Apple may keep a tight grip on the App Store for iOS devices but since launch the Google Play Store (formerly Android Marketplace) has been much more open, for better or worse. Over the years both Apple and Google have made changes to their policies and Google’s latest update to their guidelines aims to stamp out a some practices both they are many users are unhappy about.
It’s always worrying when you install and app and notice it wants permission to access your contacts, phone calls and other things that just don’t seem necessary when you’ve only downloaded an app to swap your friend’s faces around. Google are looking to limit the damage apps can do with their new rules which state apps from the Play Store cannot modify settings or other apps without being given permission, they also can’t install bookmarks or additional icons which direct to a third-party service.
The new rules also mean apps must use Google’s billing system for in-game purchases rather than using the developers own system. This should help to protect users better when making in-app purchases while also making the process easier thanks to the more familiar system in use. The new guidelines are a step in the right direction without making the Play Store as restricted as the Apple equivalent, it’s a difficult position for Google to be in as they don’t want to put such tight restrictions on submissions as Apple but are under pressure to protect Android users from malicious apps.