The end of notification spam? Google exerts tighter security and ad policy on Google Play

August 1, 2012
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With several cases of malware-ridden apps surfacing on Google Play, Google is updating its developer program policies to make the digital playground a somewhat safer place to hangout. In its own words, it is shaming “unhealthy behavior” shown by irresponsible developers that use deceptive app names and spammy notifications, among others.

Google is now restricting the use of names or icons that appear similar to existing system apps or existing products. This should help ensure that users won’t be duped into downloading a fake app like the imaginary Infinity Blade 2.

The list of “dangerous products” that won’t be allowed on Google Play is now laid out in greater detail, banning those that transmit viruses, worms, defects, Trojan horses, malware that can potentially harm, interfere, or access networks unbeknownst to users. Apps that contain spyware, collect and publish personal information without user’s consent can expect to get the boot.

With more developers resorting to sometimes aggressive in-app ads as a revenue source, Google has set a new ad policy on its app store, which dictates that in-app ads must follow the same rules as the app itself.

The in-app ads must not simulate system’s notification, deceive consumers and obstruct access to the apps, such as imposing users to click on them before they can use the app. Ads aren’t allowed to make changes to user’s device, which means no unauthorized auto-installing shortcuts and icons or changing the default settings.

On the payment front, in-apps purchase must now be done using Google’s billing system, instead of using PayPal and any other payment providers. There will be exception for apps that sell physical goods or services, such as those that sell movie tickets.

Developers are given 30 days to make the necessary adjustment in line with the new policy or risk swift removal from Google Play Store.

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