Android users have long complained about low-quality apps on the Google Play Store that either hound them with pesky ads or create shortcuts of websites on one’s homescreen without permission. Though it is wrong and some might say unethical, there have never been strict guidelines to stop developers from doing so. That has changed though, and Google has updated its developer policies for the Play Store to explicitly block that type of behavior, among other things.
Here’s the list of changes: Also Read - Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) server busy error: How to fix the issue in simple tips
- Apps can no longer place ads or links to ads in the notification bar. Apps can only push notifications if they pertain to the functionality of the app. Google example: “an airline app that notifies users of special deals, or a game that notifies users of in-game promotions”
- Having false or misleading information in any part of the app or app description is explicitly forbidden. This also applies to the developer name and linked website, meaning we should see fewer crappy apps that pretend to be big name games, and other such deceptive behavior.
- Apps are forbidden to modify the settings of the device, change the order of the apps, replace bookmarks, or make other changes to the device without the user’s knowledge and consent.
- Apps are strictly forbidden to place homescreen shortcuts, bookmarks, or icons for advertising purposes.
- Interstitial ads (those that open between two screens of an app, for example) should have visible and easy to click close buttons.
- Apps are forbidden to encourage or incentivize the user to remove other third-party apps (security services are mentioned as an exception).
- Hate speech clarifications – “promotion of hatred against…” was replaced with the broader “content advocating against groups of people based on their…”
- As before, gambling in apps is forbidden, and now the policy clarifies that any app that offers cash or other values as a prize falls in the gambling category.
- Any exploitation of the Play Store rankings is explicitly prohibited, such as keyword stuffing, fake reviews, or misleading app descriptions.
In simple words, apps now cannot send you ads on the notification bar or create shortcuts on the homescreen. An app is not allowed to modify any settings on the smartphone or tablet without the user’s knowledge or that cannot be reversed by simply uninstalling the app. There are also strict rules on the kind of descriptions put for apps and developers can no longer use misleading descriptions, fake reviews or use a lot of keyword tags to attract users. What Google has essentially done is clamped down on low-quality and fraudulent apps on the Play Store and ensured that developers aren’t able to take advantage of any loopholes. You can read all the updated policies here. Also Read - Best casual games for Android in July 2021
Every developer has been given a window of 30 days to modify their apps to adhere to these new policies. New apps though have no choice but to comply with them immediately. Google has also strictly mentioned that apps that violate any rule will be immediately removed from the Play Store.