News about Indian developers being allowed to charge for apps on the Google Play store has been dismissed. In what had been an encouraging piece of news, it was reported yesterday that India had made it to Google’s official list of countries where developers could register as certified Google Checkout merchants, thereby being allowed to put out paid apps. India, however does not feature on Google’s list anymore.’s Ashish Sinha writes, “So for India based Android app developers, things are back to what it was earlier – i.e. you cannot sell paid apps in the Play store (some workaround here). We have asked Google to update us on the final status (or was it some drunken employee updating the support page?). For sure, Google needs to revisit this strategy. If not, Microsoft is going to snatch away these Android app developers with a better integrated strategy (it’s already happening).”

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India does not feature on the list

Indian developers, earlier needed to go to a country where Google Checkout merchants are allowed, such as the US, and register a local bank account in the name of a US resident, in order to sell apps on the Google Play Store. With reports about India featuring on that list, it did seem as if troubles were over. Now, however things stand the way they were.  

Smartphone apps are serious business, though developers of Android apps were left in limbo. In India, developers were only allowed to publish free apps, and this had limited the potential for innovative apps because of lack of incentive. 

Reports yesterday quoted P R Rajendran, Director of Next Wave Multimedia, a Chennai based company as saying, “We have lived with this condition for some time now where we literally run two companies, and are subject to dual taxation”. He added further that, “This is a welcome move on the part of Google”. Rajendran's company was reported as having published more than ten apps on both Apple iTunes as well as Google Play. 

Google recently launched in India services that were previously unavailable in the country. Earlier this month, Google launched its voice guided turn-by-turn Navigation service in India. Google Maps Navigation makes good use of the long-standing features of Google Maps for mobile. The features include powerful Google search and voice search capabilities, which allow users to find local destinations by typing or speaking an address or business name. 

Voice search on Google Maps Navigation is only available in English yet. Google’s search tools go a distance in assisting the user. For instance, ambiguous queries and words that are misspelled are corrected and clarified without requiring the user to enter an exact address, and the optimal route from origin to destination is quickly calculated.

Importantly here, although Google Maps app itself is a free download from Google Play and the access to navigation isn’t charged for either, the Google Maps app does require an Internet connection and users are responsible for any mobile data charges they incur while using the app.

Speaking at the launch of these services, Darren Baker, Product Manager for Google Maps, said, “Our goal in developing Google Maps is to provide users with the most comprehensive and accurate online maps in every country, and to share the features and benefits of Google Maps as widely as we can.”

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