This week Google announced two changes that will impact how Android developers submit apps to the Google Play store: a review of each submission by a team of experts and an age-based rating system.
The new Google Play submission process has actually quietly been in place for several months. In a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google Play Product Manager Eunice Kim noted that: “there has been no noticeable change for developers during the roll-out.” Google has kept the process speedy by automating portions of it, using software to analyze submissions for malware, viruses and any violations to their content policies.
In what was clearly a dig at well-known competitor Apple, Kim stated:
We value the rapid innovation and iteration that is unique to Google Play, and will continue to help developers get their products to market within a matter of hours after submission, rather than days or weeks.
In the past, the ability for Android developers to immediately push their apps into the marketplace was a key point of differentiation between the two mobile giants.
Android Central, a popular Twitter handle for enthusiasts, gave the change a nod in a tweet.
— Android Central (@androidcentral) March 17, 2015
In fact, developers will now receive much more detailed updates on the status of their submissions thanks to the panel of human reviewers who will provide specific feedback. This will enable developers to correct issues quickly and re-submit.
On the negative side, Google’s new age-based rating system may create a bit more work for developers. The system uses ratings from the International Age Rating Coalition and its participating bodies to create content ratings that are specific to a user’s location. Al developers must complete a questionnaire to receive a rating including those of existing games. Developers that fail to comply risk having their app labeled “Unrated” which could result in the app being blocked for some users.
Response from developers has been mixed with some wondering whether the new restrictions will hinder innovation. However, the content rating system is sure to be a hit with parents.
Mashable reader Sajd Ali wrote in a comment on the article announcing Google’s changes, “This is great. Now I can feel a little more comfortable allowing my kids to pick apps that are appropriate.”
Google already features a similar system for paid content on YouTube as well as video uploaded by individuals.
By May, apps will no longer be allowed into the Google Play store without a rating.