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.