Google has started giving away paid apps for free on the Play Store. Users will be able to view free apps under a “Free App of the Week” banner in the Family section of the Google Play Store.
Google had announced last month at the Google’s I/O developer conference that it would make it easier to find family-friendly apps on its app store. The company has launched a Family section of the Google Play Store which has apps meant for younger users. The family section currently offers PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger Grr-ific Feelings for free which is originally priced at $2.99.
Android Police noted that until now Google has never offered paid apps for free. Developers can't change their paid app into free apps and then change them back on the Play Store. The new deal uses an automatically applied discount code that brings the app’s cost down to zero. It's not clear whether developers can also choose to be a part of the program. It also remains to be seen whether Google is branching out with the free apps, or has made an exception to promote its new Family section. Rival Amazon, already offers free apps every week on the Amazon App store.
In March, Google revealed that it has been using a team of app reviewers to enforce its developer policies in the Google Play Store. To access the system, app developers have to sign into their Play developer console to complete a ratings questionnaire for each of their existing apps, or risk getting their apps blocked. Google says that it has been reviewing the Play Store apps for the past six months and developers have not noticed any change. Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development for Google Play stated, “We started reviewing all apps and games before they’re published – it’s rolled out 100%. And developers haven’t noticed the change.” From May, the Internet giant also introduced an age-based rating system within its Play store for consumers. Google states that all new apps and updates will need to have a completed rating questionnaire in order to be published on Android's official app store. The apps will include official rating labels where available or will otherwise show a "generic age-based" rating.
Source: Android Police