"We are committed to make Google Play the most trusted and safe app store in the world", Kleidermacher and Ahn wrote. The apps are removed from the Store in order to ensure that Android users are better protected.
One of the criticisms levelled against Google for the Play Store issues thus far was the that there was too much automation in monitoring and weeding out the bad and unsafe apps. A Google rep told me that the Play team is applying Machine Learning more broadly, using it to identify not just bad apps but the developer networks that create them.
The most critical information shared by Google today is the fact that 99 percent of these apps with misleading or abusive content were identified and removed by the company even before anyone could install them previous year. When you look at 2016, there was about a 70 percent increase in the apps removed between 2016 and 2017.
Interestingly, due to video streaming apps' in-app subscriptions, consumer spending on Entertainment apps across Google Play and App Store grew over four times from 2015 to 2017. "Tens of thousands of apps with inappropriate content were taken down a year ago as a result of such improved detection methods", Ahn adds.
Google is quite aware that it can't detect every single malicious app before it hits the store, though.
"In 2017, we took down more than a quarter of a million of impersonating apps", notes the blog post.
Google's Files Go app, which was unveiled alongside other "Go" edition apps and Android 8.0 Oreo (Go Edition), has been updated with some new features. With the integration, businesses can automate the app vetting process directly in the tools used to configure managed Google Play, eliminating long bottlenecks and costly manual app security testing and approval.
Coming to the inappropriate content, Google says that it never allow apps that contain or promote inappropriate content, such as pornography, extreme violence, hate, and illegal activities. Avast, an antivirus company, also found the same malware across several apps, like in games of Solitaire. "Enterprises now can have additional peace of mind, knowing that the apps their employees use for work meet their company's security and compliance criteria".
Stamping out harmful apps is a never-ending effort for Google - but at least it's getting easier.
Either way, it's nice to get a little check in on how big companies are handling the hard task of policing their app stores, especially since it's a problem that's only going to get worse. Do you believe Google when it says that many apps are removed before they are able to be installed onto devices?