Google Play Store is cracking down on apps that have managed to rake up their ratings thanks to a bunch of fake reviews. The search giant has announced improvements in the fight against app developers who rely on paid reviews, ratings to boost their rankings.
In an Android Developer blog post written by Product Managers’ Andrew Ahn and Buddhika Kottahachchi, have said that Google is improving on its fight against spam apps, identifying and removing fake ratings and reviews. The post suggests that with new enhanced capabilities, Google can remove such fake ratings and review with ‘greater accuracy’.
Google is especially warning those working with third-party marketing agencies to promote their apps. “We advise you to check-in and ensure that their promotion techniques use legitimate practices, and adhere to the Google Play Developer Policy,” says the blogpost for developers. Google says developers need to make sure reviews, ratings come from genuine users, and developers don’t “attempt to manipulate them in any form.”
Earlier in October, Google had announced it would crack down on “fraudulent and spam app installs.” Google’s systems will detect and filter when an app install is conducted to manipulate the ratings. It also says it will block developers who continue to indulge in such behaviour.
Though this step will not completely eliminate fraudulent and spam apps, this is a right step in the direction to clean up the Play Store. There are many developers who try to fool users into believing that their app has a higher rating, even when it is buggy or worse a malicious one.
A report from cyber security firm TrendLabs back in October showed that there are over 400 malicious apps on the Android app store. According to the report, the Android platform is especially susceptible to such apps, which once installed are capable of spying on a user as well as leaking their private data to hackers and spammers.
Of course, fake reviews is not just a Google problem. Large corporations like Amazon have stood up against the issue of fake reviews with the American e-commerce giant filing a lawsuit against over 1000 people back in October for providing fake reviews on their products sold on Amazon. Amazon had said that misleading and fake reviews are bad for the company’s brand and only profit a handful of dishonest manufacturers and sellers.
Now it looks like Google will make sure fake ratings for apps don’t remain on the Play Store.