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Google Play review security process and move away from automation

Between the two biggest mobile platforms, Apple’s iOS has always been the more secure, due to a hefty review period where staff will check an app to make sure it complies with all rules and development procedures.

In order for Google Play to compete in the security battle, it has started using a team of humans to analyse applications before publishing them on the store.

The review process used to feature a set of algorithms to make sure no malware or bugs were added, but even that was not enough to block some of the malicious apps that crawled onto Android.

Sometime in late 2014, Google had a change of heart and moved to a fully human review team. This should mean no more slip ups in the review department, unless the app reviewers do not take their jobs seriously.

Currently, apps are being reviewed in hours, showing the team has not fully sunk into its role. Apple’s review process normally takes days, and any offending material could be subject to back and forth, or simple removal from Apple.

Part of the reason for the quick Google Play review process is it still uses automation in some areas, like checking for sexual content, or adult themes. Google has also been less finicky towards things like nudity, whereas Apple seems a lot more introverted by these types of subjects.

The Google Play store will also start featuring regional age-based rating systems on apps, making the rating process local to countries or regions, instead of giving one standardised rating for the whole world.

Google will also review these age-ratings, instead of allowing the app developer to slap any age-rating on the app or game. The update does remove quite a bit of control from app developers wanting to get past Google’s systems.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.