Since last year, Google has been very strict over the applications on Google Play Store. It rolled out new policies for developers and today, the search giant announced that it removed over 700,000 apps that violated the Google Play policies in 2017, which is a whopping 70% more than the apps taken down in 2016. On top of these apps, Google says that 99% of apps with abusive contents were identified and rejected before anyone could install them. "This was possible through significant improvements in our ability to detect abuse - such as impersonation, inappropriate content, or malware - through new machine learning models and techniques," said Google in a blog post.
Google says that it has also developed new detection models and techniques that can identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks at scale. These new methods helped the company in taking down of 100,000 bad developers in 2017 and made it more difficult for bad developers to create new accounts and attempt to publish yet another set of bad apps.
The search giant took action on Copycats, Inappropriate content, and Potentially Harmful Applications during the entire process.
Speaking of Copycat applications, Google stated that deceiving users by impersonating famous apps is one of the most common violations. As you may already aware of, famous titles get a lot of search traffic for particular keywords, so the bad actors try to get installs in huge numbers by copying the original application. It also said that more than a quarter of a million impersonating apps were removed from Play Store in 2017.
Coming to the inappropriate content, Google says that it never allow apps that contain or promote inappropriate content, such as pornography, extreme violence, hate, and illegal activities. And to remove this, Google's improved machine learning models sift through massive amounts of incoming app submissions and flag them for potential violations, aiding the human reviewers in effectively detecting and enforcing on the problematic app. Tens of thousands of apps with inappropriate content were taken down last year as a result of such improved detection methods.
And lastly, we get to the Potentially Harmful Applications, which are a type of malware that can harm people or their devices. For example, apps that conduct SMS fraud, act as trojans, or phishing user's information falls under PHAs. With the launch of Google Play Protect last year, the company was able to bring down the PHA install rates by 50% YoY.
Google also committed it's trying to make Google Play the most trusted and safe app store in the world.