In an overhaul of its Play Store developer policies, Google has decided to ban several categories of apps, including cryptocurrency mining apps. The decision comes just a month after Apple made a similar update to its policies restricting cryptocurrency mining apps to avoid excessive use of system resources.
In its latest update to Play Store policies, Google has put a ban on a number of categories of apps, first spotted by AndroidPolice. Here are these new categories of apps that have been put on the hit list (complete policy can be found here):
- Child Endangerment: Apps that include content that sexualizes minors are subject to immediate removal from the Store. Apps that appeal to children but contain adult themes are not allowed.
- Cryptocurrencies: We don't allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices.
- Dangerous Products: We don't allow apps that provide instructions for the manufacture of explosives, firearms, ammunition, restricted firearm accessories, or other weapons. This includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic, or simulated automatic, firing capabilities.
- Repetitive content: We don't allow apps that merely provide the same experience as other apps already on Google Play. Apps should provide value to users through creation of unique content or services.
The restriction on repetitive content would also be appreciated since many developers complain about seeing an exact copy of their work making it to the Play Store. The search giant said that if an app doesn't add anything new or unique, it will be removed from the platform.
Coming back to the ban of cryptocurrency apps, Apple does allow apps that mine for cryptocurrencies outside of the device like cloud-based mining. Google has also hinted at similar flexibilities, adding that it permits apps that "remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency."
Since the policy has just been updated, the next few weeks will make it more clear if all of the mining apps, including the legit ones (as legit as a phone mining app can be), are being removed. We have written to Google to get a confirmation on this and will update this piece when we hear back.