Google discreetly banned Android apps that mine cryptocurrency and a number of other content from the Play Store earlier this week, having done so in the form of a developer policy change which hasn't been announced in a particularly public manner. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant hasn't elaborated on the reasoning behind its decision to ban crypto miners, though the latest version of its developer policy clearly states that Android apps designed to manage the mining process on another device are still permitted. The move comes shortly after the company started taking down cryptocurrency-related extensions for its Chrome browser in an aggressive manner, signaling that it won't tolerate seeing its technology used for mining digital currencies.
While some crypto miners can still be found on the largest Android app marketplace on the planet, Google is likely to remove them in the near future. The development will likely only slow down the trend of mining digital currencies on Android devices as Google cannot prevent anyone from developing apps meant to enable such activities or forbid users from side-loading them at their own risk. The company will likely be updating its content review algorithms to prevent new apps with mining code from being published, provided that it hasn't done so already. In practice, the change may also allow it to crack down on malicious apps which mine cryptocurrencies without user knowledge more effectively.
The Play Store is also following suit behind YouTube on the child endangerment front as it now has a zero-tolerance policy for any games or other apps meant to appeal to children that contain "adult themes," leaving that term open for interpretation on a per-case basis. Highly misleading apps which impersonate any individual or organization or are surreptitious about their ownership or main purpose for any reason have also been banned as part of the latest developer policy change, as were those whose primary goal is to serve ads, which may spell an end for coupon services which provided users with product discounts and other benefits for willingly watching ads. Google is now also refusing to publish repetitive apps with similar purpose and design from coming from the same developers, as part of an effort to purge the Play Store of low-quality submissions which were partially or fully created by a set of algorithms based on a template. The new changes are effective immediately and already resulted in some Android apps being removed from the Play Store, according to recent developer reports.