Play Store

Google Play Store finally fixes misleading app names and icons

Google Play Store finally fixes misleading app names and icons

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.

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Google Play Store app install optimization rolls out

Google Play Store app install optimization rolls out

Google has always been banking on AI and machine learning to help improve its process in lieu of manpower. Machine learning, however, always requires more data to learn from, and there is perhaps no better source of millions of pieces of data than the millions of Android users out there. One such example is in optimizing how apps are downloaded and installed, a federated learning feature that Google has now started rolling out to Android users.

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Google Play Store ML detected almost 1 million violators last year

Google Play Store ML detected almost 1 million violators last year

Android boasts of a more open and more welcoming ecosystem compared to iOS and part of that is its less stringent process in screening apps entering the Google Play Store. Creating a sort of chicken and egg situation, it meant that it would be logistically impossible for Google to manually review each and every app submission that comes its way. Since the beginning, the tech giant has relied on AI and machine learning to detect policy violators and now Google is boasting just how successful that technology has been in protecting Android users last year.

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Malicious Google Play Store apps snoop on SMS to make purchases

Malicious Google Play Store apps snoop on SMS to make purchases

Android malware isn't exactly new but you might presume they only come from apps downloaded from some shady sources. Anyone following mobile news, however, will probably be aware of how apps on the Google Play Store may turn out to be carriers for such malicious software, sometimes taking weeks or even months before someone discovers them. Such is the case with another batch of such malware-laden apps on Google's officially sanctioned and recommended app store, ones that misuse existing features to make unauthorized purchases.

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Facebook sends cease-and-desist letters to a pair of popular apps for Android

Facebook sends cease-and-desist letters to a pair of popular apps for Android

When it comes to using Facebook on Android devices, lots of people out there don't use the Facebook app. For many they prefer the interface offered by so-called wrapper apps such as Swipe and Simple Social. However, both of those apps recently disappeared from the Play Store.

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Google Play Store ditches hamburger menu, moves things around

Google Play Store ditches hamburger menu, moves things around

Out of all of Google's major Android apps, the Play Store is the one that perhaps sees the most number of redesigns, most of them coming without warning. Long before even the likes of Gmail and Calendar embraced it, the premier Android app marketplace began toting Material Design elements and principles, sometimes not to users' satisfaction. Google Play Store is undergoing yet another redesign, perhaps in the name of cleanliness and visual simplicity. Unfortunately, it could actually end up being more cumbersome to use with everything hidden behind groups and menus.

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Google Play opens the door to gambling apps in more countries

Google Play opens the door to gambling apps in more countries

If lawmakers and regulators were already up in arms about loot boxes, especially in mobile games, they might have a storm coming once real gambling and betting apps start arriving on Google Play Store. Such apps that involve the risk of losing large sums of money have always been a thorny subject, which is why they were limited to an extremely low number of markets. Starting March, however, that will no longer the case as Google Play adds 15 more countries to that list.

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Google Play mistakenly bans app over standard file format name

Google Play mistakenly bans app over standard file format name

Google Play Store boasts of thousands of apps that would take a large army of humans to review and scrutinize. Of course, that's exactly why there are thousands of apps on Google Play Store, as Google relies instead on AI-powered bots to crawl through these apps, sniffing for policy violations. While highly efficient, these bots are hardly infallible and one recent incident adds to the list of anecdotes showing that this system might not exactly be working in developers' favor.

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Google Play Music Store shuts down in YouTube Music transition

Google Play Music Store shuts down in YouTube Music transition

If there's one thing Google has been consistent with over the decades is that nothing is really permanent. It often changes names and brands but is also notorious for switching products or even discontinuing projects rather abruptly. Google's messaging services and apps have become the dominant example but the most heated discussions of late have come from Google Play Music users who are now being told that they can no longer buy tunes now that the Play Music Store has closed its doors forever.

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Google could enforce stricter rules for Play Store purchases

Google could enforce stricter rules for Play Store purchases

The fight between Apple and Epic Games over Fortnite and app stores is getting uglier by the day. The latter has recently formed a coalition of other developers slighted by Apple's App Store policy, calling for fairness in the app ecosystem. That coalition pretty much singles out Apple in its statements and curiously makes no mention of Google. That, however, could be changing soon if it is really moving to enforce a policy that will give it more cuts from sales made within its Google Play Store.

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Google Play Store sort of bans stalkerware Android apps

Google Play Store sort of bans stalkerware Android apps

Given its more open ecosystem, Android has become notorious for the rampant operation of all kinds of malware. Some of those even get past Google's own scrutiny in reviewing apps for the Google Play Store. Those covertly try to hide their less than innocent behavior but it seems that a certain class of software has been operating out in the open under Google's nose. Starting today, however, stalkerware apps are banned from the Google Play Store, except in cases when they're allowed.

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Epic Games sues Google over Fortnite removal over Play Store violations

Epic Games sues Google over Fortnite removal over Play Store violations

In just a few hours, the mobile app and gaming market exploded into a flurry of news, removals, and two lawsuits, all revolving around a single game: Fortnite. Epic Games, who has spoken out and moved against the status quo in the game and app store markets, made a daring move to implement its own direct payment system to bypass Google's and Apple's revenue split system. It isn't surprising that both Apple and Google have quickly removed Fortnite from their respective app stores but it's rather curious that Epic Games quickly sued both afterward.

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