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Google Inc (GOOG) Tightens Rules For Android Play Store Apps

by Aman Jain - April 1, 2014

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has once again increased the restrictions on the eligible Android apps sold through the Play store. The internet giant has lowered the promotional design, advocating more transparency in-app payments and has broadened the scope of spyware to catch abuse.

Detailing on the new Developer Program Policies, Google told via email those apps that do not qualify the new standards have 15 days time from 28 March to comply with the norms or face consequences, which could amount to removal from the store.

Rules must have come earlier

New norms laid by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) include few restrictions, which according to critics, must have introduced a long time ago. Measures like detailing users on when the payment is required for the additional app must have come much earlier.

According to Google, developers should not dupe users on the apps they are selling, and on any in-app services, goods, content or functionality sold.

“If your product description on Google Play refers to in-app features to which a specific or additional charge applies, your description must clearly notify users that payment is required to access those features,” says Google’s policy.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has also cautioned developers to take action against other abuses targeted including promotion through SMS, using deceptive web ads, and downloading new apps without the consent of users.

Implementation more important

One of the interesting limitations is on the apps that collect location of the users without the knowledge. This is one of the most viral problems, but it is not sure whether the new policies would actually bend it in favor of the users as users do not actually read the permissions carefully.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has come out with tougher rules on apps, but it remains to be seen if the new restrictions will be able to curb the more general abuses. Only tweaking the rules will make no difference unless the restrictions are imposed in a right manner. The internet giant will also have to devise methods to restrict developers from bypassing the new rules.

Last week, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) removed apps that were secretly supporting bitcoin. Such apps were covered inside the legitimate software. In February, a report from RiskIQ identified 42000 fake apps available in the Play store during 2013. The number is a significant increase compared to two years earlier.

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