Back in May of this year, Google unveiled its in-app subscription service, which allowed developers to easily add an auto-renewing subscription into their apps. Fast-forward to today, and Big G has added another new feature to the service: try-and-buy. Beginning now, developers can let users try a subscription for a a predefined amount of time without having to shell out the cash first. Here's how it'll work.

Once the service has been set up, the end user must "purchase" a subscription in the app. The process will complete as normal - the "sale" of $0.00 must be confirmed, and an email confirmation will be sent out, just as if an actual transaction was made. The user is free to reap the full benefits associated with the in-app subscription for the allotted amount of time designated by the developer. At the end of the trial period, the user's preferred payment method will be automatically charged the full subscription price.

As the trial comes to a close, however, the user will first be reminded via email that a charge will be applied if the sub isn't cancelled. If the user elects to cancel the sub, its use ends immediately. Nothing was paid upfront, therefore an extended use period isn't required. If the user chooses to continue the subscription, a charge is automatically applied through Google Wallet and a receipt is sent (those who currently take advantage of any subscription in the Play Store are already familiar with this).

For developers, the trial period can be set up in the Developer Console's subscription menu without the need to update the app's APK. It's worth noting that the trial period can be changed at any time, but it won't affect any user who has already "bought" the trial sub.

For more information on the trial period, go here.

[via Android Developers (Twitter)]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

    Oh shit, here come the paysite bait and switch scams...

  • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

    I really hope that theres an option to make it not auto-charge and instead auto-uninstall or whatever. I don't want to accidentally buy an app if I just forget to uninstall it (and I don't see the email). I hope there is some sort of confirmation at least that you are buying the app.

    • An Adult

      You're asking for a bit too much. Google is courteous enough to remind you via email and yet you want it to auto-install the app for you too? Google isn't going to spoon feed you everything. Be an adult and take responsibility. If you miss the reminder then it's your fault. Seriously.

    • Kaero

      I doubt that highly. I think there will be a notification email sent out before the trial is over warning you that if you don't unsubscribe you'll be charged but I have never seen a subscription service that automatically unsubscribes you when the trial is over. That's your responsibility.

      • DCMAKER

        I have seen several subscription services that unsubscribe you at end of your period. I forget which ones they were but pretty much you could select a 30 day subscription and at the end of it it won't auto continue. Ah I remember a couple. I know Amazon Prime is like that and I thought hulu and netflix worked that way but I can't remember its been too long since I tried them.

    • http://twitter.com/SuperBigBlack Jason James

      it's like any trial, you click yes for them to bill at the end. don't want to be billed? then don't do the trials

    • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

      He's half right. No, subscriptions shouldn't auto cancel, but Google should allow a demo option, which would essentially be the same, but no credit card checks, and it auto-cancels at the end of it's time. This should definitely be a separate feature for those with demo trial demands.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      You're also assuming that the app doesn't have other uses. Based on the reference link, this appears to only relate to in-app subscriptions. There's really no reason to remove an app that probably still works fine without the subscription.

    • ScottColbert

      If you read the article, you'd have gotten your answer.

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    So, what happens if there's a 3 day trial, you use it 2 days and uninstall? Will the next time grant you a 1-day trial? a 3 day trial? Charge you upfront?

    • http://twitter.com/Xeratun Xeratun

      My guess is that you can only use the trial once. If you don't use it all that's your choice. Especially since it says it ends the moment you cancel, not after the period ends.

    • Kaero

      I'd assume, like most subscription free trial offers, you get one trial. if that trial is 3 days and you cancel it halfway through day 2, then that's it, if you want more you'd have to subscribe.

    • http://twitter.com/SuperBigBlack Jason James

      since it will be linked to your Google account(obviously!) i think once you uninstall the app you're choosing to end your trial

      • Kaero

        I doubt that the subscription would end if you uninstall the app, that's just wishful thinking. You'll likely have to manually find and click the unsubscribe button.

        • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

          That's right, because you could be using the subscription on several devices and uninstall the app from just one.

  • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

    This could be cool, but yeah, scary thinking about the havoc this could cause with billing.

    I still just want a longer-than-15-minutes return window.

  • Brian Lee

    If this means apps WITHOUT advertising - which the ads almost always seem to be right near that button that you need to press, I am all for it.

  • Matt

    that is great, can think of two apps (one being the call of duty zombies game) that i would not have purchased if i had the ability to demo it