Google recently unveiled a raft of policy changes aimed at facilitating the delivery of superior quality applications on its Play Store. This move marks another significant step in the tech titan's continuous quest for enhanced user safety, following the recent inauguration of a real-time scanning feature for app security.
The company will now necessitate that Android developers holding personal accounts rigorously test their apps with no fewer than 20 users for a fortnight or longer prior to its release on the platform. Other areas in their improvement plan include a bolstered investment in their application review processes. However, Google foresees minor delays in approvals for a handful of apps as these adjustments take effect.
Google’s statistics reveal that developers who utilize their testing tools observe, on average, a threefold surge in app installations and user engagement. This statistic may not be totally attributable to Google's tools; rather, it's likely down to the developers who commit to utilizing such testing platforms before going public, potentially crafting applications of a higher standard. However, Google is now making application testing compulsory for developers using new Play Console accounts.
Though an exact timeline has not been clarified, Google plans to enforce testing of apps by at least 20 users over a two-week period for new developers with individual accounts. Google believes this initiative will support developers in spotting potential issues, bugs, and gathering early user feedback prior to the app launch. This regulation is expected to go into effect in the Play Console in the immediate future.
Google also announces plans to ramp up its investment in its app review process, seen by some as less rigorous than Apple’s and with a heavier reliance on automation. Going forward, the company's review teams will dedicate more time to scrutinizing new apps to enforce policy compliance and to protect users from fraud, both within the app and on the broader Play Store platform.
Google signaled its increased focus on apps demanding higher permissions with the introduction of Android 14. This update allows developers to request more nuanced permission access, such as seeking permission to access selected images or videos rather than the entirety of a user’s photo gallery.
While Google anticipates that its revamped app review procedure may cause delays for a small subset of apps requiring certain device permissions or targeting underage users, it assures developers that these changes are designed to enhance user security and the overall app experience.
Among the other updates were options for developers to pre-select deadlines for meeting stricter verification prerequisites concerning Google Play publication. Developers failing to set a deadline before February 29, 2024, will have one imposed by Google.
In a bid to provide users with more granular information helping them choose apps compatible with their devices, and to promote local and regional content, Google plans to introduce a badge to identify official government apps starting from 2024.
While these changes might present some challenges in the short term, in the long haul, they will help foster a more secure, high-quality app landscape. Platforms like AppMaster which offer powerful no-code solutions for backend, web, and mobile applications will continue to enable developers to create robust high-quality applications compliant with these new stringent rules, making technological solutions more accessible for all.