Google has made a number of changes to its developer program policy in an attempt to clean up Google Play.
The changes highlighted in Google’s email out to the Android developer community last week have one common goal; improve the quality of apps in the Play store and in turn improve the user experience. We’ll go through each of the main changes in detail below.
Ad supported apps tend to be a more profitable approach than paid apps and Google wouldn’t want to discourage ad-based venue. However, some app developers include obstructive full screen ads and force users to click ads or enter details to artificially drive ad revenue. This provides a poor user experience and one of Google’s changes officially prohibit these types of aggressive ads. The changes also make app developers responsible for the ads that appear in their apps. If an ad breaches Google’s policy then the whole app will be pulled. Google can be certain of the quality of apps improving – fantastic news for the user!
App purchases and in-app purchases must now use Google Play’s payment system. Google’s action to unify payments into one central system is great news for the users who should feel much more comfortable in the knowledge that app purchases are being done securely through Google. It also provides consistency between app purchases and in-app payments. Not so good for apps that have implemented their own payment processors.
Spammy apps and malware have been criticisms of Google Play for a while. With no approval process, developers have been able to upload spam and junk apps to Google Play for unknowing users to download. This is a very welcome change in policy, one that has been needed for a long time. Whilst we cannot be sure how Google plan to police this moving forwards, we do know that developers have 30 days to fix any issues that might breach Google’s new policy, after which the apps will be removed by Google. As far as we are concerned 30 days is far too long!
Another change to the Android developer policy is regarding the theme of apps and icons. Google is going to be taking a close look at the names and app icons of each app to try and cleanse Google Play of all copycat apps out there Any apps that look “confusingly similar to existing system apps” will be removed from Google Play.
This has been a long time coming. Despite Android’s rise, it has always suffered from a small minority of developers who seek to extract data and disrupt the user experience. The new changes to the Play store content policy will be great for Android users and reduce the spam and junk apps that have cluttered the store since the beginning.