back to article Google to ban emoji, deceptive marketing, and ALL CAPS from Play Store metadata later this year

Google is warning developers it won’t allow misleading or hyperbolic app descriptions by year-end, in an attempt to make the world’s biggest app bazaar feel less like the feedback section of an eBay profile. Per the new guidelines, Google will limit app names to just 30 characters, with developers banned from using ALL-CAPS, …

  1. Paratrooping Parrot

    30 character limit is limited

    30 character limit?

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch will not be happy.

    This is just a slightly longer version of MSDOS's 8+3 ASCII alphanumeric character limit.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: 30 character limit is limited

      And they've torpedoed, if you'll pardon the expression, my plan to offer an information app for German-speaking officers in the Danube steamboat company (Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän)

      Curse you Google and your arbitrary restrictions! Thanks to your shortsightedness, Apple are going to own the market for Danube steamboat captain-related apps!

    2. Timbo

      Re: 30 character limit is limited

      If EVERY app is going to be limited to a 30 character limit, does that mean that there will be lots of similar apps all with the same name?

      So how many "Best Android File Manager v1.0" apps will there be?

      and what about "Dive case connector for Google Camera" - will that be renamed?

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: 30 character limit is limited

      The 30 character limit is arbitrary and pernicious. One of my apps has 37 characters in its name, none of which are emojis, all caps, promotional words or whatever. All of them are required to understand what the app is and if I remove any words from that title I may have to use an acronym which it will be confusing for users.

      I totally agree with all Google's other new requirements and don't infringe any of them but a 30 character title limit is too small.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 30 character limit is limited

        What's wrong with a free app using "[free]" to distinguish itself from the "[pro]" version?

    4. Bill Gray

      Re: 30 character limit is limited


      There! FTFY. At least it's better than LLANFA~1.

  2. katrinab Silver badge

    I don't have a problem with apps describing themselves as "ad free" provided they are actually ad free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are ad-free Android apps?

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Sure there are, like the.. oh no wait, that one does, how about... ah no, caught myself in time, that one does too. Hmm.

        Try the Ham, Eggs, Spam and Spam. That doesn't have much Spam in it.

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        One or two. Lithium is an ebook reader in which I have seen not one advert. Kobo is another ebook reader, better in some ways but worse in others than Lithium which at least restricts its adverts to trying to sell me more ebooks.

        Duolingo (a language course) was originally sold as advert free but has since acquired them.

        Oh, and an app from Potsdam council so I know when to put the bins out.

      3. mark l 2 Silver badge

        I have quite a few genuine adfree apps and games on my phone, done by developers who created them because they had a passion to make something useful and give it away for free.

        RetroArch, Firefox, Frozen Bubble, Connect bot are just some of the ones that I know I have installed and don't have ads.

        Cutting the character limit to 30 will mean lots more apps all going by the same sounding names, and this is bad enough already on the Play store.

        1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

          They can, or could maybe in the past, not sure if those googleidiots fixed it, just add whitespace to the name

          So you could have


          “Skype “

          “ Skype”

          “ Skype “

      4. Marki Mark

        My Pi-Hole seems to have made all my apps ad-free ;)

        1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

          Runs as root


      5. iron Silver badge

        Yes I have published several. Ad free.. tracking free... no collectrion of PII... and now Google want to punish me because one of them has 37 characters in it's title.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Stands to reason Google would want to punish you; you're doing nothing to help them with their ad revenue.

      6. secondtimeuser

        Impressively Forza Street manages to be both ad free, and a free to play mobile game that's actually fun to play (if you like racing games).

      7. Alumoi Silver badge

        Yeap. AdAway, AFWall and DisableService to the rescue!

      8. CJ_C

        There are on :F-Droid...

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      I imagine that "don't Do Evil" has a problem if the app is ad-free and really has a problem if it signals that in its metadata, thereby allowing punters to search for it.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Out of the Spitting Frying Pan and into the Raging Fire .... is Typical of a May Day

    And the company is taking a firmer line on preview assets (pictures, videos, and screenshots that aren’t part of the metadata, but are nonetheless used to promote the app), and plans to take action against apps that use misleading content to entice punters.

    This addresses an issue that’s proven endemic within the free-to-play gaming sphere. Developers of microtransaction-hungry titles will often use promotional materials that ultimately bear no resemblance to the staid, rapacious experience the game offers.

