Google updates Android's Play Store developer program policies

Also in today's open source roundup: Google's changes to Android N leak, and Solus 1.1 has been released with bug fixes and feature enhancements

Google updates Android's Play Store developer program policies

Google updates Play Store developer program policies

Google has been busy making changes to Android's Play Store developer program policies. Developers recently received a letter from Google spelling out these changes. A redditor posted the letter in the Android subreddit and it spawned a large discussion thread.

Here's the text of the letter:

Hello Google Play Developer,

We're excited to announce the launch of a redesigned Google Play Developer Policy Center, an online resource which strives to provide developers with greater transparency and insight into our program policies.

This redesign includes a new organizational structure for the Developer Program Policies, which are now grouped into six themes. We've also introduced detailed guidelines and visual examples to help you better understand the policies.

In our continuing effort to make Google Play the most trusted community for developers and consumers, we also took this opportunity to update a few policies in accordance with current practices. This email is to notify you of the latest changes to our policies, a few of which are highlighted below.

We've updated our Ads policy to prohibit inappropriate ads.

We've clarified our Ads policy to prohibit certain ad behaviors that interfere with device functionality.

We've introduced restrictions on apps that try to bypass system power management features under the Device and Network Abuse policy.

We've clarified our User Data policy to include a privacy policy requirement when collecting contact/phonebook data.

Any new apps or app updates published after this notification will be immediately subject to the latest version of the Developer Program Policy. If you find any existing apps in your catalog that don't comply, we ask that you unpublish the app, or fix and republish the app within 30 calendar days of receiving this email. After this period, existing apps discovered to be in violation may be subject to warning or removal from Google Play.

Thanks for partnering with us to deliver the world's most innovative and trusted apps to over a billion Google Play users. We're always looking for feedback, so please take a minute to check out the new site and tell us what you think!

Thanks for supporting Google Play,

The Google Play Team

More at Reddit

Google's letter to developers got some opinionated responses from Android redditors:

LookitheFirst: "How will this change affect apps like Greenify?"

Nakotadinzeo: "I think they may be referring to apps that force the device to stay awake, also since greenify does this with the user's consent... probably not a problem."

Deanhakimi: ""Consent" isn't even the issue. Facebook can get "consent." The policy should say that apps can only access power settings if accessing those power settings is a major feature in and of itself."

Matejdro: "This is cool and all but will it be enforced?

Inappropriate ads (I'm talking about "you have a virus" ads) and apps that spam your notification tray were banned before, but they are still very common sight even in very popular apps."

Drfunnyguy: "Google doesn't do any QA for ads submitted via Googles adnetwork (e.g. Admob) as these types of ads are appearing on admob."

Zivan56: "Some APIs don't work properly when the phone goes to sleep or the screen turns off. Google has yet to fix bugs for these issues that have been open for years.

For example, the CellID API for pre-Android 4.2 devices requires that the screen is on, otherwise it stops sending updates until the screen comes back on. This isn't documented anywhere, and seems to be legacy Qualcomm device behaviour from the early Android days (it also did this in Windows Mobile!)

This API is still requires for most Samsung phones even on 6.0, and other phones that still have not implemented the 4.2 API.

Not sure how Google is going to deal with this, as complying with their policies will render apps that use these APIs useless on many phones."

Triumfas: "I hope facebook apps will be usable again. It just eats battery now."

Questionseverything: "They've been hiring Android devs specifically for optimizing their Android app (I know as they've reached out to me and a colleague of mine). I simply asked them "why not just release FB Lite to everyone instead of 3rd-world countries?" and they acted like they never heard of FB Lite."

Mib5799: "Dump them."

Blockerville: "I know it's easy for people on this sub to say stuff like "uninstall Facebook" when they rarely use it, but the fact is a lot of people actually use it. Facebook Messenger is my main messaging app simply because all of my friends are on it. It's really not practical to tell everyone to install an alternative app just to message me. As a side note though I use Metal for Facebook as my main Facebook client, but Messenger has no good alternative and is the real battery sucker."

More at Reddit

Google's changes to Android N leak

Speaking of Google, many people have been wondering what kind of changes the company will be making in Android N. There have been a few recent leaks based on an early build of Android N that give us an idea of what Google has been up to behind the scenes.

Brad Reed reports for BGR:

When it comes to the quick settings panel, the renders show Google has added pagination so that you'll be able to swipe between two panels of settings instead of just one. This means you can pick which settings you want on your main panel while you lump the settings you use less often in the secondary panel.

When it comes to notifications, it looks like they'll be less colorful than the current version — instead of having different colored icons for every notification, you'll have a lot more black and white instead. You'll also notice that the separation between the different notifications isn't as pronounced as it is on Android 6.0 Marshmallow...

All of this is subject to change, of course, since this is a leak based on an early build.

More at BGR

Solus 1.1 released

The Solus developers have been hard at work on their first point release, and now Solus 1.1 has finally been released. Solus users should be quite pleased with this update since it has various bug fixes and feature enhancements that make it worth installing.

Silviu Stahie reports for Softpedia:

When the team promised some big changes for the 1.1 version, they weren't kidding. This is a massive update, and it's really difficult to list all of the modifications and improvements, but here is a rundown of the most important stuff.

"We are proud to announce the release of Solus 1.1, the first point release in the Shannon series of releases. Solus 1.1 builds upon the groundwork of 1.0 with subtle refinements and improvements to Budgie, large core and graphics stack improvements, and furthers us on our journey to create something that you can just use, something that just works," developer Josh Strobl explained in the announcement.

First of all, the Budgie desktop environment has been upgraded to version 10.2.4, which solves some issues with icons, network, and rendering. The most important change is definitely the move from GDM to LightDM.

Also, a number of hardware optimizations have been made, which means that components like Mesa, Xorg, X11 driver, and Nouveau drivers have been upgrades as well. Preliminary OpenGL 4.1 support is provided as well.

More at Softpedia

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