Google has banned cryptocurrency mining apps from the Android Play Store. The move by Google follows Apple’s move of banning cryptocurrency-mining apps in the iOS App Store and Mac App Store.
The policy of Google is similar to Apple’s policy which still allows mining if the processing happens in the cloud. Though on-device mining on Android hardware has been banned now. The ban on cryptocurrency miners in the Play Store also follows a Google block on cryptomining extensions on the Chrome Web Store, following the rise in CoinHive-based in-browser miners.
Google had stopped accepting new cryptomining extensions in April. Then it altered its previous policy that allowed cryptominers as long as they sufficiently explained their purpose, and delisted the extensions in June. It banned them outrightly after finding that 90 percent of the mining extension failed to inform users of their mining functionality.
In the updated Google Play policy center document, Google had mentioned, “We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.”
Google has outlawed repetitive apps on the Play Store. It mentioned that “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 the creation of unique content or services.”
Google will also not allow apps that are simply made to show ads, such as apps that shows full-page ads every time a user clicks or interacts with the app in some other way. Google has also added a new ban on apps that “appeal to children but contain adult themes”.
Google is also not allowing apps that are created by automated tools or templates apps on behalf of other persons. The apps will only be allowed if they are published by an individually registered developer who may use an automated tool. So automated apps-as-a-service isn’t something Google wants its store to be filled with.
Apart from this, Google is clamping down on fake apps or apps that impersonate any person or organization. Security firm ESET had also warned Google of three fake banking apps impersonating Indian banks that were designed to phish online banking credentials and credit card number using bogus forms after which they leaked them online in plaintext.
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