Google follows Apple's lead, introduces human app review team for the Play Store

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
After years of depending solely on automated processes to weed out malicious or otherwise undesirable apps from Google Play, the search giant announced on Tuesday that it has added human reviewers to the mix in a move that more closely aligns its practices with Apple's.




"Several months ago, we began reviewing apps before they are published on Google Play to better protect the community and improve the app catalog," Google Play product manager Eunice Kim wrote in a blog post. "This new process involves a team of experts who are responsible for identifying violations of our developer policies earlier in the app lifecycle."

Kim added that the review team clears or rejects apps in a matter of hours, saying that there has been "no noticeable change" for developers since human reviewers were introduced.

The Play Store has relied on software to police submissions since it opened, a policy that has drawn both praise and criticism. Developers were pleased with quick turnaround times, but less scrupulous individuals have taken advantage of the situation to introduce a multitude of fake, useless, or malicious apps designed to trick Android users into installing them.

That is the situation Apple sought to avoid by choosing to employ human reviewers when the App Store opened in 2008. The decision was largely successful for users, with problematic apps rarely making into the store, though developers have often expressed frustration at the lack of transparency in the sometimes byzantine review process.

Google also announced the introduction of region-specific app age ratings. Developers can use a questionnaire to determine the proper rating for their apps in various locales --?ESRB ratings in North America and PEGI ratings in Europe, for instance.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,309member
    Of course they did. After years of bashing Apple's curated walled garden of course. Every single aspect of Android and Android devices is mirroring iOS and iphone hardware philosophy more and more.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    Before anyone says android is not open check the definition of open source then go to https://source.android.com/. Sorry I just hate the post based off of pure ignorance ranting that android is not open whenever google backslides like this.
  • Reply 3 of 37
    irelandireland Posts: 17,737member

    They had no human app review team before? WTF?

  • Reply 4 of 37
    irelandireland Posts: 17,737member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post



    Before anyone says android is not open check the definition of open source then go to https://source.android.com/. Sorry I just hate the post based off of pure ignorance ranting that android is not open whenever google backslides like this.

     

    Killed your blog? Kill your signature.

  • Reply 5 of 37
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    Of course they did. After years of bashing Apple's curated walled garden of course. Every single aspect of Android and Android devices is mirroring iOS and iphone hardware philosophy more and more.



    It's only bad when Apple is doing it.

  • Reply 6 of 37
    Let see what happen to Android this few weeks:
    Enclose important app and document in a separated container
    App install in binary code, not bytecode for VM
    (Recommend) full disk encryption
    Human app review

    What next? Finally giving users a decent system upgrade policy?

    Wake me up when Google finish copying Apple in 2009
  • Reply 7 of 37

    I really hope that Google doesn't turn into Apple with their app reviews. As a developer, the review process is the single biggest complaint I have with developing iOS apps.  Having to wait over a week to get an update out and even longer for new apps is extremely frustrating.  You cannot plan any sort of concrete release schedule with Apple reviewing your apps.  You could get rejected because the reviewer is having a bad day or because of some minor minutiae.  Developing for Android can be a hassle because of the device and OS fragmentation, but their app store submission process is so much better than Apple.  It is extremely nice to be able to get an app update out the same day you submit it.  It sounds like Google is striking a nice balance between human reviews and automated software review all while keeping the review times short.  I wish Apple would do the same.

  • Reply 8 of 37
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,523member
    Common sense prevailed. Better late than never.

    Behold the garden Androidians. You'll have to go searching for your viruses and malware someplace else rather than the mothership.
  • Reply 9 of 37
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,530member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     

    They had no human app review team before? WTF?




     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    WTF is right.


     

    I don't know why people are surprised.

     

    This is Google's schtick. "We can write an algorithm that is better than humans," "we base design from a formula, not taste" or the classic boilerplate on Google News "The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program."

  • Reply 10 of 37

    I don't see how they're going to keep up with approving apps within a couple of hours.  Unless they hire hundreds (maybe thousands) of employees to review apps or they just do a meaningless quick review that won't catch anything.

     

    Plus now they opened a can of worms of disputing rejections, inconsistent interpretation of the rules, different outcomes for different developers depending on the day it was reviewed, etc.   

  • Reply 11 of 37
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,739member
    LOL at Google's "Walled Garden"!
  • Reply 12 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,826member
    ireland wrote: »
    They had no human app review team before? WTF?
    Yes Google has always had humans involved in vetting apps, but they were relying on user feedback to flag those folks to potentially problematic apps AFTER the fact. The initial approval process relied on automated checking of code and functions.

