Google has been reviewing applications before they are published on Google Play in order to better protect users, according to the company.
As part of the process, Google has tasked a team of experts to identify violations of its developer policies with the goal of catching those problems earlier in the app lifecycle.
“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,” blogged Eunice Kim, product manager for Google Play. “In fact, there has been no noticeable change for developers during the rollout. To assist in this effort and provide more transparency to developers, we’ve also rolled out improvements to the way we handle publishing status. Developers now have more insight into why apps are rejected or suspended, and they can easily fix and resubmit their apps for minor policy violations.”
Google also announced the introduction of a new age-based rating system for apps and games.
“We know that people in different countries have different ideas about what content is appropriate for kids, teens and adults, so today’s announcement will help developers better label their apps for the right audience,” Kim noted. “Consistent with industry best practices, this change will give developers an easy way to communicate familiar and locally relevant content ratings to their users and help improve app discovery and engagement by letting people choose content that is right for them.”
“Starting now, developers can complete a content rating questionnaire for each of their apps and games to receive objective content ratings,” Kim wrote. “Google Play’s new rating system includes official ratings from the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) and its participating bodies, including the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), Pan-European Game Information (PEGI), Australian Classification Board, Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) and Classificação Indicativa (ClassInd). Territories not covered by a specific ratings authority will display an age-based, generic rating. The process is quick, automated and free to developers. In the coming weeks, consumers worldwide will begin to see these new ratings in their local markets.”
In order for developers to maintain their apps’ availability on Google Play they can sign in to the Developer Console and complete the new rating questionnaire for each of their apps. Apps without a completed questionnaire will be marked as ‘Unrated’ and may be blocked in certain territories or for specific users. Starting in May, all new apps and updates to existing apps will require a completed questionnaire before they can be published on Google Play.
“We’ll continue to build tools and services that foster this growth and help the developer community build successful businesses,” Kim blogged.