    Because let’s face it, if you’re the type of moral vacuum that would create a free-to-play game in the first place, you’re unlikely to draw the line at using deceptive marketing tactics. In this case, Google has to take action.

    That novel development, which surprisingly easily can extremely quickly make a small jump and almighty quantum leap across no physical barriers, to invisibly spread out and infect any number of real life applications with some right tricky dicky, renegade rogue programming in both the international global and local national geopolitical sectors whenever it is realised more widely in the wild and conned public spheres of influence and confluence that such misleading shenanigans as many an advertiser and snake oiler uses, are the endemic systemic corrupt fare/modus vivendi et operandi of both sitting government parties and competing oppositional aspirants, vying and anxious to try out their luck and their skills with their hands, hearts and minds on the levers and wheels of great fortunes and national treasure that are always there somewhere, and available to provide exemplary lead with demonstrations of magnanimous progress for all to see and accept as worthy of support and reward ..... rather than failure to perform as both required and/or promised inviting punitive peer sanction and a suitably appropriate purging devastation of offensive systems administrations.

    If one considers the state of such as may be great geopolitical plays today, and whenever one knows what can be done easily and quickly, simply by some making a small jump and almighty quantum leap across no physical barriers, why wouldn't they? Do you think they should, and in having done so, give y'all something much more attractive to always be able to think further about?

    That is a choice program choice always available to you.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Out of the Spitting Frying Pan and into the Raging Fire .... is Typical of a May Day

      And whatever happened to the earlier Google pioneers and lunatic rovers of the G.C.H.E.E.S.E. Program which had very similar aspirations with regard to quality of information and product content ‽

      The Google Copernicus Hosting Environment and Experiment in Search Engineering (G.C.H.E.E.S.E.) is a fully integrated research, development and technology facility at which Google will be conducting experiments in entropized information filtering, high-density high-delivery hosting (HiDeHiDeHo) and de-oxygenated cubicle dwelling. This center will provide a unique platform from which Google will leapfrog current terrestrial-based technologies and bring information access to new heights of utility.

      Have they decamped and set up an alien planetary base elsewhere further and deeper into their fields of abiding interest?

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        @amanfromMars 1 -- Re: Out of the Spitting Frying Pan and into the Raging Fire ... May Day

        Just to check, did that press release come out on April 1?

  4. Chris G

    Whenever Google et al do something for the benefit of consumers, why do I feel they are not?

    1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

      Because just like all corporations, there is a lunatic sociopath at the helm, but they’re really good at hiding their affliction

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      > Whenever Google et al do something for the benefit of consumers,

      You'll know when they start doing it.

      Consumers are a resource, and you don't do things for the benefice of a resource, you mine it before some competitor does.

  5. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    These mobile app stores, google or apple, doesnt matter.

    Searching through them for some gem, is much like mining, most of the crap you have to deal with is useless rock, and after your efforts you might just end up with a lot of useless rocks.

    But the analogy stops there, at least in mining, the gems you find, do not suddenly disappear because they didnt pay the appstore fees.

    Apple, Google, from my own observations and experiences, behave very similarly to pikeys

  6. Edward Bernays

    "Deceptive Marketing" ... but all marketing is deceptive.

  7. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    And that is the end of Google's toy store

    Improving Play Store would mean creating dedicated and enforced metadata about advertisements, payments, and privacy. Google has essentially announced that Play Store is dead; a more infinite wasteland of malware and bot-generated ad spewers than it already is.

  8. TimMaher Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    At least....

    With Android, you can publish your own.

    Not with Apple.

    Why am I wasting my subscription fee?


  9. Claptrap314 Silver badge


    meet lipstick.

    Badware is not something you can automate your way out of. This business model is bad for consumers.

  10. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Lies, Marketing, and Politicians pronouncements

    I agree that the 30 character limit is too low but some of the apps have ridiculous names. I saw one the other day that was similar to "Crucial Strike - Best Online Multiplayer FPS shooting game Android App". Well duh, they are all online, almost all are multiplayer, FPS makes "shooting game" redundant,... and if you don't know you have an Android phone, then what are you doing in the Google Play Store doofus!

    I frequently take the piss out of TV (and other) adverts these days. So many of them are such utter garbage that I'm amazed they even make it past their lawyers. BT definitely need to sack their marketing bods as they have been knocked back so many times for claiming the "Best WiFi in the whole world EVER!" it's hilarious.

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