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Google cracking down on misleading Android app names, graphics in the Play Store

Google today announced new policies and guidelines for how Android apps can present themselves in the Play Store. This is meant to ensure that end users are not misled by app listings.

The company is starting today by pre-announcing an upcoming policy change to keep app metadata “recognizable and unique.” App title, icon, and developer name are considered the “most important discovery elements on your store listing page.” 

  • Limiting the length of app titles to 30 characters
  • Prohibiting keywords that imply store performance, promotion in the icon, title, and developer name
  • Eliminating graphic elements that may mislead users in the app icon

Google does not want apps with icons or text that imply store performance or rank (like “#1”), price and promotional information (“no ads,” “free,” “sale”), or misleading elements. The latter includes the phrase “download now” or putting a notifications badge over icons that incentivize installs. Lastly, the Play Store will not allow CAPS — unless a brand is capitalized, irrelevant special characters, emoticons, or emoji.

Applications/developers that don’t meet those policies will not be allowed in the Play Store. More details and the enforcement state date are coming later this year.

Meanwhile, given how the Play Store is increasingly showing developer-provided assets (featured graphics, screenshots, videos, and short descriptions) directly in the Apps and Games tabs, Google is introducing new guidelines. Violations will see apps excluded for “promotion and recommendation on major Google Play surfaces” starting in the second half of 2021.

  • Do the preview assets accurately represent the app or game?
  • Do the preview assets provide enough information to help users decide whether to install?
  • Are the preview assets free of buzzwords like “free” or “best” and instead focus on providing meaningful information about the unique aspects of your app or game?
  • Are the preview assets localized correctly and easy to read?

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: