Google is finally cracking down on apps that illegally boost their rankings in the Play Store


Everyone has had this happen before. You launch the Play Store and navigate over to the top listings section, hoping to find an app actually worth downloading. Instead, you’re unfortunately greeted with a variety of apps you’ve never heard of and that when you actually download them, they don’t seem to work properly and instantly ask you for an in-app purchase unlock.

Then you probably wonder to yourself, “why is this in the top listings anyways?”

This is one of the dangers of the open nature of Android’s app store and its relatively lax — at least when compared to Apple’s iOS App Store — review policy. According to Google, however, this issue will quickly become a problem of the past thanks to new efforts to remove apps trying to game the system

In a recent blog post, Google details that while it has always tried to maintain a high level of quality in the Play Store when it comes to app discoverability. It has noticed that some publishers are playing the App Store’s alogirthm system to increase their app’s ranking. Methods of boosting an app’s ranking include generating a significant number of installs via fraudulent methods and posting fake five star reviews reviews. Googel’s post reminds app developers and publishers that utilizing these methods in order to boost an app’s ranking is a violation of Google’s Developer Policy.

To combat this, Google says it’s rolling out new back-end Play Store features that are able to detect when an app is being boosted in an unfair way, though doesn’t detail exactly how it’s going to know when app creators are being dishonest.

“if an install is conducted with the intention to manipulate an app’s placement on Google Play, our systems will detect and filter it. Furthermore, developers who continue to exhibit such behaviors could have their apps taken down from Google Play,” reads a section from the blog post.

It’s unclear how effective Google’s detection methods will be, though given the sometimes disparate state of the Play Store, it will almost certainly play a role in bringing more order to the company’s sometimes confusing app marketplace.

[source]Google[/source][via]Android Authority[/via]