There are 2.5 billion active Android devices in the world and counting. But what does that mean for Google? Well, they are the ones providing these devices with apps and operating system updates, which makes them the dominant smart-phone service provider. That means they get to decide what half of the world can watch or not!
With more than 3.5 million available apps, Google Play Store is undoubtedly one of the largest platforms for selling, publishing, and distributing Android applications.
Promoting your Android app on Google Play is thrilling and a vital part of your application development process that determines its ultimate success.
But will your app be accepted, will it reach the mass, and will people be able to download and install it? All these factors depend on how Google creates its demand for the policies regarding app deployment and approval.
Why does Google keep updating policies for the app developers?
There are various reasons for google to update policies. And mostly the changes depend on how app developers take advantage of loop-holes to benefit their apps. But most importantly, it is Google’s responsibility that the content in apps must not be directed towards particular protected groups, child endangerment, inappropriate content, illegal activities, and unapproved substances. That can cause harm to innocent lives.
So let’s move further and understand on what grounds most of the policies are updated:
Google can restrict potentially sensitive content that is spread about an individual or a protected community. They mark the content as restricted content and characterize it as Restricted or Restricted+ depending on the sensitivity of the content.
Google doesn’t allow apps that deceive users by impersonating someone else (e.g., another developer, organization, entity) or a different app. When developers mimic others or their apps, it cheats on users and damages the developer community. E.g., app thumbnails, descriptions, headings, or in-app components to scam users about your app’s connection to another app!!!
Privacy, Deception, and Device Abuse
Google is committed to protecting user privacy and producing a safe and secure environment for its users. Apps that are malicious, deceptive, or meant to abuse or misuse any network, device, or personal data are strictly forbidden.
Spam and Minimum Functionality
At a minimum, Google requires apps to present users with a fundamental functionality and a respectful user experience. Google PlayApps that crash and display other behavior that is not harmonious with a functional user experience are not permitted.
Google Play prohibits any code that could put a user, a user’s private information, or a device at risk because such Malwares are potentially harmful to users. Hence, it strictly prohibits apps containing Malware.
Respecting all the above factors, Google recently updated it’s policies. So, le’s go ahead and see the new changes:
Latest Changes in the Google Play Developer Guidelines
1. Updated “News” App Policy
News apps developers must be aware of new policies on information-sharing such as:
- Accurate contact information for publishers.
- Information regarding the publisher.
- Content must be in simple language and easy to understand
- Refrain from conducting advertising and affiliate marketing primarily.
- Revies and previews must be on display for users.
- Source of the news content must be published in-app.
2. The Update about “All Files Access” Permission
Apps that fall under categories like anti-virus, backup and restoration, file management, and document management, which target Android 11, are now allowed to use All Files Access.
Nevertheless, Google did create an exception for apps that need broad file access to perform core functionality or can’t replicate the former with alternative APIs available.
3. Location Anchoring with AR
AR apps that utilize User-Generated Content, Google requires them to integrate moderations systems to allow images anchoring an AR object on a sensitive location.
4. Families Ads Update
With this update, Google made it plain that for-children apps must refrain from implementing several ad practices, especially those that confuse users about its primary functionalities. Long ads should not be more than 5 seconds are forbidden, except for non-interfering advertisements that use a display timer.
5. Future Advancements in Google Play Policy Updates
This feature is still under the Beta phase, and it’s already available for several improvements on sharing updates about any mobile app development strategy. For one, it dedicated an interface where you can inspect all policy violations that your app has provoked and an Inbox feature to access all policy updates.
In conclusion, many of the Google Play developer guideline changes are involved with improvements and clarifications to developers’ past issues, and that’s undoubtedly a good sign. Policies have to be put as straightforward as feasible, after all. And as far as I have come to the understanding of these newly updated policies, they are indeed a blessing for the users as well as for the developers.