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App Trials and Paid Add-Ons Coming to Chrome Web Store

web store paid extensions

Free trials, in-app purchases and paid-for extensions and themes are coming to the Chrome Web Store, Google has announced. 

Developers will now be able to offer users free trials of paid ‘Chrome Apps’ through the Web Store — previously only available to web-based ‘Hosted Apps’ —  that are either time-limited or feature-limited.

Other updates aimed at improving the developer story, including simplified process for uploading, publishing and selling of apps, were also unveiled.

Google says the changes are designed to make it easier for developers to “automate the publish process and monetise all of your Chrome Web Store items”, adding that all of the changes will be available as of today (March 11).

The following chart put together by Google highlights the changes more succinctly:

chrome_web_store changes

Why The Changes?

The vast major it of items listed in the Chrome Web Store at present are free. In fact, I can only think of one for-pay app off the top of my head, and even that is an optional purchase to support the developer.

The current lack of paid apps is not because Google don’t allow them, but because the developer experience has not been compelling enough.

With the success of Chrome OS rocketing upwards thanks to an ever-expanding line of laptops and desktop PCs, and the capabilities of ‘Chrome Apps’ offering ever more powerful opportunities, today’s set of changes make sense. By catering to the needs of  the developer community Google are showing that Chrome as a platforms worth pursuing.

While not everyone will like the idea of paid apps cluttering up the store shelves, I can’t help but think that for many of us, paying a dollar for an app or add-on is preferable to being inadvertently hijacked by extensions infested with adware. 

  • David

    I’m a HUGE advocate for app trials, so this naturally makes me very happy. In the past, I’ve gotten stuck with apps which turned out to be terrible and nothing like the product presented (which I thought I would be buying). I hope that the trials are longer than the pseudo-trial period offered for apps in Google Play, because that is great in theory, but not so much in practice. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to actually decide if an app is good or not in 15 minutes (with the exception of really horrible apps). Hopefully this is something which paid app developers really embrace, because I will definitely consider buying more apps if I can try them.

  • mik straz

    I hope this causes more developer support and brings some big apps to the store

  • Wesley Files

    I’m all for competition to help improve all these categories, but I wish there wasn’t a split between Google Wallet and the Play Store accounts. I’m a bit puzzled why they aren’t united…

  • Efjay

    Free apps, paid apps are fine. Its IAPs that I can’t abide, and the reason I don’t buy much off Play for Android anymore. I liked to play a free demo then just buy the full thing. IAPs feel like a slow bleed. Its something I always hoped Chrome OS would be spared from.

    Having said that, the quality of Chome Web Store apps needs to be seriously upgraded before I’d contemplate paying out money.

  • Chuck Cortes

    I’m not a big fan of paid software when there are free alternatives but am willing to pay if the software is the only or beest alternative and the price is reasonable. One example of a chrome extension I paid for is Gmail Checker Plus. A free extension that the developer asked to make a minimum donation of $.50 for extra features I thought were worth the $.50 where as an extension called Circle scope which is an awesome extension for people who use Google+ but has bit of a costly subscription, $47 a year. Awesome but not worth $47 a year for features I may only use one or twice a year at most if at all.

    However I think this is a great idea, it will definitely help fight those extensions and apps with adware. I just hope they make the price reasonable like the apps for android.

  • Tom Baxter

    No issues with paying for Apps, we shouldn’t expect people to make them for nothing. Looking forward to developers supporting Chrome OS and bringing out solid Apps to enhance the platform with appropriate pricing policies. I do not like IAP’s and concur with others that a one off fee, even if slightly higher, is my preference.

  • Jonathan Copeland

    i totally wish they would let you buy apps online instead of always using the chrome web store

  • Orange Lada

    Love to pay for apps so I don’t get buried in adware.