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Google slams Play Store password window shut after sueball hits

Woman calls lawyers after kid spends $66 on game powerups

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google has sent out an update to its Play Store giving users more control over in-app purchases after a class action suit was filed against the firm in the US a week ago.

Like the earlier Apple in-app purchases case, a woman has filed in San Francisco blaming the Google store for luring kiddies into spending loads of money in games.

The Apple suit resulted in a $5m settlement last year and $32.5m in refunds early this year.

The woman claims that her five-year-old son managed to spend nearly $66 on Marvel Run Jump Smash! buying virtual crystals and has filed for herself and other parents. The amount is not insignificant but it rather pales in comparison to the horror stories of thousands of dollars spent by unwitting kids, such as in the Federal Trade Commission complaint against Apple where one woman said her daughter had spent $2,600 playing Tap Pet Hotel.

On Google's store, users have to enter a password to make a purchase, but then have a 30-minute window during which they don't have to re-enter their login details. Even in such a short amount of time, kids can rack up hundreds of dollars buying power-ups like coins or extra lives. These can range in price from a couple of bucks to a hundred dollars.

Google sent out an update to the Play Store over the weekend that adds a "Require Password" settings option and a clearer in-app purchase reminder. The options allow users to choose between never being asked for the password, the 30-minute window and a new setting that asks for the password for every single in-app buy. ®

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