We know that Google aims to implement various new policies to combat misinformation, impersonation, and shameless monetization. Here is a gathered list of some of the most notable policy changes to evaluate how this may affect both developers and users.
Let us explore the recent developments and what to expect in 2022 as some of the recently announced policy changes seem appealing:
Developer Program Policy
On September 30, 2022, this policy came into force. Through the Developer Distribution Agreement, Google may continue to bring the most cutting-edge and dependable apps to over a billion users through Google Play. To guarantee that customers have top-notch experiences while using Google Play apps, developers are expected to adhere to the following advertising requirements:
- It is forbidden to display full-screen interstitial advertisements of any type (video, GIF, static, etc.) while the user has generally decided to do something else.
- It is forbidden for advert gameplay to show during gameplay at the start of a level or a content section.
- Before an app’s splash screen (loading screen), full-screen video interstitial adverts are not permitted.
- All full-screen interstitial advertisements must be closeable after 15 seconds to be permitted.
- Rewarded advertisements consumers have chosen to receive do not fall under this guideline.
- Additionally, this regulation does not include revenue-generating activities and advertising that do not obstruct standard app or game use.
The Families Policy
This policy was revised in May 2022 to clarify that if an app contains content that is not considered acceptable worldwide, google may limit access to the app to users in certain locations.
Impersonation is Finally on its Way Out
We are all aware of the various applications with titles and symbols that closely match those of famous material but are slightly off to avoid getting sued. On August 31, 2022, Google finally acted against these imitators to lure users into installing their subpar software. The likeness of entities with whom the app and developer are not associated will no longer be allowed in icons, app titles, developer names, or general branding.
The News Policy
This policy was expanded in September 2022, and now covers applications that fall under the “News & Magazine” category on Google Play. Another change to the News Policy was to limit the number of contact information types that can be offered to news applications to just one. In addition, original publishers are no longer allowed to withhold the identity of any piece’s creators.
Device and Network Abuse Policy
As part of their Device and Network Abuse policy, Google is adding new rules for the FLAG SECURE declaration in November 2022. As a result, all applications must respect the FLAG SECURE declaration and must not enable or design workarounds to evade the FLAG SECURE settings in other apps.
All applications must meet new criteria under Google’s Permissions policy that indicate they must have acceptable basic functions to use the VpnService class. Guidance on important prerequisites for utilizing the VpnService class will also be included.
Sensitive User Information is No Longer Accessible to Other Parties
Google is expanding the target API level criteria for Google Play to include older apps to provide customers with a safe and secure experience. Applications that do not target an API level within two years of the release of the most recent major Android version will no longer be accessible to new consumers whose devices run those versions of Android on Google Play starting in November 2022. If more time is needed for the migration, developers will be allowed to request a six-month extension.
It appears that Google is catching up to Apple’s pro-consumer stance on privacy and data collection. Still, things will likely continue to be challenging until Google stops enforcing everything through bots and starts working directly with people to make the right enforcement decisions everywhere.
However, the proposed policy modifications are a welcome move in the right way, and maybe the disclosure of all these changes heralds a new era for Google. We would like to believe this is the case, so let us hope Google maintains pushing to enact laws that safeguard the weak, and perhaps with time, proper enforcement will show up.