Google has announced new procedures that are designed to protect users from suspicious apps and age-inappropriate content on its Play Store.
In a statement released on the Android Developers Blog, Eunice Kim, Product Manager for Google Play, unveiled the company’s new initiative to better screen apps for malicious content: “Several months ago, we began reviewing apps before they are published on Google Play to better protect the community and improve the app catalog. This new process involves a team of experts who are responsible for identifying violations of our developer policies earlier in the app lifecycle.”
The Google Play Store has used an automated, built-in malware scanner since late 2012, as the Android Police discuss in a blog post. By creating a team whose mission is to manually inspect apps, Google hopes to spot violations that are currently being missed by the scanner.
“Whatever the machines can catch today, the machines do. And whatever we need humans to weigh in on, humans do,” Purnima Kochikar, Google Play’s director of business development, told TechCrunch.
Google’s announcement is in the minds of some long overdue. The Apple App Store has featured malware-checking services since the beginning, after all, making the Google Play Store a preferred outlet to distribute malicious content.
Where the Play Store has neglected malware-checking, however, it has fostered a space for innovation, with most apps published and reviewed within a matter of hours.
The app review team will not stand in the way of this, explains Kim: “We value the rapid innovation and iteration that is unique to Google Play, and will continue to help developers get their products to market within a matter of hours after submission, rather than days or weeks. In fact, there has been no noticeable change for developers during the rollout.”
In addition to protecting users against malware, the Play Store has also announced efforts to make sure all apps are age-appropriate. Developers are now being asked to fill out a questionnaire about their apps in the Android developer console, which will assist Google in giving out each game or app a content rating.
Starting in May, all new apps will require a completed questionnaire in order to be published.