This week, Google had quite a few big announcements. But the bigger ones were to do with the Play Store. Google announced that they are not manually reviewing and approving apps as well as updates to the apps. Or as Google likes to say “human curated”. Apple has been doing this since their App Store was born years ago. It’s what has kept some bad updates and apps out of Apple’s App Store, and Google is hoping it’ll do the same thing with the Play Store. We’ve seen numerous reports come out that there are all kinds of malicious apps in the Play Store, and I believe this is one of the ways that Google is going to try and combat those apps.
So now that Google is reviewing each and every update and app that gets submitted to the Play Store, updates and new apps won’t be published as quickly as they once were. Before, a developer could submit a new app or a new update, and it’d be available to everyone within about 2 hours when the app hit all the servers around the world. That’s going to be a bit longer now. We don’t have any word on how much longer though, just yet. It’s great as it’ll keep malicious apps that we shouldn’t be downloading anyways, out of the Play Store. Which is what I think the real thing is here for Google.
Google also announced content ratings for apps. So now, developers need to fill out a questionnaire for each of their apps (including ones that are already on the Play Store). The questionnaire will automatically generate a rating for your app. These ratings will be based on age as well as region. This is a good thing for Google to add, especially for their Play for Education program. As teachers and parents will be able to limit kids to only using apps with a certain rating. This will mostly affect games in the Play Store, but it also counts for apps as well. As part of the questionnaire, Google is asking developers to indicate whether they are collecting users information and sharing it with third-parties. Which I think is important for users to know, but on the other hand, what’s going to keep developers from lying about that type of stuff? That’s where the manual reviews come into play, a bit.
Both of these moves by Google are important in growing the Play Store, and making it the number one place for Android users. As many of you know there are plenty of Android app stores out there, especially in China. But here in the US it’s mostly just the Amazon Appstore and the Google Play Store. While Google Play does have the best selection of Apps, Google is now making it even better at getting great apps.