Google has just announced a set of new policies and guidelines for how Android apps can present themselves in the Google Play Store. This is meant to ensure that end users are not misled by app listings.
Google Play Store Clean Up
The company is starting today, Apr. 29, by pre-announcing an upcoming policy change to keep app metadata recognizable and unique, according to The Verge.
App title, icon, and developer name are considered the most important discovery elements on your store listing page.
The first thing that Google will do is limit the length of app titles to 30 characters. It will also prohibit keywords that imply store performance, promotion in the icon, title, and developer name. It will also eliminate graphic elements that may mislead users in the app icon.
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Google does not want apps with icons or apps with text that imply store performance or rank, price and promotional information, or misleading elements, according to 9to5Google. The latter includes the phrase “download now” or putting a notifications badge over icons that incentivize installs.
Also, the Play Store will not allow caps, unless a brand is capitalized, emoticons, irrelevant special characters, or emojis.
All applications and developers that do not meet those policies will not be allowed in the Play Store. More details and the enforcement state date are coming this year.
Google is introducing new guidelines, given how the Play Store is now showing developer-provided assets, like graphics, screenshots, videos, and short descriptions, directly in the Apps and Games tabs.
Starting in the second half of 2021, violations will see apps excluded for promotion and recommendation on major Google Play surfaces.
Australia’s Strict Social Media Law
Google’s update on Play Store is done just in time when Australia warned social media giants about misleading posts, apps, and accessing user information without the user’s permission, BBC reported.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or ACCC, said measures are needed to address Apple and Google’s app store dominance.
Chairman Rod Sims said that Apple and Google don’t only run the app marketplaces, they also complete within them with their own apps. The ACCC suggested giving users and developers more control over purchases.
It is the latest move by Australia to rein in big tech’s market power.
The global dominance of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store has been criticized by app makers for mandatory revenue sharing payments.
Sims added that the ACCC is also concerned with restrictions imposed by Apple and Google, which mean developers have no choice but to use Apple and Google’s own payment systems for any in-app purchases.
The competition watchdog recommended allowing users to remove and replace Apple and Google’s pre-installed apps from their phones.
Furthermore, app developers should have more information about how their apps are made discoverable, while the two tech giants should be prevented from using data collected from their app stores to promote their own apps.
Australia is not the only jurisdiction to look into the market dominance of Google and Apple’s app stores. Earlier this month, Google and Apple were accused by other companies of restricting access to app developers and charging commissions as high as 30% for paid downloads.
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Written by Sophie Webster
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