Google Extends Monetization Options to Chrome App Developers

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 12, 2014

Google officials said this week that the company will reward developers of Chrome packaged apps by letting them give users free trials and in-app purchases, marking an expansion of Google's focus on fostering a robust ecosystem of applications. The company is also going to allow developers of browser extensions to charge for them for the first time. The Google Developers Blog makes clear that the company is very focused on monetization options for app creators, which has been a key point of focus for Apple as it has sought to attract iOS app developers.

According to the Developers Blog:

"The Managed In-App Payments feature simplifies the developer experience of our previous solution and expands it to extensions and themes. You can now create and manage all of your in-app products directly in the developer dashboard instead of having to embed or dynamically generate and serve a payment token for each sale. You can enable or disable products, provide localized descriptions, set prices for different regions and the Chrome Web Store manages the licensing."

"The Free Trial feature, which is now available for Chrome Packaged Apps and Extensions, allows a developer to specify that an item can be used for a limited time before it must be purchased. This gives users the flexibility to try paid items before deciding to buy them."

Google is extending another olive branch to developers by making it easier to publish apps to the Chrome Web Store. Specifically, the Chrome Web Store API has been expanded to allow developers to programmatically create, update and publish items in the Web Store.

All these moves fall in line with the focus that Google began applying to apps for Chrome a few months back. It was back in September that the Google Chrome team put an extensive post up heralding "packaged apps" that work with Chrome, which the team obviously felt could become a huge differentiator for Google's browser."These apps are more powerful than before, and can help you get work done, play games in full-screen and create cool content all from the web," wrote the Chrome team.

In the Chrome Developer Summit video, Google's Joe Marini makes clear that Chrome apps are intended for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, that they run intelligently offline, and that they are gaining much more access to sophisticated plumbing and services found in Chrome.

Google's goal actually seems to be to extend Chrome into the territory of what we normally think of as a full-blown operating system. That could eventually make Chrome very different from other browsers.