Google rolled out an app approval process last year which was designed to improve the quality of apps on the App Store and rate each app in the appropriate age bracket. However, it seems all checks and balances have failed when it comes to Pakistani apps on the Google Play Store.
Where are Google’s App Submission, Review and Oversight Rules?
A brief perusal of the top free and top new apps in Pakistan reveals some absolutely disgusting and obscene apps that have had hundreds of thousands of installs. We ask: where the hell is oversight of what gets into the App Store?
While speaking with app developers, we came to know that this is a very well known issue when it comes to the Android App Store. One developer told us, ‘You can literally get anything up on the App Store as long as it’s an APK and it installs properly.’
To be really honest, most of the apps are to obscene to even be shown as a screenshot here. You can visit the new section on the Play Store yourself if you want to be horrified at the fact that even kids could see those apps.
There are dozens of obscene apps in the Top New and Top Free sections of the Google Play Store
If Google really wants to connect the next billion, maybe it should start focusing on what they’re connecting them with as well. The company has previously said that a team of human reviewers would go hands-on with each app before it goes live on the Play Store. Is that just for the western markets or is Pakistan in the plan as well? And if it is, maybe they should fire the reviewers en mass and get new ones that can do their job well.
This also highlights the rampant abuse of the Star System to rate apps. No one in their right minds would ever give these apps a 5 star rating, let alone waste time and actually bother to rate them. Most reviews on these ad laced bogus apps are clearly paid, with 5 stars along with an unintelligible one liner comment.
Failing the Youth
It bears mentioning that the latest additions to Pakistan’s internet population, which recently hit 27 million on just mobile, are the most vulnerable to such obnoxious apps and their content.
The government has been on a porn blocking spree which shows that they want objectionable material to be censored for the newly initiated. It’s high time they carry over this policy to apps and take Google to task over such apps making it to the App Store, which is the default gateway for any Android user.
If Google has turned a blind eye to such apps, then at least PTA should come ahead and save the youth from this obscenity
There have been efforts to make Google take action against such apps but they have fallen on deaf ears. It falls upon the relevant authorities like PTA to make a government level complaint or demand an explanation, which might provide better results.
At the same time, we’d also like to appeal to the people making these apps to have some shame. If you’ve put in the effort to actually learn Java, surely there’s a more productive way you can spend your time, no?
For our readers, till the issue is resolved, safe browsing.
Thanks to Abdul Basit Suhail for the tip!