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New Google Play Store Rules To Ban Intrusive Ads And VPN Tracking

Google introduces a new set of rules for the Play Store to combat intrusive advertising and identity theft in Android games and applications.

The company has announced a series of guidelines that seek to improve the user experience and security of those who download apps from the Play Store.

The main change affects full-screen ads, the most annoying as they completely divert our attention from normal use of the app. Google realizes that these ads affect the Android experience. So apps will no longer be able to display full-screen ads at times that interfere with normal app usage — specifically, Google uses the word “unexpected for users” — so it seems that there will be some margin both to reject apps and to approve them for the use of these types of ads.

This will apply to static ads, videos, GIF files, or any format. Ads may not be displayed while playing the game, at the beginning of a level, or during the beginning of a content segment. Full-screen video ads that display before the loading screen of an Android app are also not allowed.

The Better Ads Experiences standard for Android considers some exceptions. The policies will not apply to those actions in which you agree to see advertising in exchange for something. The new guidelines to limit intrusive ads will take effect from September 30, 2022.

The policies will apply to new or already published apps and games in the Play Store. Developers will have a 30-day grace period to make any necessary adjustments.

Another important change has to do with Android applications that use titles, descriptions or icons similar to another app in order to confuse the user. Google confirmed that it will not allow applications that trick consumers by impersonating someone else or another app. Starting August 31, 2022, apps that mislead users by impersonating other products without being related to the original are banned.

Google will prohibit the use of VPN services to manipulate ads that can affect monetization in applications, as well as to collect personal data of users without obtaining consent. It will not be possible to redirect user traffic using VPN from other applications on the device or manipulate traffic for the purpose of monetization. VPN rules will come into effect on November 1, 2022.

Under the new rules, developers of apps hosted on Google Play with a paid subscription must clearly explain to users how to manage them and how to cancel them. The application must also implement the function to cancel the subscription online. The specified rule comes into force on September 30, 2022.

In addition, Google also announced that they will not accept Android applications that promote disinformation in health. This considers apps that make misleading claims about vaccines and advocate unapproved treatments or practices that are harmful to people.

Also, developers will not be able to use the exact alarm feature if their app is not an alarm, timer or calendar app that displays event notifications. They will also not be able to provide alternatives to bypass FLAG_SECURE. This statement prevents data from being recorded when capturing screens and is used by streaming video applications. This new rule will take effect from November 1, 2022. 

Bhasker Das
Bhasker Das
Bhasker Das, with a master's in Cybersecurity, is a seasoned editor focusing on online security, privacy, and protection. When not decrypting the complexities of the cyber world, Anu indulges in his passion for chess, seeing parallels in strategy and foresight.

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