One of the main features that differentiated Google’s Play Store from Apple’s App Store was the review process through which all applications have to go through before being actually published at the marketplace. While Apple manually reviews the apps, Google opted for an automated review process and allowed developers to immediately publish new apps to the Play Store. Yesterday, however, Google officially announced that it, too, will manually review each app before being allowed to the Play Store.
This move is certainly warmly welcomed by the Android community because it means that threats such as malware will be eliminated. A major obstacle that Google had to overcome was to have the applications reviewed in a timely manner. While developers seeking to publish their apps on Apple’s App Store have to wait on average about a week (according to www.appreviewtimes.com), Google has managed to cut this time down to hours. According to Purnima Kochikar, the Director of Business Development for Google Play, they rolled out the new system over half a year ago. “We started reviewing all apps and games before they’re published – it’s rolled out 100%,” says Kochikcar. “And developers haven’t noticed the change.”
The reason for such a quick review process is that Google automates portions of the review process. For example, its automated review software can pre-analyze apps for things like viruses, malware, content infringement, sexual content, and more. “We’re constantly trying to figure out how machines can learn more,” explains Kochikar. “So whatever the machines can catch today, the machines do. And whatever we need humans to weigh in on, humans do.” Although he didn’t specify what the exact range of capabilities for their new automated system is.
With this new system in place, Android developers will also be able to track the progress of their submission and have the ability to correct minor violations right away and re-submit the app for a review.
Another important change being rolled out by Google is a new rating for games. Up until now, developers were able to assign ratings themselves. The new system, however, will automatically rate games based on a questionnaire every developer will have to answer. The ratings will follow localized rating guidelines (such as the ESRB in the U.S. and PEGI in EU). Google claims it will review all past games, as well.