In early 2020, Google experts were forced to suspend indefinitely the publication and update of any commercial extensions for Chrome. The fact is that at that time a large number of paid extensions appeared in the Chrome Web Store, which were noticed in the implementation of fraudulent transactions.
The ban on publishing and updating affected all paid extensions without exception. So, the restrictions extended to Chrome extensions that require payment before installation; extensions that work on a monthly subscription basis; extensions that enable one-time in-app purchases to access various features. Later, in March 2020, Google developers also disabled the Payments API.
Then the company promised that these were only temporary measures and promised to present a solution to the problem soon, but now Google representatives unexpectedly announcedthat will completely stop the Payments API in the Chrome Web Store, making it deprecated and effectively disabling the store's payment system.
As a reminder, the Payments API was used to process payments, including one-time payments, monthly subscriptions, and free trials of commercial Chrome extensions. Thus, Google is forcing extension developers to switch to using third-party payment systems not related to the Web Store.
The Payments API deactivation schedule is as follows:
- September 21, 2020: you can no longer create new paid extensions or elements in applications. The interim measure, introduced in March 2020, becomes permanent.
- December 1, 2020: free trials will be disabled. The Try Now button will no longer be displayed and free trial in-app requests will result in errors.
- February 1, 2021: existing products and in-app purchases can no longer be charged through the Chrome Web Store. You can still request license information for previously paid purchases and subscriptions. The licensing API will reflect the status of active subscriptions, but subscriptions will not auto-renew.
- In future: The licensing API will no longer be able to determine the license status of users.
This unexpected decision by Google has already caused outrage in the extension community. The fact is that Google does not provide extension owners with detailed information about paid customers, and because of this, many developers find themselves in a situation where they simply cannot transfer their user bases to the new payment processor.