Google breaks down on the apps published in the Play Store. An updated version of the company's developer policy released this week indicates that the company will now ban a wider range of apps including minicripters for encryption, those selling firearms and accessories, those aimed at tricking children to download applications with adult themes and apps built using automated tools or wizard services, or based on templates.
The latter feature is particularly interesting when Apple did something similar in December, resulting in the developer's setbacks, controversy and even an American congressman handing out Apple to clarify its purpose and review its policy.
While it's true that apps created with templates and wizards lead to spamapps and app store roots, several developers felt that Apple, with its blanket ban, deleted small businesses from being able to participate in the App Store. The problem at hand was the fact that many smaller businesses, nonprofits and other organizations used an app templating service to create their own app. For example, painters and wizards were often used by local restaurants, schools, churches, clubs, and other small businesses that did not could invest in designing and developing own apps.
As a result of the setback, Apple revised its policy, so it only affected developers who attempt to spam the App Store with multiple copies of a particular type of app. Instead of banning all tempted apps, Apple's new policy said apps that became built using templates would be allowed if they were sent by the app's content provider. That is, if the local pizza class wanted its own app, it could submit its templated-built app itself.
Google obviously made a point of not doing the same mistake with its own policy changes.
The new policy only explains prohibition effects:
Apps created by an automated tool, wizard service or based on templates and sent to Google Play by the operator of that service on behalf of other persons are not allowed. Such programs are only allowed if they are published by an individual registered developer account belonging to the user of the automated tool, not the operator of the service.
This more cautious wording ensures that policy solves only the issues of app store spam, and not with small business customers or app development services they use.
Another change to the Google Play policy prohibits apps as my cryptocurrency on devices ̵
In the meanwhile, Google takes an almost moral position with the addition of a ban on apps that "simplifies the sale of explosives, firearms, ammunition or certain firearms." In particular, Google calls apps that sell accessories used to simulate auto fire or convert firearms for automatic fire. This includes bump shares, gatling triggers, slot machines, conversion kits and magazines or tapes that carry more than 30 rounds.
The amendment here follows the approval of several recent state laws prohibiting bump shares across the United States, waking up with an increasing number of shootings. Canon officers believe that loss of life in mass recording may be less if the perpetrators do not have clear access to weapons and accessories that allow automatic fire.
Google does not appear to have been on this category, but:
Other policy changes target different types of misleading apps, including the adult apps that appeal to children (some Google's Google camp has to moderate too, with regard to deceptive video); Apps that only appear to show ads (ads appear after a few presses, for example); and apps engage in imitation.
Many of Google's policy changes address areas of app spam and mess. Apple had already tackled, and announced a year ago plans to clean up the App Store. Its cleanup was so great that the App Store now went down for the first time in 2017. It's now around 2 million apps.
On this year's WWDC, Apple updated its guidelines for securing the App Store, which included its own version of a crypto-mining ban.
Google Play Store needs a similar cleanup. Although Google regularly issues large numbers of malicious apps, it has always been more soothing on spammy apps than Apple. This may allow the store to grow to 3.5 million apps in December 2017. Many of these will now be removed if Google chooses to retroactively enforce its new policy on a scale – which remains to be seen.  (h / t to the Android Police, who first saw policy changes)