Google bans erotic apps from the Play Store according to new developer policies


sexy girl apps Google Play

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:

App Promotion
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.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. First Vine takes away porn & now this…WTF !!!! ;)

    1. Porn is so easy to find it doesn’t NEED to be on mainstream “family-friendly” services. I say, meh. Pornhub and mycandy are still around.

      1. Never heard of mycandy. Thanks for the tip…

        1. Haha ditto.

      2. I find it disturbing than Pornhub has a much better Android app than most companies. Seriously, it’s Holo, follows UI guidelines, and very responsive!

        … not that I’d know

        1. The pornography industry takes technology very seriously. It’s like the HD v Blu-ray battle. Many looked to see what the adult entertainment folks went for. The more efficient outlets for their products the better.

          A lot of developers and other tech companies can learn a lot from porn…

          1. Yep you could say that they’re pioneers when it comes to tech. I think they were the early adopters for web payments/subscriptions.

        2. It’s because Manwin owns Porn Hub, You Porn, and a slew of other free sites. They also own Brazzers, Twistys, Digital Playground, Playboy Online, etc. They’re like the Electronic Arts of porn. They’re full of shady business practices and they love to buy out the competition. Needless to say, money is no object for them.

      3. This isn’t porn they’re banning, its erotica, babes in bikinis and such.

        1. Same thing, Trent. Erotica is a subset of porn.

  2. I remember the stipper live wallpapers, they were the best

      1. Correction: *rubs one out*

  3. Lame move, Google. Super. Lame. Move.

    1. Especially for not allowing porn. :'(

      1. Porn is such a big potential money earner for Google that they need to be able to track your searches…apps negate this ability.

  4. Nooooooooo :'(

  5. Nanny state at its finest. Not that I’ll miss the apps, but I still wonder why the graphic violence is OK, but a boob isn’t.

    1. I guess Google thinks it can control what offends people and what doesn’t. Strange move.

    2. Graphic violence is accepted by society for all ages. Boobs aren’t. It’s just the way things are.

      1. That’s one reason why teenagers are so ignorant when it comes to many sex topics and other health issues. Pregnancy, STD’s, contraceptives… such a taboo subjects for many school districts they’d rather ignore it and pretend folks don’t have sex.

        1. Well I don’t have sex. It makes sad though. But it’s true.

    3. It’s not as bad here as it is in the UK. THAT is a nanny state!

    4. The only reasons I can think of for Google to do this is firstly to make them more conservative in the eyes of corporate buyers and also to stop apps being used for searching outside of their browser which means they lose potential money from ads. I do not think it is as much to do with Nannyism.

      1. Another reason would be that if they’re allowing “erotica” but not “porn”, they have to employ people to scrutinize the apps to distinguish the one from the other, which could get pretty expensive.

  6. Why Google, why??? Even lame apple isn’t doing this stuff.

    1. I think it may be because Google makes its money by monitoring what you are doing on their platform and erotic apps make it hard for them to track you. Apple does not make money from your life (at least it is not their business strategy)..they make money basically from hardware sales so they are not as concerned on tracking your life. YES – they make a bit of money from your life….BUT it is not their main revenue stream like it is for Google.

  7. Oh man, now I’ll have to open Chrome and do a Google Image Search to look at smut, I can’t just conveniently have an app for it!

    1. Side load

    2. Yes…and Google can track your searches. Previously they could not track an app search so I guess Google want to ensure they are getting as much useful information about you as they can.
      They don’t appear to want to not be able to track your life.

  8. @Gamercore:disqus, I found an error in that header picture… It should say “Installed” instead of “Install.” Please fix immediately.

  9. I bet they won’t ban any of the gaylifestyle apps.

    1. “Gaylifestyle apps” doesn’t sound like anything erotic.

