Starting in 2016 it’ll be easy to know if Android apps include ads before you download them. Google is requiring all developers that distribute apps through the Google Play Store to declare by January 11th whether or not those apps include ads.

Early next year, users will see an “ad-supported” notice on apps in the Play Store so there won’t be any surprises after they download an app.


Google says most types of display ads count, including ads from third-party ad networks, native ads, and banner ads. Apps with paid product placement don’t necessarily need to be declared as having ads… but Google does suggest developers ensure that any apps with product placement “comply with local laws.”

The company actually launched a limited version of this feature earlier this year as part of its family-friendly content initiative. But now Google isn’t just asking developers of kid-friendly apps and games to participate: in early 2016 you should be able to know at a glance if any app in the Google Play Store is ad supported.

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7 replies on “Google Play Store will let you know if apps have ads in 2016”

  1. About time, though typically the worst offenders are called out pretty clearly in the reviews…

  2. The next step to combat crapware is for the “app stores” to begin rebating you with credit at mobile bandwidth rates for the bandwidth consumed in downloading apps and the continual cycle of updates. The current free ride app peddlers are getting encourages them to push out untested or advertising-laden code and force you through an expensive cycle of updates to patch bugs or dump a fresh pile of advertising onto your device for offline presentation. The “stores” can just bill the purveyor to recoup these bandwidth costs. Hopefully this provides more incentive for quality, tested software and a further reduction in the unpleasant and annoying soft-crime activity we’ve come to know as “advertising.” If I want bandwidth stealing, memory stealing, personal information harvesting advertising I’ll visit web sites… like this one.

    1. Sorry, if you allow app updates over mobile data instead of limiting it to WiFi then that is on you. If you don’t have real Internet and foolishly think you can live only with mobile data, that too is on you.

    1. I suspect they weighed any downside with the upside of good press and the goodwill of their customers. Unlike some people claim, companies like Google aren’t completely immune to their users’ wishes.

  3. Good start. Now flag tracking apps and general gross privacy violators, battery hogs that won’t die, etc. Bonus for an icon for full Free Software/Open Source compliance but honestly it is easier to find those by installing the F-Droid repo since the few Free apps won’t be swamped in hundreds of ad infested repackaged versions of the same darned thing.

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