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Google is bringing sweeping policy changes to Play Store app titles, icons

Get ready for more honest app titles and cleaner icons.

Published onApril 30, 2021

HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro Google Play store
  • Google has announced upcoming policy changes to app titles, icons, and assets on the Play Store.
  • Developers will have to comply or risk their app’s removal from the Play Store.
  • The new policies will be implemented later this year, but no official date has been provided.

The Google Play Store is a dizzying mire of apps, especially for first-time users. Some of these deliberately mislead the uninitiated with their catchy titles, icons, and assets. Now, Google is giving developers time to address these issues before it enforces new policy changes later this year.

Announced in a Developer blog post (h/t XDA), Google will restrict developers from embellishing their apps with potentially misleading titles and icons. These new policies will force developers to provide Play Store users with accurate info about their app.

So what are these changes? For starters, app title length will be limited to 30 characters. Titles will also be free of any ranking descriptor or other performance indicators, promotional info, emoticons, or repeated special characters. These rules will also apply to developer titles too. You can see an example of the changes below.

Google notes that apps failing to meet these requirements will not be allowed on the Google Play Store in the future.

What this means for Google Play Store users

The policy changes are a welcome move from Google, but it is a case of better late than never. These steps should make it easier for users to find genuine apps, or at least apps with accurate descriptions and titles. However, it may not directly address other issues like the app cloning problem or the plethora of fake apps available.

The new guidelines also apply to feature graphics, screenshots, videos, and short descriptions. Failing to meet Google’s guidelines on these will render apps “ineligible for promotion and recommendation on major Google Play surfaces like Apps and Games home.”

Google is announcing these changes well before enforcement to help developers get their houses in order. An exact implementation date will be notified by Google later this year.

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