Google Play Introduces New Restrictions

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If you or your company makes Android apps, which is a lot of us these days, then there are important changes happening to the Google Play Store policies. A recent email sent by Google to all developers outlined the changes, two of which are fairly major, and told folks that they had 30 days to comply. Apps on Android that are found to be in violation of these new policies after the deadline passes will be removed from the Play Store.

The first change involves ads. If you publish ads on Android or if your app uses ad networks, then those ads will be more restricted than before. They won't be able to change device behavior, such as display ads in the notification screen or on top of the app icon, things that used to happen and annoyed users. This isn't to say that advertising on Android will become less interesting, but it certainly is a change that will likely lead to a lot of statistics and research.

The other major change is how in-app purchases are done. Google has had a system to handle in-app purchases through its own Google Play network for a while, but it didn't require you to use it. For example, you could sell subscriptions or additional bonuses in a game, and allow the user to pay directly through a credit card, PayPal or anything else. Now however, all apps will be required to go through Google's system to handle in-app purchases. This certainly removes some of the freedom apps used to have, but it's hardly a surprise. Both Facebook and Apple work the same way for apps on their platforms.

So if you fall into these categories, you should probably get back to the drawing board and come up with ways to change your app, or risk being pulled from the biggest smartphone market out there.