I was doing some routine backup and restore of my apps in between flashing my HTC Hero rom using the awesome Titanium Backup app and came to realize something substantial. If you follow my Twitter feed, you would have noticed the other night I posted that I found a way to get market apps for free. A lot of people asked me how. This is how the other night went.
I thought to myself with my overly analytic brain, that surely if I follow these steps:
- Buy an app from the Android Market
- Install it
- Use Titanium Backup to back it up
- Uninstall & Refund it through the market
- Restore the app with Titanium Backups restore function
I surely would have a paid app for free. ANY paid app I want. This got me thinking more and realized that it would only work if I used the restore “App Only” function and not replace the market entry.
A little further thought made me realize that this means you won’t get any of the apps updates and you can only do it once per app.
I am too afraid to try this as I don’t want to annoy Google or any developers as I firmly believe they deserve the usually small asking price for their hard work. So, I shot an email over to Joel, the Titanium Backup developer and asked him his opinion.
Here is what he said:
“while it indeed works perfectly, I do not encourage this practice – for obvious reasons. With great power comes great responsibility.”
My biggest concern here is that if you abuse this power then you are really hurting yourself long term. Developers will run and not come back. And I believe Google have the power and right to stop you buying from the market again.
Still, I think its fascinating and a serious oversight on Google’s part.