Google may finally force developers to spill how much those freemium apps truly cost.
The developer of the GoneMAD Music Player app posted a message to Reddit on Thursday that allegedly came from a Google representative. The message claims that an app's listing page must specify "price ranges" for in-app purchases by September 30, as first reported by Android Police.
That would coincide with another requirement, set to take effect the same day, that developers who charge upfront for in-app purchases must list a physical address. GoneMAD's developer received the purported response after complaining to Google about the new requirement.
If true, the change would bring some clarity about the potential hidden cost of "freemium" apps. For example, EA's Madden NFL Mobile app currently has a sale banner over its icon, but you have to read the fine print to know that it's just 30 percent off some elusive in-game Madden Cash. Yet there is no further information about how much Madden Cash actually costs.
Apple's App Store already has a similar practice in place, detailing the exact cost of in-app upgrades. Google's alleged requirement only lists "price ranges," however, so it is unclear exactly what specifics will be made available when (and if) the policy goes into practice.
This change is likely another effort to avoid further legal entanglement in Europe, which has much stricter consumer protection laws. Earlier this year Google agreed to stop classifying apps as "free" when the apps offered in-app purchases.