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Google shores up Android Market with security, payment options

Jul 28, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Google has upgraded Android Market with a security tool to prevent the illegal use of paid Android applications, says eWEEK. The move follows an announcement earlier this week that Google will add a new carrier billing option to Android Market, according to another eWEEK. report.

Yesterday, Google announced a free licensing service to protect paid applications in the Android Market from unauthorized use, reports Clint Boulton in our sister publication, eWEEK. Along with a carrier billing option announced earlier this week (see farther below), the move appears intended to answer critics' claims that the fast-growing app store is poorly supervised and out of control, says the story.

The licensing service will prevent tech-savvy users from working around existing safeguards and downloading paid apps for free on the Android Market, which now offers more than 70,000 programs, writes Boulton. In the coming months, Google plans to replace the current Android Market copy protection tool with the new licensing service, he adds.

The service supports Android 1.5 or higher, and includes a set of libraries developers can use to query the Android Market licensing server to check up on licensing status of users, says the story. Presumably, many smaller app development companies lack their own security mechanisms to ensure their paid apps are not being downloaded for free.

As Eric Chu, a member of Google's Android Developer Ecosystem, explains in a blog posting, "This licensing service operating real time over the network provides more flexibility in choosing license-enforcement strategies, and a more secure approach in protecting your applications from unauthorized use, than copy protection."

This is not the first time Google has made an effort to clean up Android market. In late June, in response to criticism that it was not sufficiently policing the app store, Google disabled two Android test apps that duped users into downloading them, but offered no benefits. The apps were said to have violated licensing agreements.

Google adds carrier billing option

Earlier this week, Google's Android team announced it was readying a feature allowing consumers to purchase applications from the Android Market and charge them to their wireless phone bills, says a second eWEEK story by Boulton. The feature will enable users to purchase apps without entering credit card numbers every time, says the story.

According to a blog post by Android developer evangelist Tim Bray, Google has updated the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA) to prepare for the new carrier payment options. Section 13.1 of the DDA has been amended to add "authorized carriers" as indemnified parties.

The new terms apply immediately to anyone joining the Android Market as a new publisher, while existing publishers have up to 30 days to accept the new terms. Bray did not say which carriers would support this payment plan. According to Boulton, T-Mobile already processes payments for Android apps on users' monthly bills, but other carriers do not. 

Availability

The Google post on the new free licensing service to protect paid applications on Android Market may be found here, and the eWEEK story on the service should be here

The Google post about the new Android Market carrier billing options should be here, and the eWEEK story on the development should be here.


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