A new day is coming for your Android apps. Google is implementing new Play Store rules for developers in an attempt to eliminate intrusive ads, spoofs and VPNService abuses.
Big changes will be introduced gradually (opens in a new tab) the first rule will go into effect on August 31 and be ready on July 31, 2023. After reading the rules, it seems that some developers in the Play Store are getting away with rough practices, but Google is giving them enough time to clean up their operation. The Play Store also explains the language of a few rules as it deals with erroneous information.
From August 31, applications will no longer be able to impersonate another developer / company, and the application cannot falsely suggest that it is related to something else. Google gives an example RSS News Aggregator application made by Google developer (opens in a new tab). This is an impersonation as custom apps on the Play Store are listed with Google LLC. The developers tried to use the Google name to sell their product.
Google also points to the YouTube Aggregator app using the official YouTube logo. This gives the false impression that YouTube aggregator is the official app when it is not. In fact, it’s surprising that this file advertising rule wasn’t implemented long ago, but better late than never.
As of September 30, “fullscreen fullscreen ads” can no longer appear randomly. Ads will still be allowed; they just can’t appear in the middle of the game (opens in a new tab) or like you scrolling through the product description (opens in a new tab). Whenever full-screen ads appear, they must be closed after 15 seconds. Speaking from personal experience, this is a great change as nothing kills the game faster than an annoying 30 second ad that cannot be missed. Also, September 30 applications must explain how to manage or cancel the subscription service. Developers will no longer be able to hide the cancellation process in the menu maze.
Google is also tightening up rules on apps that use VPN (Virtual Private Network) as their primary feature. Apparently the developers were abusing VPNGoogle service to collect user data or manipulate traffic using advertising. From November 1, VPNService can be used for parental controls, web browsing and device security applications, among others.
And on July 31, 2023, Google will limit the permissions for accurate alarms so that it can only be used in alarm and calendar apps. According to Mishal Rahman, Senior Technical Editor for Espera, this restriction will also extend battery life. He explains that if too many apps schedule alarms at different times, it can drain your phone’s battery quickly. Giving priority to applications where the alarm is the primary function will resolve this conflict.
Google has also updated many different policies to combat misinformation and make sure everything is relevant to the app’s user base. In fact, there are so many changes that we can’t cover everything, so here are some of the more important ones.
Descriptions, screenshots, and titles must accurately reflect how the application works. For example, developers won’t be able to promote their puzzle game app with action-oriented images to make it seem more exciting. Ads must now match the app’s rating. Mature app ads cannot be put into a video game intended for teenagers. Harmful medical disinformation will also be enforced more rigorously. This includes misleading claims about vaccines and selling prescription drugs without a prescription.
Again, it’s surprising that these changes haven’t been made before, but cleaning up the Play Store is always a win-win in our books.
Speaking of the subject of the Google Play Store, the platform recently celebrated its 10th birthday and Philip Berne of TechRadar has compiled a list of 10 applications that he had held on all these years.