Google Play is cracking down on misleading app names and icons

Google Play is cracking down on misleading app names and icons

Update 1 (07/28/2021 @ 05:13 PM ET): Google has announced when its new guidelines cracking down on misleading Play Store listings goes into effect. Click here for more information. The article, as published on April 29, 2021, is preserved below.

Google has announced some important changes for developers who publish their apps in the Google Play Store, which are set to go into effect later this year. Once they are established, the search giant said it will crack down on apps that mislead users, either with their title or icon.

One of the policy changes relates to app metadata, which includes app title, icon, and developer name. Here are a few of the changes:

  • Limiting the length of app titles to 30 characters
  • Prohibiting keywords that imply store performance, promotion in the icon, title and developer name
  • Eliminating graphic elements that may mislead users in the app icon

Any app title, icon, and developer name that doesn’t follow these policies will be booted from the Google Play Store. Google shared some screenshots to illustrate what an acceptable listing looks like compared to listings that are deemed misleading.

Google’s “dos” and “don’ts”

In addition, Google has shared new guidelines for Google Play Store listing preview assets. That includes graphics, screenshots, videos, and short descriptions that help inform users about an app’s features and functionality.

“Assets that don’t meet our guidelines may be ineligible for promotion and recommendation on major Google Play surface like Apps and Games home,” Google said.

In the company’s updated Google Play Store guidelines, Google said preview assets must accurately represent the app or game, and also provide enough information to help users decide whether to install. Developers must also refrain from including buzzwords, including “free” or “best” to describe their app or game. Google recommends that developers “instead focus on providing meaningful information about the unique aspects of your app or game?”

Finally, the search giant said Google Play Store listings must feature preview assets that are localized correctly and easy to read. These new guidelines will go into effect in the second half of 2021.


Update 1: Policy changes take effect in September

Back in April, Google announced that it will crack down on Play Store listings with misleading titles and graphics. Today, Google has announced that this crackdown will begin on September 29, 2021. Following this date, Google will remove any Play Store listing with spam text or graphics in the app title, icon, or developer name. For more details on what is and isn’t allowed, visit Google’s support page on the Play Console or watch the “PolicyBytes” video summarizing the new policy changes.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.