App's the way to do it: Google updates Play Store terms to fight rubbish apps

Google will be paying closer attention to apps published and is introducing an age-based rating system

Changes are afoot for the Google Play store, the first of which is a new age rating system for apps in specific territories.

The new system allows app developers to fill out a questionnaires, letting them receive objective content ratings. The new system will include ratings from the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) and participating bodies around the world.

Apps completed without filling out a questionnaire will be marked "Unrated" and run the risk of being blocked in certain areas. Google has also said that from May, all new apps and updates to apps will require a questionnaire before they can be published to the store.

Sifting through the junk

Google is also now manually testing more and more apps and games to reveal any violations or malware. 

While that adds in a risk of delayed approvals, developers still shouldn't have to wait too long before their apps land on the store. Google says there's been no noticeable change for developers during the rollout, and apps should be on the store within hours.

Not all the checking is done manually, however. Speaking to TechCrunch, Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development for Google Play, said that apps go through an automated process as well, with software able to detect viruses and malware, as well as other violations such as sexual content. 

“We’re constantly trying to figure out how machines can learn more,” explains Kochikar. “So whatever the machines can catch today, the machines do. And whatever we need humans to weigh in on, humans do.”

Google will also use this data to let developers of rejected apps know why it was rejected. Apple uses a similar vetting system in its App Store, which is said to be one of the reasons that it has more higher quality apps overall than its rivals.

Hopefully Google's new system will cut down on the 'Flappy Crush Irate Birds Saga Temple Run of Duty 7' clones that are poisoning the Play Store.

[Android Developer's Blog via TechCrunch]