Google just announced new tools to detect and filter Play Store content to keep it clean and trustworthy, free of spam, fraud and manipulation.
With the latest set of tools, Google plans to crack down on developers who use illicit tricks to bump up their apps' rank in the charts. The new detection and filtering system will take a tow on Google Play apps that rely on fraudulent installs, incentivized ratings, fake reviews and other such illegitimate methods.
Google already had a system to counter such manipulation, but the new tools take things to the next level and increase accuracy so that fewer fraudulently boosted apps slip through the cracks.
Artificially and falsely manipulating an app's ranking and placement in the charts is not only in violation of the Google Play Developer Policy, but it also has a negative impact on the developer community. End users are ultimately affected as well, as they can be manipulated into downloading the wrong app.
"If an install is conducted with the intention to manipulate an app's placement on Google Play, our systems will detect and filter it," warns Google. "Furthermore, developers who continue to exhibit such behaviors could have their apps taken down from Google Play."
With the new and enhanced system in place, no app should be in the top charts unless it truly deserves to be there and it climbed through the ranks using legitimate means.
Both Google and Apple have frequently faced issues with spam and fraud, as some developers will go to any lengths to boost their app — including buying downloads themselves to make it seem more popular than it actually is.
An accurate ranking system for applications available in an app store such as Google Play can go a long way to benefit both developers and consumers. Developers who make high-quality apps will enjoy good rankings and more popularity if users legitimately download them, while users will be able to make informed decisions based on real metrics, not artificially inflated numbers and other fraudulent tricks.
Without such a system in place, quality apps could rank lower than other applications that gained popularity unjustly. Automated download bots, fake ratings, spammy install ads and other such cheap tricks should now translate to failed attempts instead of boosting an app's chart rank.
Google has already started rolling out the new system and some apps' position in the charts could change a bit, for better or worse. Developers who rely on others to promote their apps, such as third-party marketing firms, are advised to ensure they only hire services that use legitimate practices.