience, it feels like it could be a long, long time before they will.
So, developers, what are YOUR biggest complaints with Google. I’m certain there are more than a few, and having one doesn’t mean we love the platform any less. It’s just Google’s reluctance to look into a few issues can get extremely annoying.