Google has announced a number of changes to the rules of interaction for app developers with the Play Store digital content platform. The changes aim to combat annoying ads, cloning popular apps, collecting user data via VPN, and more.
One of the most notable changes to the Play Store’s policy concerns advertising. Developers will not be able to display interstitial ads of any format that appear unexpectedly, for example, when a user takes an action that is not related to the topic of the ad. You will also have to opt out of in-game ads at the start of a level or when viewing the next content block.
The ban includes full-screen video ads that appear before the app’s loading screen, as well as full-screen interstitial ads of any format that the user cannot close after 15 seconds of viewing. These changes will take effect on September 30, 2022.
From August 31, 2022, apps that mislead users by imitating other products unrelated to the original will be banned. Developers must not use icons, descriptions, titles, or other elements that may mislead users. Additionally, you are prohibited from posting submissions that contain medical claims that are misleading, inconsistent with recognized medical facts, or potentially harmful.
From August 31, it is forbidden to use VPN services to collect personal and confidential data from users without publishing information about them and obtaining their consent. User traffic from other apps on the device may not be redirected or manipulated for monetization purposes, nor may you manage ads that may affect app monetization. From November 1, the requirements for using the FLAG_SECURE parameter, which allows you to limit the display of sensitive data in the application, will change. Apps distributed through the Play Store must respect the presence of this flag in other software products on users’ devices.
For more information on upcoming Play Store policy changes, visit Google’s support page.