Google revamps app store guidelines to avoid spam

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Google has revised its rules governing the submission of mobile apps to its Google Play app store in hopes of ensuring that spam and malicious content will not get through.  The Google Play team is optimistic that these policy upgrades will help weed out deceptive applications and spam.

For example, icons or names that appear similar to other applications were restricted to shun any confusion. The Google Play team will provide more detailed information to clearly enumerate the apps restricted on Google Play, including those that divulge personal information without asking for authorisation.

“We are giving more examples of practices that violate the spam policy,” said the Google Play team.

In July, Apple and Google pulled out the “Find and Call” app upon learning that the app spams contacts using messages in addition to illegally sending user contact information to a remote server.

Additionally, Google has also fended off reports of an Android botnet that creates spam messages following a blog post written by researchers at Sophos and Microsoft. Google commented that spammers bypass emails using “infected computers and a fake mobile signature.” Google’s policy mandates that apps refrain from gathering information without the knowledge of the user.

To further guarantee that users can control the content they transmit, apps that send emails, Short Message Service (SMS), or other messages were also banned. Likewise, apps that feature a view of a website without necessary permission from the owners were also banned. Google’s payment policy and new subscription rules were also revamped.

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