Smartphone apps are serious business, though developers of Android apps were left in limbo. In India, developers were only allowed to publish free apps, and this had limited the potential for innovative apps because of lack of incentive.
Recently, India has made it in to Google's official list of countries where developers can register as certified Google Checkout merchants, thus allowing Indian developers to put out paid apps.
"The move was overdue for some time now," said Ashish Sinha, founder of Pluggd.in, a website focused on local start-ups. "This will pave the way for creating business models around innovative Apps. Android is big in the Indian smart devices space, and this will help fuel development of the localised Apps, too."
P R Rajendran, Director of Next Wave Multimedia, a Chennai based company that has published more than ten apps on both Apple iTunes as well as Google Play, said, "We have lived with this condition for some time now where we literally run two companies, and are subject to dual taxation". He added, "This is a welcome move on the part of Google."
So far, Indian developers needed to go to a country where Google Checkout merchants are allowed, such as the US, and register a local bank account in the name of a US resident, in order to sell apps on the Google Play Store.
Google has been on a roll in India, with its recent launch of services that were previously unavailable in the country. Earlier this month, Google launched its voice guided turn-by-turn Navigation service in India. Google Maps Navigation makes good use of the long-standing features of Google Maps for mobile. The features include powerful Google search and voice search capabilities, which allow users to find local destinations by typing or speaking an address or business name.
Voice search on Google Maps Navigation is only available in English yet. Google’s search tools go a distance in assisting the user. For instance, ambiguous queries and words that are misspelled are corrected and clarified without requiring the user to enter an exact address, and the optimal route from origin to destination is quickly calculated.
Importantly here, although Google Maps app itself is a free download from Google Play and the access to navigation isn’t charged for either, the Google Maps app does require an Internet connection and users are responsible for any mobile data charges they incur while using the app.
Speaking at the launch of these services, Darren Baker, Product Manager for Google Maps, said, "Our goal in developing Google Maps is to provide users with the most comprehensive and accurate online maps in every country, and to share the features and benefits of Google Maps as widely as we can."