Published by Andrew Ahn, Item Manager, Google Play & Android App Safety
[Cross-posted from the Android Developers Blog ]

Google Perform connects users with excellent digital experiences to help them become more productive and entertained, and also providing app developers along with tools to reach billions of customers around the globe. Such a thriving environment can only be achieved and continual when trust and security is one of its key fundamentals. Over the last few years we’ve produced the trust and protection of Google Play a high priority, and have continued our own investments and improvements within our abuse detection systems, guidelines, and teams to combat bad apps and harmful actors.
In 2019, we carried on to strengthen our policies (especially to better protect kids in addition to families ), continuing to improve our developer approval procedure , initiated a much deeper collaboration with security business partners through the App Defense Connections , enhanced our device learning detection systems examining an app’s code, metadata, and user engagement indicators for any suspicious content or even behaviors, as well as scaling the amount and the depth of guide reviews. The combination of these types of efforts have resulted in a far cleaner Play Store:

  • Google Play launched a new policy in 2018 to stop applications from unnecessarily accessing privacy-sensitive SMS and Call Log information. We saw a significant, 98% decrease in programs accessing SMS and Call Sign data because developers partnered with us in order to update their apps and even protect users. The remaining 2% are comprised of apps that need SMS and Call Log info to perform their core functionality.
  • One of the most effective ways to protect users from poor apps is to keep all those apps out of the Play Shop in the first place. Our improved vetting mechanisms halted over 790, 000 policy-violating app submissions before these were ever published to the Enjoy Store .
  • Similarly to our TEXT MESSAGE and Call Log policy, all of us also enacted a policy to better protect family members in May 2019. After placing this in place, we caused developers to update or remove hundreds and hundreds of apps, the Play Store a more secure place for everyone.

In addition we’ve designed a refreshed Google Play Protect experience, our built/in malware protection for Google android devices. Google Play Safeguard scans over 100B software everyday, providing users together with information about potential security problems and actions they can decide to try keep their devices safe and sound. Last year, Google Play Guard also prevented more than one 9B malware installs through non-Google Play sources.
While we have been proud of what we were able to accomplish in partnership with our developer local community, we know there is more function to be done. Adversarial negative actors will continue to develop new ways to evade the detection systems and put consumers in harm’s way for their very own gains. Our commitment in creating the world’s safest and many helpful app platform will certainly continue in 2020, and we’ll continue to invest in the key application safety areas mentioned within last year’s blog post :

  • Strengthening app basic safety policies to protect user personal privacy
  • Quicker detection of bad stars and blocking repeat offenders
  • Discovering and removing apps using harmful content and actions

Our own teams of passionate item managers, engineers, policy specialists, and operations leaders will work with the developer community to be able to accelerate the pace associated with innovation, and deliver a less dangerous app store to billions of Android os users worldwide.

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