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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Google shuts down billing for Google Play in Russia

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One by one, the U.S.-based tech products and services are disappearing from Russia.

The latest in line are all payment-based Google and YouTube services in Russia, as the country’s war with Ukraine continues. Reuters, which first reported the news, says it’s due to Western sanctions, which are starting “to pose banking challenges in the country.”

This has numerous consequences for users of Google services in Russia. Perhaps the most important is the fact that users in Russia won’t be able to buy apps or games from the Google Play store.

“Due to payment system disruption, we will be pausing Google Play’s billing system for users in Russia in the coming days. This means users will not be able to purchase apps and games, make subscription payments or conduct any in-app purchases of digital goods using Google Play in Russia,” said Google in a notice on its help pages.

Free apps and games are still available for users in Russia, however.

Similarly, monetization features on YouTube have also been paused.

“We’ve recently paused all Google and YouTube ads in Russia. As a follow-up, we’re now extending this pause to all our monetization features, including YouTube Premium, Channel Memberships, Super Chat and Merchandise, for viewers in Russia,” YouTube told Reuters in a statement.

Reuters says that YouTube channels in Russia will “still be able to generate revenue from viewers outside of Russia through ads and paid features,” though this will surely be a big hit for Russia’s YouTubers.

The decision follows similar steps taken by other step giants including Apple, Microsoft, Spotify, and Airbnb, all of which came as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February. Google’s suspension of payment-based services appears to stem from banking issues — which are due to the West’s sanctions on Russia’s banking system – but it’s one more step towards the total isolation of Russia.

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