Updated: Google adds, retracts support for Australian paid Android apps

"Quickly corrected mistake" riles up local developer community

Google has denied granting support to Australian developers to submit paid applications to the Android Market.

Australian Android community site, Ausdroid, reported this week that Google had added Australia to its list of supported countries for developers to sell priced applications. However, the search giant promptly dropped Australia from the list, attributing it to a quickly corrected mistake, and has denied any current plans to support local developers.

“We hear loud and clear that Australian developers want to see paid apps in the android market here, but we don't have anything to announce right now,” a Google spokesperson told Computerworld Australia in an email.

As well as Australia, Canada, South Korea and Switzerland were also mistakenly listed.

Pamela Fox, a Google Maps API Support Engineer at Google’s offices in Sydney and regular point of contact for local developers   cleared the issue with miffed developers on Twitter and later sent a response to a member of the Android Australia Google group.

"Sorry, the news stated there is based on an incorrect help page. They are now working on fixing the help page that lists Australia," she said.

However, another help page on the Google Android website still lists Australia and the other, mistaken countries as sources for priced applications.

Google currently supports nine countries across the US, Japan and Europe for developers to sell applications on the Android Market. While Android users outside those countries can purchase applications from the smartphone store, they are not able to sell their own applications there without a Google Checkout account associated with a supported country.

Google opened its Checkout platform to Australian users after four years of service in the US alongside the launch of the new Google Voice feature within Gmail. Similarly to PayPal, the online payment processing service allows Australian users to make purchases across participating websites with one set of the user’s financial details, while also allowing them to accept payment for services and goods.

Some local developers are using workarounds to gain some financial benefit from otherwise free applications on the Android Market, such as using Google’s AdSense platform.

Melbourne-based Android developer, jTribe is one of the few to actually sell its apps for a price, a feat one of its directors managed by securing a US address and driver’s license and, hence, the ability to set up a US Google Checkout account. However, Daniel Bradby told Computerworld Australia that the complexity of running an overseas account to bypass the lack of local support remained a headache.

“I’d prefer to have local support because we’re a business and we’ve got this complication now where we’re putting effort into doing apps where the money goes to a US bank account,” Bradby said. “How do we tax that and how do we get the money back to Australia?”

“We invest time into that solid part of the business at the moment.

Bradby said support would incite greater contribution from local developers to the platform, but that the current lack of local support simply compounded on past issues for Australians attempting to purchase, sell or test paid apps on the smartphone store.

“All these workarounds, it’s just insane, it just should work, they should be supporting the developer community.”

Updated to add new help page with same mistake, and extra countries listed.

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