Google earlier today sent out an email notification to the registered Google Play developers, informing them that it has made a few changes in Google Play developer program policy. These policy changes revolve around sexually explicit material in applications, new app promotion policy, disclosure about in-app payment and more.
Google has stated that the new applications published after the notification will immediately be subject to the policy changes, however the developers of the existing applications have 15 days to make their apps complaint with the new set of policies. Failing to make the apps in accordance to the policies may be subject to warning or removal from Google Play.
Coming back to the policy changes, here are the parts of Google Play Program Policy that have been tweaked by Google:
1. Apps that contain or promote pornography are prohibited; this includes sexually explicit or erotic content, icons, titles, or descriptions. Google has a zero-tolerance policy against child sexual abuse imagery. If we become aware of content with child sexual abuse imagery, we will report it to the appropriate authorities and delete the Google Accounts of those involved with the distribution.
2. Ads Context: Ads must not simulate or impersonate the user interface of any app, or notification and warning elements of an operating system. It must be clear to the user which app each ad is associated with or implemented in.
Here are policies that have been newly introduced:
1. Apps may not directly or indirectly engage in or benefit from the following behaviour:
- Promotion via deceptive ads on websites, apps or other properties, including simulated system, service, or app notifications or alerts.
- Promotion or install tactics which cause redirection to Google Play or the download of the app without informed user action.
- Unsolicited promotion via SMS services.
- It is your responsibility to ensure that no ad network or affiliate uses such methods to direct users to pages that make your app available for download.
2. Developers must not mislead users about the apps they are selling nor about any in-app services, goods, content or functionality they are selling. 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.
3. Apps and their ads must not modify or add browser settings or bookmarks, add homescreen shortcuts, or icons on the user’s device as a service to third parties or for advertising purposes.
In addition, Google has updated the spyware and phishing related policies to address the surveillance or tracking applications. You can read the updated spyware policies at this link.