Google apparently isn't too pleased with Android Market purchasing, and it plans on addressing that problem this year.
At the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco yesterday, Google's Group Manager for the Android platform, Eric Chu, told those in attendance that Google is "not happy" with the number of paid apps purchased in the marketplace, but he stopped short of offering figures to elaborate on the company's concerns, according to a blog post by Oliver Chang on Forbes.
In order to address lackluster purchasing, Chu laid out a handful of strategies that the company will be following this year.
According to Forbes, one of the central tenets of Google's plan is to remove applications that violate the company's terms of service. In addition, Google is improving the algorithm that handles ranking of popular applications to ensure users can more effectively find popular apps.
Google also reportedly plans to introduce a new in-app payment system in the first quarter to capitalize on the virtual goods market, which just might be the company's best idea yet.
In a study released in November, market research firm In-Stat said that virtual goods revenue grew 245 percent between 2007 and 2010 and that it expected virtual goods revenue to reach $7.3 billion in 2010 and potentially hit $14 billion by 2014.
That study was echoed later that month by Juniper Research, which said that 2009 revenue in mobile gaming was $6 billion. By 2015, Juniper said the figure could grow to more than $11 billion.
Chu also said yesterday that Google plans to expand its carrier-billing service internationally, according to Forbes. Last month, the company announced a carrier-billing arrangement with AT&T that allows customers to purchase apps from the Android Market and pay for them in their monthly phone bill.
That initiative and Google's desire to launch an in-app payment system could combine to thwart plans by Angry Birds maker Rovio.
Last month, Rovio unveiled a new payment system for Android developers called Bad Piggy Bank. The service allows developers to offer customers a "one-touch payment" system to buy virtual goods in-game. Rather than require registration and credit card information, Bad Piggy Bank bills the user on their monthly phone bill.
At that time, Rovio made it clear that its desire to offer the service to Android developers stemmed from its issues with payment systems available to Android developers. The company continues to offer its wildly popular Angry Birds title for free in the Android Market for that very reason. It supports the title with ads.
However, even with those concerns, developers aren't shying away from creating apps for Android.
In a study released yesterday by IDC, 87 percent of more than 2,200 developers around the world said they are "very interested" in building apps for Android smartphones. Only Apple's iOS beat out the platform, garnering 92 percent developer interest.