Google has recently revealed that it is taking a leaf out of Apple and Microsoft’s book to introduce an app approvals team. Where, in the past, developers could freely upload apps, now apps will be screened for malware and sexually explicit material before being featured on the Play Store. Google will also be focusing on strengthening its age-based rating system.
Though Google is tightening its controls, there are still standards where Apple has more focus. Apple, as we wrote about in our App Store Rejections white paper, has stringent quality standards that apps have to meet for approvals.
For a long time, Google has automated its app submission process. It used software that is able to screen apps that may contain malware, or reject gambling apps that are banned on its platform. By introducing a special team that screens apps at a closer level, underlines Google’s awareness of the importance of user experience and trust when it comes to apps.
Whilst Google’s team will screen each app to check for anything that runs foul of its rules, Google has promised that apps will become available in a matter of hours, as opposed to the days it can take Apple. Ever since Android came out, it has rapidly improved to become more user friendly, secure and provide a consistent user experience.
In addition to the new review system, Google is also adding the ability to provide age and content ratings for apps. In the past, Google has let developers rate their own apps using its own system. Now, however, Google has said that developers must answer special questionnaires about their apps, to help independent rating organisations assign age-based ratings.
This will kick in from May, with any apps that don’t fulfil the necessary requirement will find themselves being blocked. Additionally, existing apps that don’t seek a rating could be blocked in certain markets, or for certain users.
The change comes after reports emerged last year that Google has been tightening its control over Android with its OEMs, providing a more consistent experience across devices running Android. All of this comes down to trying to ensure a better user experience, where users know they can trust the apps they download from the Play Store.