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With no carrier deals in place, Google enables app purchases via vouchers

Google has introduced Google Play prepaid vouchers which will allow users to buy digital content (apps, books, buying and renting of movies) on Google Play starting today. The vouchers will be priced at Rs 500, 1,000 and 1,500 and will be available at certain Vijay Sales and Spice Hotspot stores in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Jaipur. Users can buy the vouchers from the cashiers at the shops using cash or cards, but frankly, it's likely that they'll be paying cash. Google Play store accepts credit cards and some debit cards. On purchase, they'll get a redemption code, which will be used to buy digital content. Why this form of billing is important is because Google’s Play Store guidelines do not allow third party payment systems, though this has been relaxed selectively for some partners, like Airtel's music service Wynk. Why go offline? 1. To encourage purchase of apps: It's noteworthy that the deal for rolling out Google Play vouchers isn't just with any retail outlet: it's with two handset retail outlets. My sense is that this isn't just about Google Play enabling offline purchases: it's also about bringing with it an assisted model of purchase of apps. India has a large base of first time smart phone users who aren't familiar with app stores, searching for and purchasing apps. It's likely that for many users, the apps that remain on their smartphones are those that came preloaded on the phone. The deal with Spice and Vijay Sales, both of which…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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