Google has started giving away paid apps for free on the Play Store. Users will be able to view free apps under a “Free App of the Week” banner in the Family section of the Google Play Store.
Google had announced last month at the Google I/O that it would make it easier to find family-friendly apps on its app store. The company has launched a Family section of the Google Play Store which has apps meant for younger users. The family section currently offers PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger Grr-ific Feelings for free which is originally priced at $2.99.
Android Police noted that until now Google has never offered paid apps for free. Developers can’t change their paid app into free apps and then change them back on the Play Store. The new deal uses an automatically applied discount code that brings the app’s cost down to zero. It’s not clear whether developers can also choose to be a part of the program. It also remains to be seen whether Google is branching out with the free apps, or has made an exception to promote its new Family section. Rival Amazon, already offers free apps every week on the Amazon App store.
In March, Google revealed that it has been using a team of app reviewrs to enforce its developer policies in the Google Play Store. To access the system, app developers have to sign into their Play developer console to complete a ratings questionnaire for each of their existing apps, or risk getting their apps blocked. Google says that it has been reviewing the Play Store apps for the past six months and developers have not noticed any change. Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development for Google Play stated, “We started reviewing all apps and games before they’re published – it’s rolled out 100%. And developers haven’t noticed the change.” From May, the Internet giant also introduced an age-based rating system within its Play store for consumers. Google states that all new apps and updates will need to have a completed rating questionnaire in order to be published on Android’s official app store. The apps will include official rating labels where available or will otherwise show a “generic age-based” rating.
The government will be soon introducing interactive voice response systems together with various other methodologies of integrating buyer-seller platforms through mobile apps to make mobile telephony the most potent and omnipresent tool for agriculture governance, administration and development, an official said.
“A large, stupendous scope of work is on the anvil to reach out to the farmer and to change his life,” said Additional Secretary, Agriculture, Raghav Chandra at the inaugural session of a seminar ‘Mobile: Transforming Agricultural Value Chains Enabling e-Kranti’ organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
“Increasingly there is the realization that use of information technology has to become more pervasive and that is perhaps the only way we can achieve the next green revolution,” he said. Chandra noted that is the reason a national e-governance plan has been carved out also in the field of agriculture, which includes the use of internet, touch screen kiosks, agri-clinics, private kiosks, mass media, common service centres, kisan call centres, integrated platforms and others along with physical outreach of extensional personnel equipped with projectors.
Talking about the significance of agriculture in India, he said 13.7 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is contributed to by agriculture and 56 percent of India’s population is directly connected with agriculture. ”India is about 17 percent of world’s population, that is, about 8-9 percent of world’s population is connected with Indian agriculture,” Chandra said.
Microsoft is expanding the reach of its Office apps and Skype to more partners. The software giant will pre-install the Office and Skype apps on Android tablets from OEMs like LG, Sony, Haier and others.
Under the new partnership, Office apps like Word, Excel and Powerpoints, OneNote, OneDrive along with Skype will be pre-installed on a total of 20 partners. Microsoft noted that the apps will arrive on a new upcoming LG tablet as well as the new Sony Xperia Z4 tablet over the next 3 months. The company has reached to a total of 31 partners with this agreement.
Earlier in March, Microsoft partnered with with global OEMs Samsung and Dell, eight regional OEMs and top original device manufacturer Pegatron to pre-install Office apps and services on Android devices. The latest move comes in line with the “mobile-first, cloud-first” strategy that is initiated by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Just few days back Microsoft announced that its digital voice assistant Cortana is coming to Android and iOS.
Google Now is about to become even more useful to the users, as it is the app gives out the handy information in the form of cards and now it has added 70 more third-party apps to its platter. Among these 70 apps there are few India-centric apps too, which are directed towards fetching the important information encompassing food, travel, banking and much more.
Earlier this month, Google has already extended its ‘Now’ support to Indian apps such as, Economic Times, BookMyShow, Meru Cabs, and ICICI Bank and now in the latest development, it has added more apps, such as, Gaana, Zomato, Cleatrip, Foodpanda, CricBuzz, Quickr, Kotak Mahindra bank, m-Indicator, and Commonfloor.
These latest additions will make sure that users do not miss any information and are updated with what’s going on around them. These apps will display a detailed info on Google Now and will keep users in sync with the important info from the apps, eliminating the need for users to actually open each app. Update Google Now by simply opening the Play Store and updating the app in the “My apps” section, so that you will get the latest version with card support.
Moreover, Google is also providing the Gmail markup integration, which gathers details from your Gmail and searches for the services mailed to the users. There is one more addition to the travel apps, it now supports Redbus too along with other apps that were already there, such as, Makemytrip, Yatra, Cleartrip, Goibibo, BookMyShow and Jet Airways.
Airtel has launchedAirtel Zero, a new platform that will offer users access to selected applications and services such as chat apps, e-commerce apps, gaming portals and other Internet-based services without any data charges for Airtel customers. Airtel will be partnering with several e-commerce companies and start-ups to offer free access to their apps. It will launch first on Android and iOS platforms.
Commenting on the new platform, Srini Gopalan, Director, Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel, said:
We are excited to launch ‘Airtel Zero’, which is an open and non-discriminatory marketing platform for all developers in India – irrespective of the size of their business. We believe that this platform is consistent with India’s Digital Inclusion agenda and also contributes to the government’s ‘Make in India’ vision by providing a platform to millions of small businesses to reach out to the end consumer. successful pilot phase, we are seeing a lot of interest from businesses across the board, including several small startup firms, and expect a large number of applications to sign on.
Talking to The Hindu Business Line if this platform goes against net neutrality, Srini Gopalan said “This is an open platform with non-discriminatory pricing, and we believe it will be a win-win for customers and e-commerce players”. Reliance Communications recently partnered with Facebook to offer access to several websites and services as a part of Internet.org initiative.