The next time you log into Google (GOOG) Play to flame Justin Bieber fans by panning his latest single, beware: thousands of angry preteens will soon know who you are and what you look like. As TheAndroidSoul notes, Google has started adding its users’ Google+ profile names and pictures to Google Play user reviews, thus making it much harder for trolls to spam pages with anonymous negative reviews. Barring users who opt to create new Google+ accounts solely to bombard Google Play, the move should go a long way to curtail trolling by finally introducing some accountability.
For a while now, developers looking to make serious money selling their apps were better off trying their luck at Apple’s (AAPL) App Store than with Google (GOOG) Play. But over at Tech-Thoughts, Sameer Singh has found some new data suggesting that in-app purchases are likely helping Google Play close the gap. Specifically, Singh looks at four different estimates for how much revenue iOS and Android apps generate on their respective app stores. While all four estimates varied widely in terms of how much total revenue each store generated, they also all clearly show Google Play apps increasing their revenues significantly over the past nine months. Singh writes that “if the revenue growth data is accurate, it does appear that the growth in in-app purchases has reduced the revenue gap between iOS and Google Play.”
Google (GOOG) isn’t about to let Apple (AAPL) get away with having the most apps available on its App Store. Per Bloomberg, Google now says that there are 700,000 apps available on its Google Play store, thus matching the number of apps that Apple last week said it had on its own App Store. Google last month said that it had served up more than 25 billion total app downloads from its Play store and the company has projected that there will be more than 1 billion Android devices active by next year.
Google (GOOG) in May of this year announced a new “try before you buy” period that Android developers could utilize for subscription content in Play Store apps. Although the option was announced nearly five months ago, it wasn’t until recently that developers could integrate it into their apps. Within the Developer Console there is now an option to set a “Free Trial Period” that will let users access subscription content before billing goes into effect. The trial must be seven days or longer and does not require developers to modify or even update their existing APK files. At the conclusion of the trial period Google Play will automatically bill the credit card that the user provided, unless they cancel their subscription before the trial ends. Users have had access for quite some time to a 15-minute refund window when purchasing any application from Google Play. More →
Google (GOOG) on Monday announced an update to its Google TV platform that will allow users to finally be able to buy and rent movies, music and TV shows from the Play Store. In addition to content already purchased from other devices being automatically available on Google TV, Google Play titles will now be available through the built-in TV & Movies app, alongside Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon’s (AMZN) offerings. Users will still be unable to begin a show on one device and resume it on another, however. The latest update will be rolling out to Google TV devices over the next few weeks and will include various Google Play features that can be utilized by developers such as auto-updates, subscription billing and smart app updates. More →
Forget about Angry Birds Space or the newly released Bad Piggies — Halfbrick Studio’s Jetpack Joyride is where the real mobile gaming action is at. From the developer that brought the world Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride was originally released for iOS devices last September, Facebook (FB) in May and most recently on Amazon’s (AMZN) Appstore. After a year since its debut on iOS, the game that has players controlling a jetpack-strapped Barry Steakfries is finally available on the Google (GOOG) Play store for Android devices. The addictive side-scrolling game has players dodging electric zappers and missiles, riding vehicles and scattering jumpsuit-clad scientists across levels in a quest to rack up the longest distance traveled and collect new jetpacks and other items. Jetpack Joyride has won multiple awards as well as being featured as the runner up for “iPhone Game of the Year” in Apple’s (AAPL) App Store Rewind 2011. The game can be downloaded for free here. More →
Yes, people still like mobile apps. Google (GOOG) on Wednesday announced that its Google Play store had now served up more than 25 billion total app downloads, an impressive figure for a store that launched just four years ago. To celebrate this milestone, Google has slashed prices on many of its apps and games to just 25 cents, including offerings from Gameloft, Electronic Arts, Rovio, Runtastic and Full Fat. The store is also offering other “25″-related deals, including “25 movies you must own, 25 banned books, 25 albums that changed the world and our 25 top-selling magazines, all at special prices.” More →
Google’s (GOOG) entertainment ecosystem for Android is about to get a big boost thanks to a new deal to bring additional movies and TV shows to the catalog. Google revealed on Thursday that its new partnership with Twentieth Century Fox will bring more than 600 movies and TV shows to Google Play in the U.S. Google was particularly proud to tout the fact that Google Play will get the high-definition release of Prometheus on Tuesday, three weeks before its release on Blu-ray, DVD and video-on-demand. “We’re now working with all six of the major film studios and many independent studios to bring you the best new releases and your favorite classics to rent or own,” wrote Jonathan Zepp, Manager of TV & Film Content Partnerships. More →
Well, that didn’t take long. Just two days after popular music streaming app Grooveshark was allowed back onto the Google Play app store, Google (GOOG) has apparently decided to yank the app once again without providing an immediate explanation. A Grooveshark spokesperson tells BGR that Google has not yet told the company why it again decided to pull its app from Google Play and reiterates that Grooveshark is eager to work with Google to get any issues resolved so Android users can once again download it from Google’s official app store. Android users can still install the Grooveshark app by downloading it directly from Grooveshark’s website.
Grooveshark, the popular music service that lets users upload their songs and stream them to computers and smartphones, is back on the Google (GOOG) Play app store. Google had yanked the app from the store more than a year ago after copyright holders complained it was letting users download music illegally. Per CNET, Grooveshark says that any illegal downloads were facilitated by third-party apps illegally using Grooveshark’s name, and the company has worked to stop them. BGR spoke to Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino in a recent episode of the BGR Show. More →
Google (GOOG) on Tuesday officially announced gift cards for its Play Store. “Google Play gift cards are perfect for any occasion,” the company wrote on its website. “You can buy them from your local retail store. Use your gift card to purchase your favorite entertainment on Google Play.” The new cards are available from RadioShack (RSH), Target (TGT) and GameStop (GME) in $10, $25, and $50 denominations, and they will be offered online by Walmart (WMT) starting later this month. Google Play gift cards can be used to purchase music, movies, TV shows, books, magazines, apps, games, and even for in-app purchases. Google revealed that its gift cards will initially be available only in the U.S., however, and cannot be redeemed for Android app subscriptions or magazine subscriptions. More →
The days of slapping a malicious Android app together and quickly tossing it onto the Google Play store are at an end. Per Mashable, Google (GOOG) has updated its developer content policy page to ban specific types of apps that are detrimental to Android users, including spam apps, apps that misrepresent themselves and apps that disclose “people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, driver’s and other license numbers.” Mashable also says that Google sent out an email to its developer community outlining the new guidelines. More →
Good news for Nexus 7 fans: The 16GB version of the popular Google tablet has been restocked and is now available for purchase from the Google Play store again for its standard $249 price tag. Google (GOOG) briefly discontinued sales of the 16GB Nexus 7 last week after the Guardian reported that the company had “seriously underestimated” demand for the more expensive 16GB version of the tablet. The fact that the 16GB model has been selling well should be good news for Google since the $249 version of the Nexus 7 is projected to be far more profitable for the company than the $199 8GB model. More →