And now it's Google's turn. A class-action lawsuit was been filed in California on Friday. A group of 100 parents are alleging that Google's policies for Google Play are responsible for their kids being able to run up large bills.
While Google does have an option for requiring a password for purchases, they also offer a 30 minute window where they won't ask for the password again. After signing in to an account, a user (or their kid) will be able to make purchases on Google Play for 30 minutes without having to re-enter the password. Apple used to have a similar 15 minute window for in-app purchases made on the iPad and iPhone, but they will probably have to remove it as a result of the FTC settlement.
That 30 minute window is the lifeline and business model of unscrupulous developers. They inundate kids with offers to buy in-game content which can cost anywhere from $.99 to a hundred dollars or more. Naturally this enables kids to run up bills to the tune of hundreds of dollars, much to a parent's dismay.
So where is the parent in all this, and why weren't they parenting their child?
While one could blame the parents, one could also argue that they had already chosen to be responsible and require a password. It's arguably Google's fault for including the 30 minute window without an option to disable it.
In fact, given that kids spending too much on in-app purchases have been a known issue since at least 2010, you could also argue that Google had plenty of time to be aware of this problem and neglected to fix it.
In any case, they're going to have to fix it now.
image by xJason.Rogersx