      1. The gayvibrator app sounds pretty erotic.

    2. You’re right I still see wrestling apps.

      1. His comment just screams westboro baptist church…

    3. You talking about specific gay-related apps or all gay-related apps altogether?

  10. Google is slowly turning into Apple. Ubuntu mobile needs to hurry up and make its debut.

    1. They’ll be faced with the same pressures and end up making the same choices as Google has. It’s inevitable.

    2. Unlike iOS, you have options for installing apps from other sources with Android. They are not banning them.

      1. Not yet at least. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stopped side loading at some point….for our “protection”

        1. I can absolutely see them trying to stop side loading. It seems to be the direction they are going, doesn’t it? :-[

      2. You can jailbreak iOS so there are other choices…admittedly requires a bit of work.

    3. The beauty of android is slowly diminishing, well as long as they don’t try to prevent us from using other app stores.

      1. Stay tuned.

  11. nice to see them maturing a bit, i don’t see what’s bad about this and welcome the changes

    1. Biggest practical reason I see for Google to do this is to help prevent malicious apps from appearing in the market. So many dangerous apps posing as adult entertainment it’s easy for folks to fall into that trap.

      1. Those people uploading malicious content will just find other apps to do it. Also those people who want “erotic” apps will have to go to less secure sights so looks like two strikes against your argument.

        1. I’m devastated. I’m truly at a loss for words. I’ve no idea how I will continue to carry on in this life. What’s real? What’s not? I’m so confused now…

  12. Glorious clickbait pictures. But really, who cares. Google isn’t banning you from installing these apps, they are just saying go get them elsewhere — they don’t fit our corporate image. Sounds reasonable to me.

    1. I thought their corporate image was Open and Do No Evil.

      1. unfortunately “evil” is a highly subjective term though

      2. More like don’t see us do evil but don’t look behind the curtain. The nice guy image will only last until they’ve crushed everyone else. Then they will show their evil and not care who sees it.

  13. So after reading the whole policy, will google delete such apps? or will they ban the account as well? can anyone share some ideas?

    1. Google will do whatever suits them on the day.

    2. I’ve already heard from one developer whose account was immediately disabled. So much for the “15 days to comply” bit.

  14. I agree that full disclosure of what’s in store for you if you buy an app and keeping close tabs on nasty code and stuff is a good thing, but banning bikini-babes is a little over the top. People will still install these apps, but from less reliable sources with no control of what sneaks in at the same time.
    Google might feel righteous about what they’re doing, but in the end it will lead to more crap in people’s phones.

    1. Apple is closed and you get all the benefits that entails (eg security, child protections, etc). Google are middle of the road…not open but not as closed as Apple. So which ecosystem will now step up and take the position of entirely Open….waiting….

  15. WSHH?

  16. Apple have been doing this for since the app store was created on iOS. I don’t see the big deal. I’m not 14 anymore, and if anyone looks at your phone they just judge you immensely.

    1. Your not 14 but you are happy for Google to treat you like you are. If you are not 14 then why would you accept Google dictating what you can and cannot see????

      1. I can go to literally thousands of other websites to find better content. I don’t think seeing a gif of a woman in bikini dancing terribly is what I’d call good.

      2. Bc google owns the play store…duh

  17. So I assume they will begin by banning Google Search, since that’s the primary app used for finding porn on a smartphone (and Google directly profits from its use)?

    Google needs to stop trying to take over the role of parenting. It’s parents’ responsibility to educate and supervise their kids. If a kid can’t be trusted with internet access which by-default means porn access, then they have no business being on a computer with internet access… which is what a smartphone is. Lazy, inept parents can just get their kids a dumbphone… or, you know, step up to the plate and actually do their job as parents.

    1. Google are just trying to stay 1% less restrictive than Apple – that way they can continue to say they are Open while Apple is not. Google’s butchering of the term “open” is not acceptable. You are either open or closed. A bit open is not is closed. Google should stop using the term Open…beginning with the Open Handset Alliance.

      1. you guys dont really think do you? kids with android tablets/ smart phones dont need these kind of apps. google is still open, you can download them from the internet thats up to you. but what they put in their store is on them any child can put a fake birth date and access sexy half naked pictures in the google play store completely bypassing the child lock their parents on have set on their internet browser so its only necessary.

        also i am quite happy with changing ad policies and such because downloading an app and it automatically installing a bootleg spyware search engine is quite an issue

  18. “Besides the banning of smut” isn’t the word smut a little over the top? If you consider these “Bikini wallpaper” apps smut you seriously need to get help.

