Google Slams Banhammer On Rogue Google Play Apps With Lockscreen Ads

Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 XLImage Raymond Wong Mashable

December is upon us and Google has revealed its annual list of top Android apps of the year, some of which may come off as surprising picks. And they have been doing exactly that, but no more, thanks to a new policy.

Display advertising might be Google's bread and butter, but not all ads are created equal - obnoxious banners, pop-ups, and interstitials are a recipe for bad user experiences and low click-through rates.

There appears to be a new section called Lockscreen Monetization and it is stated that unless the app's objective is that of a lock screen, the Android apps may not introduce features or ads that monetize the locked display of the specific device in which they are introduced.

A "Next Billion Users" unit formed by Google chief executive Sundar Pichai set to work on Datally about two years ago, after traveling the world and finding that the cost of mobile data services was a vexation, especially in places where budgets are tight and smartphones are the main way people go online.

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Many a time, these ads on the lock screen are not ignorable and accidental clicks on the same are obtrusive as well as exploitative as these might redirect the users to websites that can phish the personal details stored on the device. Being a standalone app, it will also be much helpful and easier for people in finding it and do not forget to use. It also takes up almost the entire screen and interferes with normal use.

Developers in both Google Play and non-Play app markets have to abide by these new guidelines on handling user data and disclosure.

This shady practice has been an ongoing issue for a growing number of Android apps as developers try to essentially trick users into clicking the ads, which are often unrelated to the app itself. That might be somewhat tolerable if the apps themselves were custom lockscreens, but that is not the case.

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