Update 2: Google has officially confirmed to MediaNama that it was an error and the company has nothing to announce. Google has issued a statement : “There was an error recently introduced in our Help Center documentation. We apologize for any confusion this documentation error may have caused.”
Update: It looks like Google has now removed India’s name from the Android developer support page. We have written to Google for a clarification on this matter and will update the article once we get a response.
That being said, we wonder if someone at Google jumped the gun with the listing and pulled it later. A similar thing had happened with Google Navigation service launch earlier in the month, wherein it leaked a YouTube video on Google India account, and pulled it back few hours later, only to officially launch the service a day later.
While there are no official announcements from the company yet, the Android developer support page now features India among 32 countries which allows developers to register for Google Checkout merchant accounts and sell paid apps. Earlier in June, Google has stated that Google Play store is offering paid apps in 132 countries and free apps in 190 countries.
Initial Teething Issues? We noticed that several Indian app developers are facing issues in setting up merchant accounts, with an error message stating that the facility is not available in the country yet (hat tip – @the100rabh). However we believe these just might be initial teething issues and should hopefully be fixed in the forthcoming days.
How Does It Work? As suggested by the Google Play support page, Android developers can sign up for a Android developer account by paying a registration fee of $25 through a credit card on Google Checkout and providing requisite personal details like name, email address, website and phone number or login to Google Play Android developer console for their existing Android developer account, click on ‘Edit Profile’ and sign up for a Merchant Account at Google Checkout.
It’s worth noting that the developers will be able to sell apps only in the home currency (Rupee), although Google noted that it is rolling out support for multiple currencies across countries. Play Store currently supports multiple currencies in 27 countries, where it supports 18 different currencies in each of these countries.
Revenue Share: Google takes a 30% cut from the app price as the transaction fees while developers will receive the remaining 70% of the app price.
In-app billing support: This rollout also includes support for in-app billing which enables developers to sell digital goods and subscriptions (monthly or yearly) through their apps. Note that the 30% transaction fees applies to in-app transactions as well. In June, Google had claimed that more than 50% of its app revenues are now generated from in-app billing transactions.
Receiving Payouts: There is no word on how Google will be rolling out payouts to Indian developers, but globally it rolls out payouts either through Google Checkout merchant accounts or Google Adsense accounts, depending on the region. Google states that the payment for successful transactions are sent to developer account within two business days, although the actual payout is rolled out on a monthly basis. The company also notes that there is no payout limit for verified developer accounts, although developers must have earned at least $1 at the time of the payment transfer.
In-App Telco Billing? Going forward, we hope that this announcement will pave the way for operators to offer the long pending in-app telco billing for Android apps. Google had previously partnered with Reliance Communications in April 2012 and Uninor in November 2011, to offer operator billing on Android apps to their respective subscribers, although there is no further update on that initiative yet.
We also hope that Google Wallet, which powers the payment process in Google Play Store, adds more India-specific payment options like NetBanking, and cash cards among others in the future, allowing consumers who don’t possess a credit card or are hesitant to use their credit cards to buy Android apps.