Android Users Can Now Make Charitable Donations Through Google Play Store

Google updates its products thousands of times each year. Google’s search algorithm gets updated 500 to 600 times per year, and the tech giant is constantly rolling out new releases, betas, patches, and updates to its various platforms. However, one update in particular is getting some attention this December.

Just in time for the holiday giving season, Google has released an update that allows Android users to donate to charities through the Google Play Store. Unlike other purchases made through the digital store, 100% of the donations users make will go directly to the charities.

Typically, Google collects a 30% fee for all in-app purchases made through the Google Play Store. The search engine giant has decided to waive that fee for their donation option. The update, which went into effect Dec. 12 2018, allows Android users in several countries to directly donate to non-profit organizations.

While over 14.3 million tons of donated textiles from the United States have done a great deal to help clothe families worldwide, Google’s update isn’t limited to just American giving. According to the blog post announcing this update, written by Google Play’s business developer manager Maxim Mai, countries that will see this update in days to come include the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, France, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Italy, and Indonesia.

This decision comes years after Apple enabled its App Store to process mobile donations to nonprofit organizations in 2016. Apple tends to utilize its donation feature more often during natural disasters, typically collecting donations for the Red Cross. Just this past August the front page of the App Store was accepting donations to help with flood relief in Kerala, India. Apple did the same for the California wildfires that took place earlier this year and for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief in 2017.

This change in policy is notable for Google, as they have made efforts to avoid allowing app developers to process donations to nonprofits in years past. This avoidance was likely due to the regulatory and tax issues that would come from collecting on their standard 30% fee. Google’s decision to forgo that significant cut allows them to process donations without tax complications.

The Google update will see the addition of a “donate” button inside apps for 10 different charities. These charities include Girls Who Code, the World Wildlife Fund, Doctors Without Borders, the American Red Cross, and the International Rescue Committee.