Google's new Play Store rules target misleading app listings

Saqib Shah
·Contributing Writer
·1-min read

Over the past year, Google has implemented sweeping policy changes to its Play Store in order to add real-money gambling apps and address criticism of its commission fee. But, the company's latest update to its guidelines are aimed at tidying up previews to prevent users from being tricked into downloading apps. As part of the new rules, spotted by The Verge, Google will effectively ban bad listing practices including promotional tactics designed to make apps look more engaging.

Google Play store
Google Play store

For instance, the new app metadata policies prohibit words in all-caps (unless it's a brand name) and ban the use of emoji in app names. Meanwhile, developers will be forced to limit app titles to 30 characters and will no longer be able to use graphic or text to incentivize installs. Apps that fall foul of the upcoming policies will not be allowed on the Play Store, Google said today. To help developers adjust to the new rules, the company will release more details in the coming months ahead of enforcement later this year.

Google Play
Google Play

In addition, new policies regarding app preview assets will come into effect in the second half of 2021. These will apply to the feature graphics, screenshots, videos, and short descriptions used to showcase an app's functions. To meet the changes, Google is telling developers to focus on accuracy and meaningful information over subjective buzzwords like "free" or "best." It is also asking that assets be localized and easy to read, so that users can make sound judgements on whether to install an app. Again, apps that don't adhere to the guidelines will be punished by being made ineligible for promotion and recommendation.