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[Update: More info for developers] Google Play Store adds tools for managing app subscriptions

The Play Store is home to all kinds of services you can subscribe to. Since January, Google's been testing a way to view all the apps you're paying a recurring fee for through Google Play. It's taken form as a convenient subscriptions center, accessible from the the left-hand menu in the Play Store on both mobile and desktop. Now, Google has announced several changes to the way subscriptions work on developers' end.

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Facebook is testing paid subscription groups for premium content

Plenty of Facebook groups have morphed into small businesses that use outside payment and membership tools to distribute paid content (e.g. Patreon). Now, Facebook is looking at ways to bring that activity into its platform with subscription groups. These are sub-groups with exclusive content, a monthly subscription fee, and additional admin tools.

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Autodesk SketchBook's 'Pro' features are now free

Autodesk SketchBook is now completely free. Up until this month, certain features—the majority of the app's brush presets, for example—were only available as part of a subscription plan that cost $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year. The full feature set does still require an Autodesk account, but that's also free.

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Google now allows Play balances to be used on Newsstand subscriptions (except in European Economic Area countries)

Google Play credit just got a little more valuable in some countries, thanks to Google expanding Play balances to cover Newsstand subscriptions. However, this change does not benefit anyone who lives in any of the 31 European Economic Area countries.

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YouTube Gaming subscriptions start synchronizing with YouTube proper

There's absolutely no shortage of gaming content on YouTube, but for users who crave nothing less than laser-focused dedication to their gaming needs, we've got YouTube Gaming, launched three years back in what was seen as a direct response to the rise of Twitch. While the service has its own app, and own presence on the web, there's understandably a lot of crossover between Gaming and regular YouTube. That connection's only becoming more pronounced this week, as we learn about efforts to synchronize channel subscriptions between the two.

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'Subscribe with Google' launches to simplify news subscriptions

Subscribing to a news organization helps support quality journalism, but getting subscriptions set up can be a pain. You've got to manage logins and payment methods for everything separately, and not all operations have the resources to manage a subscription service on their own. That's where Subscribe with Google comes in. This new service lets you sign up for subscriptions on news websites via your Google account.

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Head of YouTube Music says a subscription service is coming (because Google doesn't have enough of those)

For many people, YouTube is their primary source for music. The release of YouTube Red a few years back made the listening experience better by ditching the ads. It also includes some non-music video content. Then there's Play Music, which includes Red. Now, Google's Lyor Cohen says in a talk at SXSW that his team is preparing a YouTube Music streaming service. Okay...

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Google is testing a 'My subscriptions' nav menu option in the Play Store

It's common to open the Play Store client on your phone and then immediately zip over to the "My apps & games" section via the navigation menu. What about subscriptions, though? Google is apparently adding that as a navigation item for some people right below the app shortcut. That's faster access for those with subscriptions and a reminder that subscriptions are a thing for those who don't.

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[Update: Now in effect] Google raises subscription revenue for providers from 70% to 85%, but only for users retained after 12 months

Last year, there was a rumor that Google was going to follow Apple's footsteps and improve its subscription revenue split with providers by only deducting 15% instead of 30% for distribution and miscellaneous fees. At the timeRecode was optimistic that Google would make the change universal, so that any time a user subscribed to something, the provider would only lose 15% in fees.

We didn't hear anything about this until now, thanks to a bunch of changes published on the Google Developers Blog. There, we learned that subscription revenue sharing with be lowered from 30% to 15%, but unlike last year's hopeful rumor and much like Apple's terms, they will only apply for users retained after 12 months.

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Newton Mail's latest update can intelligently sort your emails

Today the popular paid email app Newton Mail for Android was updated with a new feature called Tidy Inbox. Much like Google's Inbox, it automatically sorts emails into categories. That way insignificant messages from social media or promotional subscriptions don't bother you, but you are still notified of important content. Coupled with Newton Mail's extensive application integration, the new tool is sure to boost productivity.

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