Google brings in-app billing to Android Market

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) formally introduced in-app billing functionality across Android Market, signaling a major turning point in the company's efforts to galvanize the storefront's sales.

Android developers may now publish applications that include monetization options like try-and-buy, virtual goods and upgrades--Google notes that a number of Android applications have already rolled out in-app purchases, including Disney Mobile (Tap Tap Revenge), Glu Mobile (Gun Bros, Deer Hunter Challenge HD and WSOP3), ComiXology (Comics) and Trendy Entertainment (Dungeon Defenders: FW Deluxe).

In-app purchases across free and premium apps on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) rival iOS platform now account for 49 percent of iPhone developer revenues and 29 percent of iPad developer income, app store analytics firm Distimo reported in January. Around that same time, Google announced it would roll out in-app Android Market functionality by the end of the first quarter this year--Android Developer Ecosystem manager Eric Chu admitted Google was "not happy" with sales of premium applications and vowed significant marketplace improvements.

Speaking at January's Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, Chu said Google also plans to roll out additional carrier billing options in partnership with operators across the globe. Android Market quietly introduced direct carrier billing for premium applications sold on the AT&T (NYSE:T) network late last year; Chu said it is both expensive and time-consuming to forge carrier billing agreements but added Google recognizes the potential impact on consumer app spending.

For more:
- read this Android Developers Blog entry

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