Apr 9th, 2013

Quality control has long been a strong criticism with apps and games found in the Google Play Store, one that comes with the whole “open” turf. Now, it looks like Google has finally started cracking down on developers abusing the Play Store’s lax policies to spam and promote their crapware wherever they can.

As reported by TechCrunch, Google’s been doing a little spring cleaning, removing around 60,000 games and applications from the Play Store — an all time high — in just February alone. It seems that everything could be automated and while 60,000 out of approximately 700,000 Android applications may not sound like much, it’s just nice to finally see Google making a strong effort.

Where a good portion of these were the obvious MP3 scraping applications, others, like the newly released Hazard Rush, may have violated Google’s “Spam and Placement in the Store” policy (even if only by accident):

Developers are important partners in maintaining a great user experience on Google Play.

  • Do not post repetitive content.
  • Product descriptions should not be misleading or loaded with keywords in an attempt to manipulate ranking or relevancy in the Store’s search results.
  • Developers also should not attempt to change the placement of any Product in the Store by rating an application multiple times, or by offering incentives to users to rate an application with higher or lower ratings.
  • Apps that are created by an automated tool or wizard service must not be submitted to Google Play by the operator of that service on behalf of other persons.
  • Do not post an app where the primary functionality is to: Drive affiliate traffic to a website or provide a webview of a website not owned or administered by you (unless you have permission from the website owner/administrator to do so)
  • Do not send SMS, email, or other messages on behalf of the user without providing the user with the ability to confirm content and intended recipient.

I remember a time when some sketchy developers looking for greater exposure would upload multiple copies of the same game, only with different names. I’ve also noticed that’s a whole lot less frequent these days. Of course, Google’s policy of not needing to approve apps before they go live in the Play Store (a stark contrast from Apple’s policy) could mean they’ll always be chasing violators, instead of preventing them. I’m sure they’ll come up with some complex algorithm for that in the near future. Has anyone else noticed a whole lot less crap/spam in the Play Store, or do you feel it’s overall the same?