Google has recently updated its set of rules that developers must follow when distributing apps on the Google Play store. The updated rules are designed in part to guide developers in promoting their apps. The rules prohibit apps from promoting themselves through deceptive ads (for instance, by simulating a Google service or app notification), misleading install tactics or unsolicited SMS messages. Google has also expanded its restrictions on acceptable app behavior, curbing “erotic” content, links to malicious software and apps that alter a device’s browser settings or bookmarks.
Google’s new policy also increases transparency surrounding in-app purchases: “If your product description on Google Play refers to in-app features to which a specific or additional charge applies, your description must clearly notify users that payment is required to access those features.” These changes should help to boost confidence in the ever-expanding mobile app ecosystem.
Also, note that while not a new addition to the Policy, developers should be aware of the approaching August 1st deadline for moving app tracking based on the “Android ID” to the new “Android Advertising Identifier.” After the deadline, all apps may track using only the Advertising ID and may not link it to any persistent identifier such as a MAC address without the explicit consent of the user. For more information on Google’s developer policy, visit the Android Police site.