Thanks to its more open nature, the Google Play Store has hundreds if not thousands of apps, many of them offering similar functionality or, in the case of clones, even identical assets. In an attempt to stand out from the rest, Android app developers can get pretty creative but not in a good way. After years of letting the status quo stay, Google is finally setting its foot down on what is appropriate to use as app names, titles, and icons as well as screenshots, graphics, and videos used to preview them.
It’s not unusual to see apps that use “Top” or “Best” in their names in the hopes that they will turn up easily in search results related to their category. Developers probably also hope that those users will also believe those titles, regardless of the app’s actual rating. Naturally, that practice is frowned upon even if common but it is only now that Google is revising Play Store’s policy to address that.
Starting in the second half of the year, the Play Store will enact policies that will limit what can be used for titles and icons. At the very least, app names should be more than 30 characters long and shouldn’t use emojis, something that Apple already enforced on the App Store quite a while back. Developers are also not allowed to use descriptors like “top” or “best”, whether in the app’s name or icon.
The assets that developers use should also be representative of the app, which is only common sense, of course. Icons shouldn’t even have “sale” imagery on them, a strategy that many app developers have become accustomed to by now. Those assets should be advertorial as well which makes them sound like they are the best of their kind.
It feels only natural that some developers will want to portray their hard work as truly the best but it’s not that easy to actually verify those claims independently. These policies will at least level the playing field and give some quality and order to some apps that have definitely gotten some weird if not inappropriate titles.