Google testing option to subscribe to apps without installing them

In addition to the Android 11 beta news, Google has quietly introduced a tool for some Android application developers related to marketing app subscriptions on the Play Store.

As reported by TechCrunch, Google has confirmed that a hand-picked group of developers are testing a new feature that allows users to subscribe to an application from outside of the app. Concretely, instead of buying a subscription or a premium account within the application, Google wants to allow users to subscribe directly from the application’s page on the Google Play Store, even if the application concerned is not installed.

Start a trial period or subscribe faster

To be even more concrete because Google is not really shouting about this feature, it would allow an app developer to be able to sell subscriptions or distribute promotional codes to users without them having to install the app in question.

So, if you install the app after having launched a trial period, for example, you will immediately benefit from the premium experience (no ads, etc…) offered by the paid version of the application. Enough to get you “hooked” or in any case to make you discover the premium product in a more insistent way so that you are more inclined to renew your subscription and monthly billing.

Google, therefore, lets developers set up a future payment, although customers may eventually decide to unsubscribe before the trial period is over (the payment will then not be effective, of course). Users could, therefore, launch the free trial of a paid app and subscribe directly from the Play Store listing, via a new button called Free Trial & Install illustrated in the screenshot below.

An example of this “Free trial & install” button. / © TechCrunch

Below the button, a window on the application page provides full details of the subscription, including the duration of the free trial, the cost at the end of the trial, and what the subscription offers in terms of features.

All of this is obviously to make the Play Store more transparent to give you as much information as possible before you install an application running the freemium model of an app like Spotify, for example.

But one can also wonder if Google doesn’t also want to make the act of purchase even easier, more immediate, and therefore more insidious by removing the intermediary that was then the interface of the application itself.

This feature is available to developers as part of the Google Billing Library 3 provided by Android 11 and is not yet available to users. Would you like to see it come to Android soon? Let us know below the line.


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