31 October 2016

Keeping the Play Store trusted: fighting fraud and spam installs

Posted by Kazushi Nagayama, Search Quality Analyst, and Andrew Ahn, Product Manager

We strive to continuously make Google Play the best platform for enjoying and discovering the most innovative and trusted apps. Today we are announcing additional enhancements to protect the integrity of the store.

Our teams work every day to improve the quality of our discovery systems. These content discovery systems ensure that users can find and download apps they will love. From time to time, we observe instances of developers attempting to manipulate the placement of their apps through illegitimate means like fraudulent installs, fake reviews, and incentivized ratings. These attempts not only violate the Google Play Developer Policy, but also harm our community of developers by hindering their chances of being discovered or recommended through our systems. Ultimately, they put the end users at risk of making wrong decisions based on inaccurate, unauthentic information.

Today we are rolling out improved detection and filtering systems to combat such manipulation attempts. If an install is conducted with the intention to manipulate an app's placement on Google Play, our systems will detect and filter it. Furthermore, developers who continue to exhibit such behaviors could have their apps taken down from Google Play.

In the vast majority of cases, no action will be needed. If you are asking someone else to promote your app (e.g., third-party marketing agency), we advise you to make sure that the promotion is based on legitimate practices. In case of questions, please check out the Developer Support Resources.

These important changes will help protect the integrity of Google Play, our developer community, and ultimately our end user. Thank you for your support in building the world's most trusted store for apps and games!