Google made a couple of updates to its Chrome Web Store today and with these, developers can now use the store to offer free trials for packaged apps (which are able to run offline). But more importantly, they can now sell Chrome extensions and themes, as well.
Google is now also making it easier for developers to take payments for their apps. Instead of having to generate and serve a payment token for each sale, they can now manage all of their apps, extensions and themes right in the developer dashboard.
Here is an overview of what’s new:
Publishing to the store is now easier, too, as the Chrome Web Store API now allows developers to programmatically create, update and publish items. This means developers who already have an automated build and deployment process set up can now add publishing to the Web Store right into their existing workflows.
All of these changes, Google says, are meant to make it easier for developers to “automate the publish process and monetize all of your Chrome Web Store items.”
Free trials were already available for hosted apps in the store, but this update extends them to both packaged and hosted apps.
Most of the apps that are currently in the store are free, but with the success of the Chrome OS platform — where packaged apps are especially important features — Google is probably hoping that users will also soon be willing to pay for more apps. Many of those may be productivity apps and those tend to be more expensive than your average $0.99 mobile app or based on a subscription model. With today’s updates, Google makes the store much more appealing to the developers who need to be able to offer free trials to make their business model work.
How many people will be willing to pay for extensions and themes, though, remains to be seen, but unlike similar add-on stores, these developers will now at least have the option to sell their goods if they want to.