Google Cleans House on Apps in The Google Play Store

New Navigation Bar in The Google Play Store

Google has dropped the hammer on a wide range of apps in the Google Play Store, including those that mine cryptocurrency, contain hate speech, and those that contain adult content aimed at minors.  The changes are part of Google efforts to clean up the Play Store and make it a safer place.

Developers who have apps in the Play Store with the restricted content will have their apps immediately removed and, in some case, could have their apps reported to law enforcement officials.  In almost all cases, not only will the app be removed but the developers account will be removed from Google all together.

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Google Play Store Subscriptions Goes Live in The Play Store App

Subscriptions Page in The Google Play Store

Back at Google I/O, Google announced that a new centralized subscription page would be coming to the Google Play Store app.  The idea behind is that users will have one place to go and manage their subscriptions, be it unsubscribe, change billing information or the like.  That new page is now live.

If you go to the Play Store app on your Android phone, tap on the hamburger menu in the search bar and you will see a new Subscriptions section.  Tap that and all of your subscriptions are listed for you.

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Google Play Store Rolls Out New Top Navigation Slider

New Navigation Bar in The Google Play Store

A new top navigation slider is making its way out to the Google Play Store app this weekend.  The change is a cloud-side change so there isn’t anything new to download.  It will just be pushed to your app so long as you are running the latest version.

The change is a minor one but it is something that Google has been A/B testing for a while now and would appear to be the direction they want to go with it.  At the top of the Google Play Store app you have the tabs for Home, Games, Movies & TV, Music, Books and Newsstand.  But under each one of those, you know have a content specific slider for filtering.

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Google Play Store Offering $1 Off Some In-App Purchases

Play Store In-App Promotion Feb 2018

If you haven’t checked into the Google Play Store over the weekend and are a player of games like Candy Crush Saga or Clash of Clans, you may want to take a peek.  Over the weekend, Google started a $1 off promotion on in-app purchases on a handful of games.  The promotion ends on February 28.

There are five games that you can get the $1 discount on throughout this month:

  • Candy Crush Saga
  • Clash of Clans
  • Candy Crush Soda Saga
  • Gardenscapes
  • Clash of Kings

To get the discount, you just need to accept the promotion within the Google Play Store, then open one of the games and make an in-app purchase.  The $1 discount will be applied prior to completing the purchase.

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Google Leveraged Machine Learning to Remove 700,000 Rogue Apps

Google Play Store

Through the use of Machine Learning to detect apps that impersonate, have inappropriate content or malware, Google removed over 700,000 rogue apps from the Google Play Store, taking 100,000 repeat offender developers along with them.  The injection of ML can find patterns that detect bad behaving apps quicker than human inspectors, resulting in a 70% increase in removing of apps from the Play Store over the previous year.

Not only did we remove more bad apps, we were able to identify and action against them earlier. In fact, 99% of apps with abusive contents were identified and rejected before anyone could install them.

The end result is that the Play Store, while still not perfect, is a far safer place than it was this time last year and it will only get better as the Machine Learning models get smarter.

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Developers, Please Update Your Release Notes (Talking to You Google)

This past weekend I experienced one of my pet peeves about the Google Play Store so you get to listen to me vent.  Google, you in particular need to pay attention to me on this one.

Developers, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world, update your Release Notes.  I can’t tell you how many times I or another site has found something new in an update to an app and yet the release notes provided in the Play Store say absolutely nothing about it.  If you want people to know about that thing you added to your app, you may want to let people know about it?

This weekend however, pretty much took the cake for this month.  It was Google and Chrome for Android.  It literally made me utter harsh language and have a catharsis moment of writing this post.

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Google Drops In-App Commission to 15% Starting Next Year

Google Play Store

In a move that is similar to the cut Apple made for iOS developers, Google has announced that they will be dropping the percentage they keep on in-app purchases.  Starting January 1, 2018, in-app purchases will have a 15% commission rate to the Mountain View company, a drop of 50% from the previous 30% rate.

For developers, this means that they will be able to keep more money when you make an in-app purchase in their app.  Ultimately it is good for developers who will be able to stay funded to further development.  For Google, that means having top-shelf apps in the Play Store.

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Google Play Store App Rolling Out New Navigation Design

Google Play Store

The experimenting with the layout of the Google Play Store continues as Google trots out yet another new look & feel for the app.  The latest update brings a new top level sliding navigation to reach different parts of the Play Store as well as a slightly condensed menu.

The top navigation, in my opinion, is quite nice.  All of the major areas of the store are now in a sliding navigation bar at the top of the screen, which makes finding specific areas of the store much easier.  This new navigation bar can be slid left to right and then you tap on the area you want to see.  Those areas include For You, Top Charts, Categories, Editors’ Choice, Early Access, and Family.

Previously, to get to these areas, you either had to find it on the menu (depending on which flavor of the store you had on your phone or tablet) or you had to scroll down to that section on the main page.  Neither was a great user experience and this new navigation bar greatly simplifies the process.

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