Google isn’t always met with open arms in some territories, forcing it, at times, to withdraw or hold back. One such case is Iran, where Google does not offer certain services or has been blocked a number of times. That situation could be changing as Google announces the availability of Google Play Store for free apps in Iran.
Google and Iran have not been the best of friends. Google services such as Search and Gmail have been blocked in the past, which was met with outcry even from Iran’s own legislators. Users have found ways to circumvent such censorship but it doesn’t change the general behavior of the government towards the company. Google, on its part, has not made available certain sites like YouTube and, until now, has not opened up its Android market to the region.
Google says that Android app developers will now be able to publish and make their free apps available to Iran directly via the Google Play Store. This opens up a whole new market for developers though it remains to be seen whether it will be received with as much popularity as other Google services. It is also unknown how long this favorable situation will last, given the rocky situation between Google and the country.
Unfortunately, this good news only applies to free apps. Apps that need to be bought or have in-app billing features are still blocked in Iran. Google has not made any indication when it will follow suit or if it plans to make these apps available at all.