Google Play Store Removes ‘Nearly 600’ Apps Because Of Violating Its Policies

No platform is a 100% safe. No matter how good the team behind it is doing, there are always the chance that malicious things go unnoticed.

Google operates Android and its official app store, the Google Play Store. The company said that it has removed "nearly 600" apps from the store, banning them from monetizing ads through Google AdMob and Google Ad Manager.

That because they have violated its disruptive ads policy and disallowed interstitial policy.

According to Google on its blog post:

"Mobile ad fraud is an industry-wide challenge that can appear in many different forms with a variety of methods, and it has the potential to harm users, advertisers and publishers. At Google, we have dedicated teams focused on detecting and stopping malicious developers that attempt to defraud the mobile ecosystem. As part of these efforts we take action against those who create seemingly innocuous apps, but which actually violate our ads policies."

Related: Developer With More Than Half A Billion App Installs, Banned After Violating Google Policies

Google said that "disruptive" means that the ads are displayed to users in "unexpected ways".

The company said that it also defines disruptive ads as those that include "impairing or interfering with the usability of device functions."

"While they can occur in-app, one form of disruptive ads we’ve seen on the rise is something we call out-of-context ads, which is when malicious developers serve ads on a mobile device when the user is not actually active in their app."

The makers of the apps may have intended to make the ads intrusive, hoping that users will click on the ads more often, or sometimes unintentionally.

Worse, this kind of ads wastes advertiser spend.

Google Play Store

Google continued by saying that:

"Malicious developers continue to become more savvy in deploying and masking disruptive ads, but we’ve developed new technologies of our own to protect against this behavior. We recently developed an innovative machine-learning based approach to detect when apps show out-of-context ads, which led to the enforcement we’re announcing today."

While Google also said that it is investing on new technologies to better detect and prevent emerging threats, Google is still often seen less secure than Apple.

This is because Apple leverages a more stringent app reviewing process, and is known to frequently deny new apps and updates.

For Google, 600 apps is indeed many. But if counting the whole Android ecosystem, Google Play Store has at least 3 million apps.

What this means, Google has a lot to do.

Related: With 'App Defense Alliance', Google Gets Outsiders' Help To Rid Android From Malware