Google has reduced the minimum purchase price for apps on Google Play in India to Rs 10. This comes a fortnight after Apple introduced its new pricing tiers for India, that let developers charge Rs 10 for their apps. Interestingly, unlike Apple, Google’s pricing tier change applies only to India, so it seems like the search giant is just testing the waters here.

Prior to this development, the minimum purchase price for apps on Google Play was Rs 50, or ~$1 USD, as it is for every other country. India is the first country where the lower pricing tier has been introduced, but we expect that with time, these pricing tiers will be enabled in other countries as well. Note that Apple has started differential pricing with the Chinese app store, followed by other countries including India. Google on the other hand, does not yet offer purchases over the Play Store in China.

As we had mentioned before, users in countries like India could find the price of Rs 50 expensive, and a pricing tier of Rs 10 will encourage more users to make app purchases. Both Google and Apple verify the user’s location through their payment method, so for example using a US credit card to make a purchase marks a user as ‘US-based’ even if living in India. This makes it close to impossible to fake a user’s country when making purchases either using fake-GPS or setting the wrong location, so its not like users are going to cheat the companies by using a fake location. Essentially, Google should have done this a long time ago.

Medianama’s take: Although differential pricing is finally here, we hoped Android apps, and especially in-app purchases, could have lower pricing tiers, say starting at Rs 5. Still, this is a move in the right direction toward encouraging purchases in the country. This, along with carrier billing, will go a long way in encouraging users to make a buy. Other features we would like to see would include the ability to return paid apps and games within two hours of use time rather than install time and the ability for developers to set their own ‘trial’ time. It’s a surprise that Google has taken over 6 years since the introduction of Google Play to implement such obvious features.

Image source: Flickr user ScaarAT