Google is banning apps that mine cryptocurrency, taking lead from its rival Apple. The search giant has updated its Play Store policies to explicitly ban cryptocurrency-mining applications. However, there are several such applications still available to download on the Play Store.
“We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices,” Google said in its new policy statement. “We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.”
However, it is not clear whether this change will only apply to new applications. There are still a number of apps that do crypto-mining on the Play Store and they are being clearly labeled as such in description. Over the past few months, Android devices have been found to be used as shadow devices for mining cryptocurrency even though smartphones are not the most optimal device for such an activity.
For Android and Google, the problem is not related to cryptocurrency mining alone but it also has to thwart shady developers engaging in cryptojacking where crypto-mining software are illegally loaded into other apps without user consent.
Cryptojacking has been a problem on the platform for sometime now and Google is finally taking much need action by cracking down on these minor apps. The move follows a similar move by Apple, where the Cupertino-based iPhone maker updated its own developer policies in June.
The difference being that Apple went a step further to ban apps that use coin giveaways as an incentive to get social media engagement or increased app downloads. The change in developer policy from Google can be seen as an extension were it barred crypto mining extensions from the Chrome Web Store early this year.
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Android Police reports that Google has also banned applications that “facilitate the sale of explosives, firearms, ammunition, or certain firearms accessories” from the Play Store. These applications have been found to provide instructions for users to make their own guns/ammunition/accessories, or to convert a weapon to be semi-automatic/automatic. One last change is ban on repetitive content which Google describes as “multiple apps with highly similar content and user experience.”