Google implements stricter app testing requirements for new Android developers

In a recent announcement, Google revealed its upcoming policy changes for new Android developers with personal Play Console accounts to conduct thorough app testing with a minimum of 20 individuals for at least a two-week period before the app’s publication. 

The move aims to enhance the quality of apps on the Play Console and is accompanied by an increased investment in the app review processes. Google warns of potential delays in approvals for a select number of apps during the rollout of these changes.

Google highlights that developers utilizing its testing tools experience, on average, three times the number of app installs and user engagement. While this success may not be solely attributed to Google’s tools, the emphasis is placed on developers adopting app testing practices. Going forward, app testing will become a mandatory step for developers creating new Play Console accounts, eliminating the optional nature of this process.

Although Google does not provide an exact timeframe, it states that new developers with individual accounts will be required to test their apps with at least 20 users for a minimum of two weeks before publishing. This measure is intended to help developers identify and address issues, bugs, and gather valuable user feedback before the official app launch. The requirement is expected to be implemented in the Play Console in the coming days.

Meanwhile, current developers are now obligated to fulfill verification requirements, including providing a D-U-N-S number, prior to app publication. “Starting today, you can choose your preferred deadline in Play Console. Deadlines are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so choose your deadline early to guarantee a timeframe that works for you. If you don’t choose a deadline before February 29, 2024, we’ll assign one for you automatically,” Google said. 

In conjunction with these changes, Google is intensifying its focus on the app review process. Historically perceived as less stringent than Apple’s, Google’s review teams will now dedicate more time to assess new apps for policy compliance and to prevent fraud, both within and outside the Play Store.

This strategic shift comes in response to issues observed in both the App Store and Google Play in India, where predatory lending apps targeted financially vulnerable consumers. To address this, Google aims to strengthen its app review process to safeguard users from fraudulent practices.

Additionally, Google is addressing concerns related to app permissions with the upcoming release of Android 14. Developers will gain more granular permission flow options, allowing them to request access to specific photos or videos rather than the entire gallery.

While these changes are anticipated to enhance app quality and user protection, Google cautions that the more rigorous app review process may result in longer review times for certain apps, particularly those requiring specific device permissions or targeting children.

Last week, Google announced that Google Play now prominently features apps that have undergone “Independent security reviews” in its search results, starting with VPN apps. 

Written by Sophie Blake


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