Google outlined a range of changes to its Play Store policy, aiming to liberate the marketplace from unclear app subscription practices and boost user control over their data.
In a blog, Google Play’s director of product management trust and safety Krish Vitaldevara explained the updates were designed to restrict app developers from collecting unnecessary user location data and to enhance clarity on in-app subscriptions.
As part of the move, Google urged developers to evaluate their need to access background location in their apps prior to getting the company’s approval to publish them, to “ensure that only apps that really need access for core functionality can ask users for permission”.
Google’s updated review process will start no earlier than August for new apps and November for existing apps.
Another policy update will require developers to clearly inform users about any subscription services or content offered within the app.
From 16 June, apps will need to clearly state subscription terms including pricing, free trial availability and whether a paid subscription is needed. The company will separately notify users of free trial expiration and renewal reminders.
Google Play product manager Angela Ying argued the move “should result in a more stable recurring revenue” by bringing more committed subscribers, and fewer refunds and chargebacks.
Earlier this year, Google moved towards improving user experience by clearing its marketplace of apps containing intrusive ads.