New Merchandising and Billing Features on Android Market

Following on last week’s announcement of the Android 3.0 Preview SDK, I’d like to share some more good news with you about three important new features on Android Market.

Android Market on the Web

Starting today, we have extended Android Market client from mobile devices to every desktop. Anyone can now easily find and share applications from their favorite browser. Once users select an application they want, it will automatically be downloaded to their Android-powered devices over-the-air.

Android Market on the Web dramatically expands the discoverability of applications through a rich browsing experience, suggestion-guided searching, deep linking, social sharing, and other merchandising features.

We are releasing the initial version of Android Market on the Web in English and will be extending it to other languages in the weeks ahead.

If you have applications published on Android Market, we encourage you to visit the site and review how they are presented. If you need additional information about what assets you should provide, please visit Android Market Help Center.

You can access Android Market on the Web at:

Buyer’s Currency

Android Market lets you sell applications to users in 32 buyer countries around the world. Today we’re introducing Buyer’s Currency to give you more control over how you price your products across those countries. This feature lets you price your applications differently in each market and improves the purchase experience for buyers by showing prices in their home currencies.

We’ll be rolling out Buyer’s Currency in stages, starting with developers in the U.S. and reaching developers in other countries shortly after. We anticipate it will take approximately four months for us to complete this process.

We encourage you to watch for the appearance of new Buyer’s Currency options in the Android Market publishing console and set prices as soon as possible.

In-app Billing

After months of hard work by the Android Market team, I am extremely pleased to announce the arrival of In-app Billing on Android Market. This new service gives developers more ways to monetize their applications through new billing models including try-and-buy, virtual goods, upgrades, and more.

The In-app Billing service manages billing transactions between apps and users, providing a consistent purchasing experience with familiar forms of payment across all apps. At the same time, it gives you full control over how your digital goods are purchased and tracked. You can let Android Market manage and track the purchases for you or you can integrate with your own back-end service to verify and track purchases in the way that’s best for your app.

We’ll be launching In-app Billing in stages. Beginning today, we are providing detailed documentation and a sample application to help you get familiar with the service. Over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out updates to the Android Market client that will enable you to test against the In-app Billing service. Before the end of this quarter, the service will be live for users, to enable you to start monetizing your applications with this new capability. For complete information about the rollout, see the release information in the In-app Billing documentation.

Helping developers merchandise and monetize their products is a top priority for the Android Market team. We will continue to work hard to to make it the best marketplace for your to distribute your products. For now, we hope you’ll check out these new features to help you better deliver your products through Android Market.

A new look for Google Translate for Android

When we launched the first version of Google Translate for Android in January 2010, we were excited about the year ahead. For the first time, we were bringing the capabilities supported on Google Translate—like machine translation, romanization of non-Roman scripts and spoken translations—to the Android platform. We also offered voice input to let you speak the word or phrase you wanted to translate instead of typing it in, and SMS translation so you could translate SMS messages sent to you in foreign languages.

Today, we’re refreshing Translate for Android with several updates to make the app easier to interact with. Among other improvements, we’ve created better dropdown boxes to help select the languages you want to translate from and into, an improved input box, and cleaner icons and layout.

We also want to let you in on an experimental feature that’s still in its earliest stages—Conversation Mode. This is a new interface within Google Translate that’s optimized to allow you to communicate fluidly with a nearby person in another language. You may have seen an early demo a few months ago, and today you can try it yourself on your Android device.

Currently, you can only use Conversation Mode when translating between English and Spanish. In conversation mode, simply press the microphone for your language and start speaking. Google Translate will translate your speech and read the translation out loud. Your conversation partner can then respond in their language, and you’ll hear the translation spoken back to you. Because this technology is still in alpha, factors like regional accents, background noise or rapid speech may make it difficult to understand what you’re saying. Even with these caveats, we’re excited about the future promise of this technology to be able to help people connect across languages.

As Android devices have spread across the globe, we’ve seen Translate for Android used all over. The majority of our usage now comes from outside the United States, and we’ve seen daily usage from more than 150 countries, from Malaysia to Mexico to Mozambique. It’s really rewarding for us to see how this new platform is helping us break down language barriers the world over.

Translate supports 53 languages, from Afrikaans to Yiddish, and voice input for 15 languages. You can download the application, available for devices running Android 2.1 and above, by searching for “Google Translate” in Android Market or by scanning the QR Code below.

Put down your language learning books, we’ve got transliterated tiles in the API!

Posted by Pamela Fox, Maps API Team

Due to the usage of non-latin characters in languages like Russian, and our decision to label countries and cities in their native tongue, I’ve always found browsing foreign countries in Google Maps to be quite the educational experience. How else would I have discovered that other languages have such pretty swirly letters? Unfortunately, it’s also quite a frustrating experience when you’re actually trying to find some place in those countries (“Tokyo! SHOW ME TOKYO!! aRrrgghghH!”). Well, thankfully the Google Maps team has now made it easier to have both an educational and satisfying experience with the recent introduction of transliterated tiles for Russia, Greece, Japan, and Thailand.

For users with a browser setting for the native languages of those countries, they’ll continue seeing the tiles with just the labels in that language. But for everyone else, they’ll see tiles with both the labels in the native character set and in the latin character set below it. You can trust the language setting to get that effect in the Maps API, or if you’d like, you can force a particular output in both the Javascript and Static Maps API by appending the”hl” parameter to the script src or image src with the desired language value. Experiment with the various language/country combinations in the example below to see this in action in both the Static and Javascript APIs:

Link to example of transliterated tiles in the API