One of the key differences between the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store has long been that Apple employees manually review apps before you can download them, while Google has taken a more hands-off approach. This lets developers make Android apps available to users quickly, but it also leads to a lot of spammy, low-quality apps in the Play Store… and occasionally apps that contain malware.

But it looks like Google is taking steps to clean things up: Google is now reviewing apps before they go live in the Play Store.

android ratings

The new system has reportedly been in place for a few months, but few folks have noticed because the review process is still pretty fast: apps tend to be reviewed and published in a matter of hours rather than days.

Part of the system is still automated — Google has been using algorithms to scan for malware for a while. The software can also find many other policy infringements so that the folks in charge of the manual review process have less work than they would if the entire process were performed by human beings.

The goal is to prevent apps that violate Google’s policies from making it into the Play Store rather than removing apps once they’ve already been published.

Google has also begun utilizing an age-based rating system for apps & games, following the IARC guidelines. Developers can get ratings for their apps by filling out a questionnaire. Apps will be listed as “unrated” if they don’t have a rating assigned, and that might block them from being downloadable in certain regions.

via TechCrunch

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5 replies on “Google is now manually reviewing Play Store apps”

  1. Baiter title. The article didnt say anything about “manual review”, it said Google has automated reviews. The writer is doing readers a major disservice: article titles that outright lie and only after you read the article will you know its all designed to get you to click.

  2. Took them long enough. I’ve been saying they’ve needed this forever. The apps need better testing and need to be categorized better, freeware, freemium -addonss cost you, adware -Free but with ads, Pay, and if a freeware app has a pay version show both on the same page with an explanation of the difference. And make the programers give an explanation why it needes each permission.

  3. There is nothing worse than having to wait days for a release to be approved (which applies to important bug fix updates, not just new releases), or having to deal with incorrect rejections from clueless qa ppl. I experienced this with Nokia store. Any checks should be quick and automated, so I hope that’s what Google are doing.

    Quality checks should only be those such as interfering with a phone’s operation or if it fails to even start. Otherwise it shouldn’t be the job of Google to dictate what software ppl can use on their devices. (Apple uses this to block anything they don’t like. Given that iphone apps include gems such as fart apps, apps that just display a purity image, or play a single sound, it’s clear apple/nokia’s way of doing things does nothing to improve quality.)

    Apps already have to be age rated, so it’s annoying if this has to be done again.

    1. These things alwasy comes down to lawsuit cover.

      I find myself thinking about “common carrier” and how the telcos ended up accepting it, because it meant they could no longer get sued by religious groups etc protesting various services.

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