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Google Play Now Blocks Paid App Downloads, Updates in Russia

Google Play Now Blocks Paid App Downloads, Updates in Russia

Google is now blocking Russian users and developers from downloading or updating paid applications from the Google Play Store starting Thursday due to sanctions.

“As part of our compliance efforts, Google Play is blocking the downloading of paid apps and updates to paid apps in Russia starting May 5, 2022,” the company said in an update on its support website.

Russian developers can still publish and update free apps, with users still allowed to download them from the store.

However, all updates to paid apps will be automatically blocked for compliance reasons according to the new changes.

While users can no longer pay for subscriptions, Google suggests that developers can grant subscription billing grace periods and free trials, which will work “subscription billing grace periods and any free trials.” 

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They can also defer renewals for as long as one year, allowing the users to continue accessing the content without being charged during this deferral period.

“If you wish, you can choose to offer your app for free or remove your paid subscription during this pause,” Google advised in the case of apps offering critical services that keep users safe or provide them with access to information.

Billing system paused last month

Google first paused its Google Play billing system in Russia on March 10 due to sanctions, preventing them from buying apps and games, paying for subscriptions or any in-app purchases.

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On March 23, Russia banned Alphabet’s news aggregator service Google News and blocked access to news.google.com for providing access to “unreliable information” regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecommunications regulator, also asked Google to stop ad campaigns spreading misinformation on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in YouTube videos.

In reply, Google took action against disinformation campaigns regarding Russia’s invasion, blocking the YouTube channels of Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik in Europe at the European Union’s request.

In early March, Russia banned Instagram one week after blocking the Facebook and Twitter social networks, following the Prosecutor General Office’s demands.

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