    Now they've added humans to the app approval process too which they should have always done in addition to the automated process IMO. A computer-based inspection of the underlying code no doubt catches a lot of bad players before they can hit Google Play (I would hope Apple does the same and assume they do) but it doesn't catch the obvious copycats, stolen games, or completely useless apps. Pretty sure you still need humans for that so kudos to Google for waking up to the need even if they were more than a bit late.

    With $7B paid out to Google Play developers just last year alone (for comparison Apple paid out $10B last year) they don't have to swing the barn doors wide open to attract them anymore, especially the top flight ones. Time to tighten up.
  • Reply 13 of 37
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,800member
    Sooner or later, Googs will prevent 3rd party app stores and/or side loading apps.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,826member
    jungmark wrote: »
    Sooner or later, Googs will prevent 3rd party app stores and/or side loading apps.
    If Apple can't prevent it how could Google?
  • Reply 15 of 37
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,309member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

     

    I don't see how they're going to keep up with approving apps within a couple of hours.  Unless they hire hundreds (maybe thousands) of employees to review apps or they just do a meaningless quick review that won't catch anything.

     

    Plus now they opened a can of worms of disputing rejections, inconsistent interpretation of the rules, different outcomes for different developers depending on the day it was reviewed, etc.   


     

    This was Google's strategy all along. They spread Android like a virus primarily because of the "free for all" philosophy. And now that they have the marketshare, they're getting around to implementing some quality, restrictions, and guidelines. A very cynical strategy, but not unexpected. The only sad this are the foaming at the mouth Android lovers that ACTUALLY believed that lack of restrictions was a core philosophy from Google, not something they did out of temporary benefit and convenience.

     

    Just go look at what percentage of the Android OS is fully open source now, compared to a few years ago. 

  • Reply 16 of 37
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,309member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    If Apple can't prevent it how could Google?

     

    Stop being obtuse. You know he meant Apple officially prevents it in their OS, this isn't about jailbreaking. It's very plausible that Google will completely remove the "sideload" option from the OS by default. They've gone back on so many of their ever "core" philosophies when it benefitted them. 

  • Reply 17 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,826member
    slurpy wrote: »
    Stop being obtuse. You know he meant Apple officially prevents it in their OS, this isn't about jailbreaking. It's very plausible that Google will completely remove the "sideload" option from the OS by default. They've gone back on so many of their ever "core" philosophies when it benefitted them. 
    Oh I would agree that Google may well make it progressively harder to use unofficial app stores.

    But still the fact remains Google officially prevents it as well. It takes some significant user input to side-load an app, something NOT from Google Play.

    The person first has to dismiss a security warning or two and then find the setting that turns off the default Android security setting to then allow 3rd party apps to be installed. You didn't know that?

    EDIT: To Google's credit even then they try to protect those who ignore the security warnings and install unofficial apps. VerifyApps even checks and warn or blocks installation of 3rd party apps from those "other" sources.
    400
    400

    So someone ignores all the warnings and installs what turns out after-the-fact to be a nefarious app, perhaps from some weird 3rd party source with pirated content? Google still try's to re-secure that user's system:
    400

    Of course some folks are just thick and don't really get it, dismissing that warning too. So he/she may soon see this Android notification for the truly malicious stuff.
    400

    Things aren't as "Wild West" on Android devices as it's often portrayed to be.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    john.b wrote: »
    LOL at Google's "Walled Garden"!
    Minus the walls. Android allows its users to download and install apps from wherever they want, like on a Mac, or to use third-party app stores.

    Also, the rules appear to be a lot less stringent:

    https://play.google.com/about/developer-content-policy.html

    It's mostly banning malware, spam, and illegal and/or abusive practices.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,794member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post



    Before anyone says android is not open check the definition of open source then go to https://source.android.com/. Sorry I just hate the post based off of pure ignorance ranting that android is not open whenever google backslides like this.



    Yah, before you go on a stampede, understand the situation. Android still has many "private" Google libraries. Plus, why does Android being open make it so much better, anyway? Has that made it a superior mobile operating system, better than iOS? No.

  • Reply 20 of 37

    But but but....the resident Google shills keep telling me that Google has Verify Apps to spot malware and misbehaving Apps.

     

    And Android users keep telling me there is no malware problem with Android.

     

    Why does Google keep fixing non-existent problems?

Sign In or Register to comment.