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Google ‘downright’ unhappy over sales of Android apps

by Howard Wolinsky

Sure, sure, Apple’s (AAPL) App Store is glowing, having just reached its 10 billionth download.

So how are Google (GOOG) and its Android purchases faring?

Could be better. A lot better, Android platform manager Eric Chu told the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco.

Oliver Chiang said in Forbes that Chu “knows that though the number of Android smartphone users may be rising quickly, the number of purchases of paid apps in the Android Market is not doing nearly as well,” he said. “In fact, Google is downright ‘not happy’ about the purchases of paid apps.”

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Among Google’s plans to boost app sales:

—Android will introduce an in-app payment system soon, following Apple’s success with this approach. With these systems, users pay for the app, as well as making purchases within an app. TechCrunch said Chu said Google was ready to launch this program last quarter but didn’t because “Developers were busy with their Christmas applications. So we couldn’t get enough feedback.”

—Liz Gannes at All Things Digital said Google has been slow to form partnerships with carriers, and so far has done so only with T-Mobile USA and AT&T (T). Chu said more such billing arrangements are on tap around the world.

—Google will be enhancing the Android Market’s ranking algorithm to make it easier for users to find apps they like.

—Google plans to make the Android Market and Android apps more social, using the Android address book.

—Chu told Chiang: Google is “betting on” the new web standard, HTML5, as a way to create apps.

Chu said: “My team is 100 percent focused on the success of the developers — are users downloading apps, are they buying them? You can expect to see more investment into merchandising, payments, discovery, downloading, those are absolutely top areas for us.”

A transcript is available at Inside Social Games.