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Google finally solves the Android spammy app problem – this is how it works



With more than 2.5 million downloads to choose from on Google Play, the official Android app store, it may come as no surprise that developers are doing what it takes to stay ahead of the competition. But as anyone who browses the store knows, the result is not a particularly pleasurable experience with all-caps, emoji and superlatives scattered everywhere.

It seems that Google has finally had enough and is stepping in to make the Play Store a quieter place to browse. The company has posted new guidelines on the Android Developers blog with plans to enforce the new policy “later this year.”

The blog post uses the example of a fictional travel planning app called Crane and provides several examples of what is and is not allowed to move forward. For reference, this is Google̵

7;s idea of ​​what a clear, clean, and acceptable app directory should look like:

Google Play Store Spam Guidelines

(Image credit: Google)

So what kind of stuff are developers currently getting rid of? A big no-no are apps that try to suggest popularity or a recommendation from Google within the lists, either in the title, company name or app icon. Something like this:

Google Play Store Spam Guidelines

(Image credit: Google)

Another popular attention-grabbing stunt is that developers try to include promotional information in the lists. It is not allowed to add price information, mention the lack of ads or highlight a sale, as it appears from this fake list, which is mysteriously both free and for sale at the same time, but you get the idea.

Google Play Store Spam Guidelines

(Image credit: Google)

Then there are apps that use the list and icon to encourage downloads or, worse, trick users into thinking they are updating an app they already own. It is nicely demonstrated here, where Crane has both an “update now” text and a small message icon.

Google Play Store Spam Guidelines

(Image credit: Google)

Finally, Google Play bans the use of emoji, special characters that are “irrelevant to the app”, and uppercase letters (with special dispensation if the brand name is large.) This means the end of lists like this:

Google Play Store Spam Guidelines

(Image credit: Google)

On top of these rules, Google says that app titles will be limited to 30 characters, probably to prevent keyword stuffing and to make lists generally more readable.


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