Google Play is introducing a new age-rating system to its online store, a report from The Guardian says. The new ruling will affect app developers, who will be required to fill out a questionnaire about their product before it gets published. Up until now, developers were only required to give their app or game a simple rating.
Currently, apps which are already uploaded to the Play Store will be marked as unrated, which could mean some software may be banned in certain countries.
Google Play will be working alongside several countries in order to determine what content is appropriate. Age-rating boards they’ll be working with include PEGI, ESRB, USK, ClassInd and the Australian Classification Board.
Purnima Kochikar, director of apps and games at Google Play, says the company understands that there are different ideas of appropriateness in different parts of the world.
Different countries have different ideas of what content is appropriate for kids. We’re going to help developers categorise their apps for the right audience.
As well as a new age-rating system, Google Play will also be introducing new guidelines for apps, according to CNET. Developers wishing to publish their app or game to the store will be required to have their product approved by a “team of experts.”
So long as apps meet requirements that don’t violate developer policies, Google says it will be published to the Play Store, “within a matter of hours.” An app or game that could potentially violate the policy will include titles that feature gratuitous violence and other explicit material, hate speech, “dangerous products,” gambling, spam and content that infringes on copyright.
Writing on the company blog, a spokesperson for Google said that developers, “now have more insight into why apps are rejected or suspended, and they can easily fix and resubmit their apps for minor policy violations.”
Google Play – which recently began to close the gap on its market competitor Apple – is the main choice for Android users to download apps and games onto their mobile devices. Having the new age-rating system on its store will hopefully give users a better understanding of what certain software offerings feature. Kochikar feels it’s just good business practice.
Right now, we are reaching one billion people in more than 190 countries, and more and more developers – big and small – are building successful businesses on[Google] Play. We have really looked at being better business partners for developers.
The new age-rating system and expert review policy will be coming into effect this May. Google Play is giving developers six weeks to get their apps rated.
[Image via Google.]