Google claims to have pulled down more than 7 lakh app from Play store that the Google Play policies last year. Reason: because they are bad apps. Play store is the home to millions of apps, out of which, some are good, while some are bad apps. In Google’s language, bad apps are the ones that don’t follow Play store’s policy. Google on Tuesday announced that Google Play in 2017 has taken action against the “bad apps”, it basically used machine learning to identify bad apps with identifiers like — impersonation, inappropriate content, and malware.
Google — as it claims has eliminated almost over 700,000 apps and 100,000 developers, which is around 70 per cent more compared to the app taken down in the preceding year. “Last year we’ve more than halved the probability of a user installing a bad app, protecting people and their devices from harm’s way, and making Google Play a more challenging place for those who seek to abuse the app ecosystem for their own gain,” notes Google in its Blog post.
The company said that they have not only removed the bad app from Play store, but have also identified and taken actions against them before anyone could install them. Google says that they have identified around, “99 per cent of apps with abusive contents and rejected before anyone could install them.” Stating the reason on how they managed to do this Google writes, “This was possible through significant improvements in our ability to detect abuse — such as impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware – through new machine learning models and techniques.”
Google says that they have also developed some new detection models and techniques via which they will be able to identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks at scale. These techniques have helped Google take down around 100,000 bad developers in 2017 and has made it more difficult for them to create new accounts and flood Play store with bad apps.
Here are pointers that Google considered to identify a bad app on Play store and take necessary actions against them:
— Copycats or impersonating famous apps is one of the most common violations. Google says that, “Famous titles get a lot of search traffic for particular keywords, so the bad actors try to amass installs leveraging such traffic.” Google claims that in 2017, they have taken down more than a quarter of a million of impersonating apps which are built via deceptive methods such as using confusable unicode characters or hiding impersonating app icons in a different locale.
— Inappropriate content: According to Play store’s policy, Google doesn’t allow “apps that contain or promote inappropriate content, such as pornography, extreme violence, hate, and illegal activities.” In 2017, Google has reportedly taken down tens of thousands of apps with such inappropriate content.
— Then there are apps that come with PHA malware which include — apps that conduct SMS fraud, act as trojans, or phishing user’s information. “While small in volume, PHAs pose a threat to Android users and we invest heavily in keeping them out of the Play Store,” says Google. The company adds upon by saying that with the launch of Google Play Protect in 2017, the annual PHA installs rates on Google Play was reduced by 50 per cent year over year.