Call it a crack down, or just a little spring cleaning, but in an effort to keep the Play Store safe for users of all ages, Google is giving Android developers a heads up about some new changes arriving in their Google Play Developer Program policies.
The changes (which Google sent to developers via email) may sound small, but should have a big impact on many of the apps you come across on Google Play. Google’s always had a strong stance against sexually explicit material in the Play Store (it’s strictly prohibited), but today Google is stretching their definition to include even “erotic” content. You know. Like all those “Sexy Babes Wallpaper” apps that are always topping the free charts. End of the world, right? Guess they’ll have to find a new home in the Amazon Appstore because Google ain’t having it.
Besides the banning of smut, Google is also introducing an entirely new policy they’re calling “App Promotion.” Here’s the new policy as found on the policies page:
Apps published on Google Play may not directly or indirectly engage in or benefit from the following behavior:
- Promotion via deceptive ads on websites, apps or other properties, including simulated system, service, or app notifications or alerts.
- Promotion or install tactics which cause redirection to Google Play or the download of the app without informed user action.
- Unsolicited promotion via SMS services.
It is your responsibility to ensure that no ad network or affiliate uses such methods to direct users to pages that make your app available for download.
According to this new policy addition, if you’re a developer and your app shows up in a sketchy ad — no matter if it’s your fault or your ad network’s — your app could find itself removed from Google Play. Harsh? A little bit. But it seems Google’s finally had enough, and they’re now trying to clean up the Play Store’s image of being a safe haven for spam, spyware, or other junk.
In regard to in-app purchases, we recently saw the new badge (right below the app’s title) disclosing when an app contains in-app purchases. Google is taking it one step further by requiring that developers disclose in their Play Store listing when a particular feature (multiplayer for instance) requires an in-app purchase. Nice.
There’s also a lot of new stuff in there regarding ads and some new additions to their spyware section that addresses surveillance and tracking apps. Google warns that any new apps published to the Play Store after today will be immediately subject to these new policy changes, with apps already on Google Play having 15 days to comply with the update or face removal.
If you’re a developer looking for more information, you can view the Google Play Developer Program Policies page here.