Google Play is cracking down on fake reviews and fraudulent install numbers

The latest move attempts to improve the app discovery process so it's not unfairly used by developers seeking an unfair advantage.

Google is announcing several new steps to ensure that app discovery and ratings can’t be manipulated.

An update to the Android Developers Blog says Google has found some developers trying to game their app placement through fraudulent installs, fake reviews, and other “incentivized ratings.”

The company is putting new detection and filtering systems in place to try and put a stop to this. Search quality analyst Kazushi Nagayama and product manager Andrew Ahn penned a joint blog post that warned those caught could be kicked out of the store.

[Related: MyFitnessPal review: The best calorie calculator app]

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.

There shouldn’t be anything noticeably different on your end. App discovery remains a challenge, and we’ll have to see if this smoothes some things out. Developers are also urged to ensure that any third-party company promoting their app also abides by Google’s guidelines.

Why this matters: Finding a good new app remains a challenge, even for a search-focused company like Google. It only gets worse if there are numerous developers who aren’t playing by the rules. So such security crackdowns are necessary from time to time in order to keep everyone honest.

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