Google has always been quite forward in removing apps that it thinks doesn’t deserve a place in its Play Store. Earlier also, it was reported that the online giant removed many apps that somehow was not in sync with the platform & its policies. Now, recent reports suggest that Google again has removed around 600 apps from its Play Store & have also banned the developers of the app for violation of its disruptive ads policy.
The reason given by Google for taking this step is that the ads in question were displayed or showed to users out-of-context or in ‘unexpected’ ways. Google explained the same in a blog post saying that when users tried unlocking their mobile device or making a phone call, these ads appeared & popped up out of nowhere.
They further added saying that such practices of displaying the ads when the users are not actually active in their respective apps may lead to “disrupt key device functions” & “poor user experiences.”
In December, 2018 Google had taken a similar step by removing two of China’s Cheetah apps for their deceptive & malicious behaviour. The platform did not remove the developer at that time, but according to reports in BuzzFeed, it has now been banned by Google.
As per a quote given by Google’s senior product manager for ad traffic quality Per Bjorke in a BuzzFeed report, the developers whose apps were removed were mainly from China, Singapore, Hong Kong & India & amounted to total installs of more than 4.5 billion times. Out of the total removed apps, around 45 came from China’s Cheetah mobile.
Google, in its blog post, said, “We define disruptive ads as ads that are displayed to users in unexpected ways, including impairing or interfering with the usability of device functions.” For detecting apps from malicious developers, Google took advantage of machine learning.
Director of Security Engineering at Check Point Software Technologies, Venugopal N, also revealed that apps or adware that generates such ads & makes money for malicious developers is a common practice in India.
A security company Bitdefender discovered the Riskware & Google at the start of this year even removed 17 apps from its Play Store which had more than 5, 50,000 downloads. Some of the full-screen ads that were displayed on the user’s screen at random intervals were found to be draining the users’ phone battery.