Google reiterates names and graphics must accurately represent the apps or they won’t benefit from Play Store promotion and recommendation

Google Android Play Store
Do not misuse name and description in Android Play Store, cautions Google. Pic credit: xyz0/Pixabay

Google is once again reminding app developers to use appropriate names, icons, taglines, and other aspects to list their creations on the Android Play Store. Strangely, the search giant will not delist developers or bar the apps.

Google, among the millions of Play Store users, appears to be tired of app developers misusing the platform. The company has issued, or rather reissued, a set of guidelines to developers that outline how they must name the apps.

Google offers Android Play Store App naming guidelines to developers:

Google has announced new Play Store policies and guidelines. The company has released a new set of instructions particularly for the app names, titles, taglines, screenshots and videos.

App developers use these to describe and demonstrate their creation’s features and functionality. However, quite a few developers are flooding the Play Store with apps and games that attempt to “game” the system. Many developers often try to trick users into downloading the apps.

The upcoming change requesting app developers exercise caution and restraint will go into effect “in the second half of 2021”.  Google has detailed the big changes in the new Android Developers post, but following are the highlights:

  • App titles can be no longer than 30 characters
  • Unnecessary descriptors like “free,” “fast,” and “download now” are out
  • Avoid unnecessary capitalization (unless it’s part of a brand name), punctuation, emoji, or emoticons
  • No text or images indicating performance or ranking on the Play Store, like “#1 Racing Game”
  • No misleading elements in the app icon or screenshots

Google is also “encouraging” developers to use screenshots that accurately represent an app’s features and interface. The company hasn’t singled out any one app or developer.  However, the company specifically calls out screenshots that developers plaster with buzzwords.

App developers often use superlative words but they lack factual information. One of the most notorious sections is of games wherein the developers fill the description with concept and character art instead of the actual gameplay. Needless to mention, this is misleading.

Will Google bar app developers for not following its new guidelines and delist the offending apps?

Google has offered some fairly strict instructions on what app developers can and cannot do or use to name and describe their creations on the Play Store. It may appear the company is finally taking a strong stand.

Google reportedly says that apps that violate the policies “will not be allowed on Google Play.” However, the company isn’t outright banning the kind of bad behavior it so clearly mentions in the guidelines.

Instead, apps that don’t meet its updated standards “may be ineligible for promotion and recommendation on major Google Play surfaces, like Apps and Games home.” Although such punitive actions may seem like a slap on the wrist, app developers could exercise restraint to avoid disappearing in the crowd.

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