For the longest time, Google Play has been like the Wild West: a haven of diversity and freedom, but also lawless and potentially dangerous. It was the sweet seduction of a brothel filled with beautiful women, but no way of telling which one wouldn’t give you a disease. Alright, maybe the metaphor is breaking down a bit. What I’m saying is that the freedom of unrestricted app content had a price, being the many exceptionally harmful, malware-filled apps that discreetly download into your phone, making them hard to detect and harder to remove. Worst of all, they usually come bundled in pretty packages that, to the untrained eye, seem completely harmless.
Yesterday, Google sent an email to its many developers outlining the new policies that they’ll have to adhere to in order to submit apps for download, in an attempt to prevent malware proliferation in the Android market. But don’t start those angrily worded emails just yet. These policy changes are all pretty basic, long overdue changes.
The full list of these new policies can be found here, but I’ll give you a quick highlight. Google will no longer allow apps that are sexually explicit, derogatory, or contain viruses or malware. Apps that impersonate other apps or developers/companies, and cannot publish or disclose the personal information of any app user. Apps that are repetitive or otherwise spam-filled will no longer be allowed, either. Google will now be screening apps, and whatever apps break its policies will not be allowed on Google Play. Developers that are caught repeatedly breaking Google’s policies will be banned, as well.
“We are constantly striving to make Google Play a great community for developers and consumers,” Google said in their email. Personally, I think most of these policies are overdue. It’s been a while since I’ve been tricked into downloading malware, but the number of Android users is increasing everyday, and they should be spared the agony of learning to screen apps on their own, a process that involves a lot of trial-and-error.
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