October 20, 2014

Is Google's new app policy just a bunch of lip service?

appbrain_unpublished_720w

Remember early this month when Google advised they would be taking a more proactive approach to removing shoddy or spammy apps?  Designed to keep the the Google Play Store a little cleaner and more user friendly, this was to be Google’s way of getting in the way of those apps that violate the new terms of service.  Executed properly, it would go a long way toward user satisfaction and keep us from seeing look-alike apps or titles with intrusive ads.

So, how are things going in the few weeks since the update?    According to Appbrain, Google hasn’t done much at all along this front.

A new blog post on Appbrain tells us that if Google is in fact cracking down, it’s making a minimal impact on the overall numbers.  They found that nearly 58,000 apps have been unpublished from Google Play over the previous 2.5 months, or around 728 per day.  Looking at August 1 on, it shows that things haven’t changed much.

Too early to call it

It’s worth pointing out a few things as it relates to the Google policies and even Appbrain concedes things are not fully in place.  We’ll have to revisit this a few months later, but here’s a handful of factors to consider:

  • The policy applies to all apps effective August 30th, however it was immediately in place for new apps or updated apps since August 1st
  • The chart above reflects all removals from Google Play, even those pulled by the developer.
  • AppBrain only tracks apps published in the US, so if a developer decides to restrict app to not be available in the US, it gets counted this as an unpublished app too.
  • Some developers may be wary of attempting to circumvent the system and shied away from publishing apps in the first place.