Google Is Now Filtering Out Fraudulent App Installs On The Play Store

Google seems to be following the Apple model a lot nowadays. The Google Pixel has been called an iPhone running on Android and the vanilla Android experience has been the best ever on a device. Now, Google is taking a page out of Apple’s book on their marketplace, the Play Store. It’s coming down hard on fraudulent app installs and making sure its store isn’t a sanctuary for spam and ad heavy content.

In general, the Apple App store is a cleaner, more reliable marketplace for apps than the Google Play Store. This is due to Android being open source and allowing third party installs easily while you have to jailbreak any iOS device to install a third party app there. Now Google is having none of it. It’s releasing updates to the Play Store to filter out fraudulent apps that alter app rankings and search results.

“If an install is conducted with the intention to manipulate an app’s placement on Google Play, our systems will detect and filter it,”

-Kazushi Nagayama (Google Search Quality Analyst)

The move comes after Apple announced recently that they would be removing abandoned and problematic apps from their marketplace. And though Google’s move is similar, it’s not the same. Apple is talking about getting rid of junk and really unpopular apps while Google is talking about removing apps that illegally use means to boost their popularity. So many cruddy and stupid apps may still reside in the Play Store after this.

Artificially boosting app rankings can result in a lot of revenue being taken away from honest app developers and it is also in violation of the Play Store policy. It also damages the store’s reputation since people who tend to get duped after installing apps are less likely to return to the marketplace. I can’t remember the last time I went to the Play Store other than to update some apps. The design is one issue, but it’s just that I’ve installed so many subpar apps with constant ad pop ups one time too many. It just doesn’t seem worth the trouble to go to the Store and find a new, exciting app.

“Furthermore, developers who continue to exhibit such behaviors could have their apps taken down from Google Play.”

Andrew Ahn (Google Product Manager)

Google reports that the new system is launching today and will hopefully change the marketplace for the better.