Google's New In-App Payments Product Set For Launch In May 2011

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Google was originally set to debut in-app payments support for Android in the fourth quarter of 2010, and recently said that the launch would be delayed until the end of this quarter. Be that as it may, the company is set to launch another much-anticipated (at least by many app developers or publishers) Web-based in-app transactions product in May 2011. (see updates below)

Jambool, the company behind a virtual monetization platform dubbed ‘Social Gold’ that was acquired by Google last August, this morning started sending the following email to users:

Hello,

Thank you for your use of the Jambool Social Gold platform. As you know, Jambool was acquired by Google last August. This acquisition meant that some changes to our business were inevitable, and we’d like to share them with you today.

First, the existing Jambool Social Gold product will be discontinued in favor of a new Google in-app payment product in May 2011. Rest assured that you will be able to sign in to the Jambool merchant console through September 2011, and you will receive year-end financial statements in February 2012.

Second, we’d like to invite you to participate in the pre-release beta of the Google in-app payment system. This system will enable developers to accept payments within an app, but it will not have the full functionality of Social Gold at launch. We understand that this will not meet the needs of all developers currently using Social Gold, but we highly encourage interested developers to join the Google in-app payments beta by submitting your information at http://google.com/checkout/inapp.

Again, we thank you for your flexibility during this transition period. Please feel free to respond to this email with any questions about your Jambool account or the new Google in-app payment product.

Sincerely,
The Jambool Team

Three big take-aways:

- Jambool’s Social Gold service will be shut down, even though it offers more features than Google’s new in-app payments product will have upon its formal debut (which already ruined one game developer’s day, apparently).

- The Jambool team was commissioned to work on in-app purchases functionalities, and not – as some had proclaimed – the monetization of Google’s always-imminent-yet-elusive social networking and online gaming blitz.

- Google’s in-app payment product, currently in beta, will be launched in May 2011.

Update: Google I/O will be held on May 10 and 11. It would make sense for the company to announce the new product at the developer event.

In a recent blog post, Jambool specified that its Social Gold product will function through May 31, 2011, after which all payment processing will be discontinued:

We are hard at work developing a web-based, in-app payments solution that combines the simplicity of the Jambool API with the power of the Google Checkout and Google accounts infrastructure. We’re very excited about the ease of use of the new system, with features such as one-click purchasing.

While this work is underway, we made the difficult decision to close new signups to the Social Gold platform today and will discontinue all payment processing on May 31, 2011. Existing developers will be able to continue processing payments through Social Gold until the end of May and log in to the Social Gold merchant console through September.

The Google in-app payments system will enable developers to easily accept payments within an app. This is the first version, and we will focus our investment in this API moving forward. Developers should expect the same innovation, and more, from us on this new platform.

Update 2: Google stresses that this announcement is regarding ‘web-based, in-app payments’ as indicated in the above blog post, and not Android Market, which is still set to get in-app payments support in Q1 2011. Sorry for the confusion.

(Thanks to Sagada Hapiness for the tip)

P.S.: Through carrier billing, Android developers were already able to process in-app transactions using solutions from the likes of Zong, PayPal and BOKU. Angry Birds developer Rovio even went for payments by SMS, underscoring the need for Google to get this in-app payments product up and running as fast as possible.

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