Google will display Android devs’ physical address

Developers/publishers of paid Android apps and apps that feature in-app purchases will, by the start of next month, be required to add a physical contact address to their account profile.

The address will be visible, on the app page, to all users. Until now only those who bought an app would see that particular piece of information it in their Google Wallet.

The company has already begun popping up notices about the new requirement on the developer console, Ryan Whitwam at the Android Police reports.

Apparently, a reputed app developer has asked the Google Play Developer Support team about the change, and they confirmed it in an email in these words:

As of September 30, 2014, we are implementing a number of new changes to how apps are listed and displayed on Google Play, in accordance with consumer protection laws and current best-practices, ensuring a more transparent and positive experience for users. They include:

  • We are requiring developers to provide a physical address for all paid apps or apps that enable in-app purchases. The address will be displayed to users in the app store listing page. By September 30, 2014, you’ll be able to add a physical address by going to your Settings page on the Developer Console. Please comply within 30 days of the warning notification on the developer console. If you do not provide an address within this period, Google may take action affecting your account. This may include restricting your ability to update apps or publish new apps. Continued failure to provide an address may result in published apps being removed from the store.
  • We will display the price ranges for apps that offer in-app purchases and/or subscriptions on the app’s store listing page.

Google doesn’t say which consumer protection laws it’s complying with by making these changes but, more likely than not, they mean the new EU Directive on Consumer Rights, which came into effect on June 13th 2014.

Whitwam hypothesizes that with this change Google also hopes to discourage spammy paid apps, but some legitimate developers are sure to dislike the new requirement.

“Not all developers work out of a big office, and they might not like having their home address so publicly available,” he noted, adding that it’s still unknown whether Google will accept PO box information instead of an actual address.

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