Apps are the lifeblood of mobile devices. Without them, smartphones suddenly become average and tablets are far less entertaining. Given the proliferation of mobile devices in today’s culture, it’s more important now than ever to protect people from those with malicious intent.
Google did just that in 2017 by removing more than 700,000 apps from Google Play that violated the store’s policies. According to Google Play Product Manager Andrew Ahn, Google pulled 70 percent more apps from its marketplace in 2017 compared to the previous year.
Google isn’t simply taking action against more apps – they’re also doing it in a timelier manner. Ahn claims 99 percent of apps with abusive content were identified and rejected before anyone could install them.
Apps that violate Google Play policies come in all shapes and sizes.
Google removed more than a quarter of a million apps last year that attempted to deceive users by impersonating famous apps. Tens of thousands of apps featuring inappropriate content like pornography, extreme violence, hate and illegal activities were also pulled.
Elsewhere, Google reduced the rate of potentially harmful application (PHA) installations by a factor of 10 compared to 2016.
Ahn credited new machine learning models and techniques as being key to their continued ability to detect abuse. He also highlighted new detection models and approaches that can identify repeat offenders and abusive developer networks. As a result, Google was able to remove 100,000 bad actors and make it harder for them to create new accounts in an attempt to regain access.