Google starts to police new Android policies

The Mountain View-based company has updated their Google Play policies on Android to the benefit of users, developers, and the ecosystem as an entirety. Let’s be honest – It’s about time.

Since the dawn of Android; users have had to deal with obtrusive ads, whether in-app, or through their notification bars. Some developers add this purely for monetisation, others to promote more applications in their portfolio, and some, more maliciously – lead you to scams.

Let’s start with the most obvious content which is being given the boot. Anything with adult material, violence, bullying, or hate speech will be removed. Serious offences such as child abuse, Google warns, will not only be removed – but reported to the authorities.

The company will also be putting the banhammer down on applications which alter the device outside of the application. Whilst still allowed, it is now a requirement to ask for the user’s explicit permission before any changes are made. It’s doubtful there’s anyone who doesn’t think this is a very, very overdue policy.

Some of these could include applications which install monetising widgets on the device’s home screen and/or shortcuts.

Beyond this, any application which sends SMS, email, or other messages on behalf of users - is also heading to the grave. There are a couple of practical applications which will be missed here; such as SMS schedulers - but overall this should be much safer for users.

One of the most notable changes is around in-app purchases; which cannot be through any third party solution anymore, and must be handled through Google’s own payment system.

So how does this benefit everyone? With less fear (whether of malicious applications, intrusive advertisements, or premium services) comes more engagement. More engagement equals more money for developers. More developers equal more success for Google.

The new policies come into effect in 30 days time, any apps which do not comply with these latest changes will be removed unceremoniously. If you have any fear your app may fail; take a look at Google’s full list here.

Most exciting for users, is how much of an interest Google is taking towards design and creating a consistently great UX lately. A tweet from developer @mschoening who supposedly overseen some screens said: “Judging by the screens of the Google engineers in front of me on Caltrain the next Android update is going to look pretty dope.”

Let’s hope this all carries on, and Key Lime Pie really is design-focused.

What do you think about Google's latest Android policies? Good for everyone?

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