Google firms up Play Store developer policies, promises to police spammy and malicious apps

Daniel Bader

August 1, 2012 10:25am

Google has sent out an email to its thousands of developers outlining changes made to its app publication policies. Most of the new entries revolve around the need to keep spammy and malicious apps out of the hands of users, many of whom are not familiar with what is “original” and “fake.” For example, there have been many copycat apps published in Google Play that pretend to be a popular game such as Temple Run but instead harvest system information or attempt to install malware.

The core tenets of the changes are as follows:

– We’ve added clearer details to the payment policy, and guidelines on how we will handle cancellations in our new subscription billing feature

– We are restricting the use of names or icons confusingly similar to existing system apps in order to reduce user confusion

– We are providing more detail on the kinds of dangerous products that are not allowed on Google Play. For example, apps that disclose personal information without authorization are not allowed.

– We are giving more examples of practices that violate the spam policy

This should hopefully put an end to spammy ad SDKs such as AirPush, and limit the ways in which free apps can show advertisements. Another fantastic stipulation is of how ads are shown within the app: “It is important to us that ads don’t negatively affect the experience by deceiving consumers or using disruptive behavior such as obstructing access to apps and interfering with other ads.”

Google is attempting to make its Play Store more consumer-friendly to the millions of new Android users who enter the ecosystem each month. These policies are a great step in legitimizing the enterprise of Android app publishing and will hopefully lead to proper policing and enforcement of quality.

Source: Google
Via: Android Central

  • haxor99

    This is great, some apps go way too far on the ads and other stuff.

  • CBR

    This is only 3 years too late.

  • yukilis jr

    is bb10 supported on this?

  • maples


  • Tom

    Rules are great, so long as they don’t lead to Apple style (e.g. anti-competitive) abuse.

    Google has never been one to shut down competition, but in their case the danger is that they would be that they would start pulling apps that their carrier partners don’t like (as opposed to one’s that actually break the rules).

    Abuse of the rules by Apple, Google, or who-ever is much less likely is they have to state the reason every time they pull an app – identifying the rule that has been broken.

  • mattprime86

    Google will NEVER pull apps that carriers don’t like. Ever. They won’t even take down videos that police agency ask them to.


  • Hannah

    These changes will improve the Android user experience and will benefit the ecosystem.

    It also means developers might have to re-evaluate their monetization strategies, as effectiveness of some current approaches could decline as they adapt to become compliant. I think we’ll see more paid and in-app purchase models, as well as some new ideas – such as AppKey, a new monetization option that is compliant with these changes, currently in beta and looking for developer partners to help test it out… Hannah / AppKey

  • Wilson

    They must get rid of Smule. All of their apps SPAM me with notifications.

    Songify and Autorap is adware.