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New Play Store Policies Cracking Misleading Apps Will Be Enforced in September

Google Play Store Icon Logo AH 2020
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In April, Google announced new policies and guidelines cracking down on misleading apps in the Play Store. The company has now revealed the dates when these changes will come into effect. Updated developer support documentation on its website confirms that the new Play Store policies will be effective on September 29th this year.

“Effective September 29, 2021, we’re updating our Store Listing and Promotion policy to prohibit spam text and graphics in app titles, icons, and developer names,” the updated documentation reads. So developers have three more months to make necessary changes to their Play Store listings to get them in line with the new policy if they aren’t already.

Apps found not complying with the new policies and guidelines following this date will not likely be outright banned from the Play Store. However, such apps will be “ineligible for promotion and recommendation on major Google Play surfaces like Apps and Games home.”

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Google is finally doing something about misleading app names in the Play Store

Google’s new Play Store policies and guidelines are designed to make search results cleaner. Currently, if you search for an app title in the Play Store, a lot of spammy apps pop up in results. Those apps try to catch your eyes with extraneous descriptions, icons, and names. As a result, some genuine apps often get lost among them.

Google has had enough of all this and announced new policies and guidelines to crack down on such apps. There are some big changes in line. Below are the key takeaways:

Firstly, app titles cannot be longer than 30 characters. Names should not contain unnecessary descriptors or promotional information like “free”, “fast”, or “no ads”. Developers also can’t use text, hashtags, or buzzwords that indicate an app’s performance or ranking. So app titles or icons should be free of things like “#1”, “best”, or “download now”.

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Google is also requiring developers to not include unnecessary capitalization (unless the brand name is capitalized), emoticons, and punctuation in names. Last but not least, the icons and screenshots in Play Store listings should not contain any misleading or irrelevant elements.

As spotted by Android Police, some developers have already started making changes to their app names and icons in line with the new policy. Google itself has renamed “Google Tasks: Any Task, Any Goal. Get Things Done” as simply “Google Tasks”. You can expect many more popular apps to undergo similar changes over the next two to three months.

Check out the “PolicyBytes” video below for a quick recap of the upcoming Play Store policy changes.

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