Why Google shortening the app return period isn't all bad

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: December 12, 2010

Yesterday, Google gave notice that they would soon be giving Android Market a much needed update for all devices running 1.6 or higher. For something that is needed as much as a Market update, you would expect it to be well received, but that was not the case. Along with the update comes a much smaller time window for returning and refunding application purchases.

Google has spoiled us thus far by giving us 24 hours to return paid applications. If the application doesn't suit your needs or tickle your fancy within the first day, you can simply return it and get your money back. After the update though, that will be reduced to a mere 15 minutes. This announcement was followed by a flurry of hate-filled tweets on my Twitter timeline, and I initially had a negative reaction as well. However, after thinking about it for a few minutes, it isn't as bad as it seems and here's why:

  • You at least still have a return period. There are some iPad applications that I've bought and after trying them, I really wish I hadn't.
  • 15 minutes is plenty of time to browse through the highs and lows of an application and tell if it's what you were looking for. If it isn't, return it right away, or don't buy it until you know you're going to have plenty of time to check it out.
  • Most paid applications in Android Market have lite versions or limited trial versions you can try out first.

Sure, it isn't as relaxed or lenient as it once was, but it isn't so bad. This aspect of the update is to help the hard working developers out. The people that are truly upset by this are more than likely ones guilty of abusing the system, not everyone though. I see why people are a little upset though. 24 hours to 15 minutes is a huge change, drastic at best. I don't think it would have been Too hard for Google to settle on 30 minutes or an hour instead, but 15 minutes, in all reality, shouldn't be terribly hard to cope with. I know how difficult and vicious and competitive the dev world can be, and anything that makes it less of a headache for the Android code-monkeys, is alright by me.

As for the rest of the update, it's headed in the right direction, too. Having a little hands-on time with it, I've noticed that nearly every aspect of it is faster and a much more pleasing experience. The UI has been overhauled and simplified, removing a few unnecessary steps in the purchasing of applications and making it a little more pleasing on the eyes. When you tap "install" it no longer takes you to a separate permissions page. The button that said "install" turns into the "Accept permissions" button and speeds things up quite a bit.

I'm really liking the direction Google is taking Android with all of their recent changes. I'll admit, I was skeptical at first, but Gingerbread, the new Market, and things expect to see in the future are proving to be very impressive. It looks like they're working hard to show Microsoft what they're really up against.