Google to take action against misleading app titles and previews in Google Play

Google Play Policy is about to change for the greater good

Google has officially announced new guidelines for all applications listed on Google Play, related to misleading app titles and previews. This is meant to target apps and games which use popular keywords to get downloads. These new policies were listed in the Android Developers Blog.

Long titles with keywords are not cool anymore

The new policies regarding misleading titles are as follows:

  • “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”

It is now recommended that applications keep their titles short and below the 30-character limit. They should not use text or graphic elements (app icon) to indicate ranking, promoting deals, or telling users to download their app.

It is also recommended that letters in the title are not uppercase unless the brand name contains uppercase letters. Using emojis or other special characters, which are irrelevant to the app’s services, is also not recommended. This basically means that if apps want to be promoted/featured on the front page and want to be noticed, they should follow these guidelines. Additionally, there were also new guidelines that were revealed concerning app previews.

Misleading preview assets targeted as well

In the Developers blog, there were a bunch of questions regarding misleading previews that publishers might want to ask themselves, before showing off misleading content. They basically boil down to a few points which are of importance.

  • Preview assets must accurately represent the app or game.
  • These assets must provide enough information to help users decide whether to install or not.
  • They must be free of buzzwords like “free” or “best” and instead focus on providing meaningful information about the unique aspects of the app or game.
  • The preview assets must be localized correctly and should be easy to read.

This should reduce the number of apps with obnoxiously long and misleading titles meant to get clicks. Here’s a few examples of apps that take advantage of the algorithm by using popular keywords.

Google misleading app titles
Some example of app titles which have used popular keywords for success

It is to observe how at times publishers have made it a habit to come up with long titles. These titles are full of buzzwords. In such scenarios, people have taken advantage of popular games by making up similar titles and piggybacking off of their success. These new guidelines would be in effect from the second half of 2021. Hopefully, these steps would make browsing through the Play Store a better experience without getting bombarded by low-effort games using keywords to exploit the system.

What are your thoughts on the new regulations of Google on misleading app titles and previews? Let us know in the comments below.

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