    I see this as just another step of Google into being Apple-like. We know how Google loves Apple and tries to be like them. Lock down of sideloading is next, if you do not believe that you are living in a fantasy world.

    1. My girlfriend showed her bra strap to me. She’s not my girlfriend anymore. What a slut.

  19. Why would you download a bikini app when you can just use image search, or something like Tumblr?

  20. A thousand lonely teen boys just went silent. Lol

    1. Maybe they’ll form a new alternative app store, like Amazon’s app store, that only requires the installation of a single app to get their store onto your device.

      1. MiKandi…already around

  21. The quest for p0rn has driven the development of the Internet from its earliest days on. Banning it is just another sign for the steady decline of the Internet, which is now nothing but a tool to collect user data for the government and cooperations.
    The old Internet, which consisted at least to 30% of p0rn, enabled and capacitated the users. The new Internet of mobile devices and spy-apps enslaves them.

    1. I remember the internet before porn. It was techies and academics. It was a sad moment when Usenet discussions started to be swamped with porn spam.

  22. True decision. Congratulations Google.

  23. So is Google banning Craigslist apps? Because Craigslist is the biggest source of free porn on the Web.

  24. We have MiKandi, I don’t see the problem here.

    1. lol forgot about that…i loaded it up back in the day for sh*ts n giggles but it was so full of adds n nonsense i removed it quickly

      1. We hope you’ll come back! We’ve got more apps now, and are working with a bunch of game developers to get some exclusive adult games in MiKandi in the upcoming months.

    2. Someone rang? I felt my senses tingling. Or it could have been something else. But there was definitely tingling involved.

  25. This is selective censorship by Google and also hypocritical, Google is happy to make super normal profits from the Sale of ads for Adult services through its Adwords platform.

  26. Not sure what the big deal is…makes sense if i was a parent id welcome these changes…im not a parent n they dont affect me whatssoever…get your porno elsewhere and keep the playstore professional

  27. This won’t affect The Chive will it?

  28. Censorship should not be Google’s onus. The real people who should be regulating what their children is… you guessed it. Their parents. There should be an adult content category that’s parental controlled. If Google’s really paranoid about it, they could even restrict access to adult content to a google account with a credit card associated with it to ensure age restrictions.

    With that said, who actually downloads “sexy babe wallpaper” apps anyways? I see absolutely zero need for it. Friggen Google search for images will give you a bigger selection to choose from complete with size filters.

    1. I don’t think this is so bad. The OS will still let you install them, and there not exactly hiding Mikandi on This is more like Walmart choosing not to sell porn then a censorship thing.

      I understand the argument that play has a virtual monopoly on the android market, market.. making this a death knell to people interested in selling these apps. But that really is the fault of the public/device manufacturers not Google.

  29. We’re conflicted here at MiKandi.

    In one hand, Google’s even stricter policy on adult content (or what they define as adult. Seriously, I don’t think porn means what they think it means) means more adults and developers will come our way.

    In the other, we’re disheartened to see Google further villianize legal content and the people who want to create and consume it.

    At the end of the day, it’s their app store and they can do with it as they see fit.

    Again, Google cites security issues and user protection as reasons to justify the restrictions in its latest update, and while valid, we sense a broader policy change. We’ve said for a while that Google has lost the balance between openness and security with Chrome. I think we’re starting to see those scales tip on Android as well.

    We notice small, subtle efforts to condition users to not trust anything but Google. Whether it’s a scary warning when downloading a third-party APK on Chrome, associating legal content with child pornography in the same breath, or defining bikini content as sexually explicit. Fortunately, Android gives you the choice to go elsewehere if censorship is not your bag. We just hope Google will enforce their new rules consistently and not give the big brands preferential treatment.

  30. It is about time, a lot kids use Google play and they shouldn’t haft to look at all of that sleazy slim. Thanks Google.

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