E-Threats Mobile & Gadgets

Google Play and Spammy Apps

With almost 600,000 apps on Google Play, tighter restrictions to regulate app quality are set in place by the search engine giant.

In a recent letter to developers, Google outlined a new set of rules, which will hopefully police all spammy apps, cloned games, and malware from Google Play.

A simple search for the word “race” in Google Play will reveal tons of apps that although pose as racing or sport simulators, they’re just simple puzzle games with terrible descriptions and highly optimized keywords.

With over 500,000 downloads, it’s obvious users were tricked into thinking that such games are racing simulators. Placed under the “Racing” category and featuring enticing screenshots that conceal the puzzle type gameplay, these are perfect examples of developers’ free rein in publishing apps.

The same developer has around 21 games, all with the same poorly written descriptions, misleading screenshots and category placement. Most share the same user interface and the only differences lie in the chosen theme.

The targeted areas to attract users appear to be sports themed games like racing or flying simulators. The use of high definition images and icons suckers Android gamers into downloading and installing such apps with the promise of an immersive gameplay experience.

All are usually packed with adware that, although not aggressive, does prove that developers are interested in revenue. Before exiting each app, you’re asked to either review it or check out similar apps from the same developer.

This strategy seems to have gained quite a few user reviews as most apps are ranked with four and five star ratings.

Spammy apps such as these should be closely watched by Google in their attempt to clean up the marketplace if they want quality over quantity. Emphasizing that these apps are in no way malicious, it’s worth mentioning that they seduce users by misrepresenting themselves.

All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.

About the author

Liviu ARSENE

Liviu Arsene is the proud owner of the secret to the fountain of never-ending energy. That's what's been helping him work his everything off as a passionate tech news editor for the past couple of years. He is the youngest and most restless member of the Bitdefender writer team and he covers mobile malware and security topics with fervor and a twist. His passions revolve around gadgets and technology, and he's always ready to write about what's hot and trendy out there in geek universe.