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Google’s Play Store New Updates to Eliminate Fraudulent Android Apps

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On April 16, 2020, Google announced that it’s making a range of policy changes to eliminate fake apps from the Play Store. The policy updates of the Android marketplace aim to offer users increased control over the way their details are used. Also, the updates will strengthen subscription policies and eliminate deceptive apps or media from becoming available in the store. Apps that overcharge users for standard functionalities via subscriptions will no longer be part of the Play Store. Because of the highlighted free trials, most customers don’t realize they’re subscribing to expensive packages. Read on to learn more about the variety of changes made to Google’s Play Store, which affect subscriptions, background location permissions for Android 11 users, and deceptive app behaviors.

The Subscriptions Policy

Google states that developers must mention if users need a subscription to enjoy parts or all of the app’s functionalities. If a user must subscribe to the app, they’ll receive a prompt to pay, which they can dismiss. The app must also mention the subscription cost and the billing period’s frequency. If a free trial is available, the developer must mention the period of the free trial and the cost of conversion to a paid subscription. Another safety net added by Google is that before a free trial ends, users will receive an email stating that they’ll be charged from that moment forward. The same applies to subscriptions ranging from 3 months up to 12 months. Google will also notify users that uninstalling the app won’t automatically cancel the subscription. Although the Play Store may lose some customers, the Android marketplace will become more trustworthy and safer.

Location

Location tracking permissions, which are requested by apps, will also change. Historically, Android hasn’t focused on location permissions, but the release of granular phone permissions and location privacy control have been game-changers. Android 11 only allows location access to apps, which are whitelisted and approved by Google. Google found that the apps can provide an excellent experience to customers even if the location is accessed during the time it’s active and in use. The company found no benefits to the app’s background location tracking.

The Deceptive Behavior Policy

Google is releasing updated regulations around deceptive apps and content. Google’s policy used to ban apps, which attempted to deceive customers including apps boasting impossible functionalities, those which created fake content listings or included features that copied Android OS. The new policy aims to ensure that apps are transparent about their content and behavior. It’s Google’s way to prevent content manipulation from appearing in the Play Store. The update won’t affect apps, which allow users to make fake content for entertainment such as swapping faces onto GIFs. These apps will be exceptions to the rules and fall under the “parody” or “satire” categories.

Conclusion

In Google’s release of the updates, the company announced it understood that people are struggling, which is why they’re minimizing any impact of the updates. The changes won’t cause mass banning from the Play Store or a cleanout of the Android marketplace. But the updates will create a better policy ecosystem for the store’s future and improve customers’ experience.

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