Google’s new Play Store policies target bothersome adverts and counterfeit cryptocurrency applications
Google is attempting to reduce obnoxious, unskippable advertisements in Android applications as well as general poor behavior in the Play Store. On Wednesday, the business published broad policy updates that update guidelines across numerous categories to be more precise, closing loopholes that developers may have exploited to avoid current restrictions.
Ads are one of the things that will have the greatest influence on your daily phone use. Google claims that the new criteria, which go into effect on September 30th, will assist to guarantee “good quality experiences for customers when they use Google Play applications.” The new guideline states that applications cannot display a full-screen ad that does not allow you to stop it after 15 seconds. There are some exceptions: if you deliberately choose to view an ad in order to earn reward points, or if it appears during a break in the action, those restrictions may not apply.
Google’s existing policy states that advertising “must be readily dismissible without penalty” and that full-screen ad must be able to be closed out, but the 15-second criterion is new. While it is still a bit of a delay, it means you won’t have to suffer through a two-minute commercial where the (small, difficult to see) “x” shows after 70 seconds, right in the midst of a game or while attempting to do anything else.
The new regulations also state that adverts should not be “unexpected,” such as appearing immediately after loading a game or article. Again, the present rules state that surprise disruptive advertisements are not permitted, but the new regulations include further particular instances of infractions.
It’s worth mentioning that ad regulations for children’s applications are more stringent. While Google isn’t making many changes to the sorts of advertisements that developers may display to children, it will make some adjustments to the tools that developers use to deliver such ads beginning in November.
Google is also changing how applications may utilise and apply Android’s built-in VPN (virtual private network) features. Apps will not be permitted to use their own VPNs to gather user data unless they have specific permission from the user, nor will they be permitted to use VPNs to assist users to skip or altering advertising from other apps. Mishaal Rahman, a technical editor for Esper, noted on Twitter that this might assist reduce ad fraud, in which users appear to be in one nation while being in another, but that it could potentially undermine DuckDuckGo’s privacy-focused app tracking protection.
Several more adjustments are included in Google’s new policies. For example, if their app sells subscriptions, developers will be forced to connect to an “easy-to-use, online option” for cancelling subscriptions – the firm did state that links to Google Play’s subscription centre qualify. Google is also clamping down on health misinformation, adding a section stating that applications cannot provide inaccurate information about immunizations, unapproved therapies, or “other hazardous health practises, such as conversion therapy.”
The update also updates the terminology around monitoring applications, or “stalkerware,” stating that any programme designed to follow users must utilise a special marker informing Google what it’s doing and that apps must state in their Play Store description that they may monitor or track you. (These applications are still only permitted to follow workers and children – Google expressly states that using these apps to track someone else, such as a spouse, is prohibited, even if the user claims the person being tracked is aware of it.)
The amended “Impersonation” section has one rather amusing tidbit: in addition to other firms, developers, and organisations, Google’s new guidelines state that developers cannot attempt to fool customers into believing their app is linked with an “entity” if it is not. As an example, Google offers an app with iconography that might lead users to believe it is linked with a government or cryptocurrency initiative.