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Google tightens developer policies, makes Play Store a much better place

In the aftermath of the ‘Dead-Trigger cataclysm’ and the relentless agitation which followed from the developer community worldwide, Google has finally stepped up and refined its developer policies.

There have been huge concerns over unmonitored Apps being hosted on the Play Store, primarily over apps which spam, scam or jam Android OS.

Google has already emailed app developers and has reportedly given them a deadline of 30 days to refine the hosted content and to make sure that their apps comply with the newly framed standards. Failing to do so, even after repetitive warnings could even lead to removal of the app from the Google Play Store.

In Google’s words,

“Don’t pretend to be someone else, and don’t represent that your app is authorized by or produced by another company or organization if that is not the case. Products or the ads they contain also must not mimic functionality or warnings from the operating system or other applications,”

So, what all cannot be done, anymore?

  • App developers have to clearly state what their app does and what functionalities it would provide, based on which permissions would be granted. [To avoid scams like Angry bird replica , which robbed Android users of some $42,000 earlier this year]
  • Developers cannot divert users or provide links to websites/apps that passes itself off as an application/service.
  • Additionally, Apps cannot have icons similar to stock Android OS software. (Like Camera, Gallery, etc.)
  • Google has also cracked a whip on materials which are sexually offensive; contain violence/hate speech, host potentially illegal or unethical/ dangerous activities.
  • Also, apps should not knowingly violate the carrier’s or Google’s terms of service.
  • Apps would now also be restricted from hosting/imitating/copying intellectual properties patented by another service/application. (Without prior consent). Failing to do so would result in suspension of the account.
  • Not only apps, but ads would also come in the radar of Google’s new policies. Unsolicited/misleading ads are a strict no-no. Also, ads which pop out before user even opens the app would also not be tolerated. (Thank God!) Changes to the UI without user’s consent are also disallowed. (How annoying is it to find automated shortcuts being created on the home screen?)

Though the rules are well-framed, according to experts, it won’t fully stop the distribution of rogue apps on Play Store. For that, Google would have to follow the Draconian Apple approach by scanning, testing and rectifying each and every app put up on the Play Store.

Would Google imitate Apple in this field too, or is there any workaround viably possible? We think there is, and this in fact is just the beginning.