Google Checkout Blog

Inside in-app payments with Vikas Gupta

Friday, April 15, 2011

In-app payments technology has been making headlines with the recent launch of in-app billing for Android apps. But introducing this service for Android developers is just the beginning. A team of Googlers has been hard at work developing an in-app payments API for web apps as well. We decided to sit down with Vikas Gupta, Head of Consumer Payments at Google, to talk about what’s coming for in-app payments for web applications.

Q: Let’s start with an easy one first. You’ve been at Google for about 7 months now after your company Jambool was acquired last fall. How has the transition been?
A: It has been very exciting to bring Jambool’s technology to Google. With Social Gold, we brought a core difference to the online payments world by enabling a seamless, in-app purchase flow. Within a short time here, we are beginning to bring the same frictionless purchase experience to web applications on Google.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in creating an in-app payments product?
A: The challenge with innovating in the payments industry is actually not the payments processing element. It is almost invariably with everything else besides payments such as customer experience, pricing, risk management, identity, receipts, dispute resolution and a lot more. The primary challenge around building a seamless experience is getting out of the way of the customer and letting them get the goods they are looking to buy without ever leaving the application. In-app payments are very much about quick and convenient purchases, and in many ways it requires us to re-think all aspects of a payments platform.

Q: Is this where you see the integration with Google infrastructure improving the Social Gold in-app payments experience?
A: Yes, absolutely. Google does many of these things, such as risk management and identity, at a much larger scale. As we get ready to launch the new API for web in-app payments, we are focused on combining our expertise with Google scale. For example, there are many, many more customers who can purchase items within apps with a single click on Google. Now that is a huge asset that we can bring to application developers.

Q: What do you think matters most to developers looking to implement an in-app payment solution?
A: In-app payments are about enhancing, and not disrupting, a user’s experience in an app. Once the user decides to buy, the purchase experience should be as seamless as possible. Besides the truly seamless purchase experience, the in-app payments API should also enable developers full control of the application or game experience. We’re very excited to build the new web in-app payments solution in a way that Google users can login and pay with their existing Google account, while always staying within the application.

Web developers interested in learning more about about Google In-App Payments should submit their information. US Android developers can start implementing In-app Billing now.