Google Play’s Terms and Conditions for Android Developers

know the developer rules of Google PlaySince the move to Google Play, Google has been culling low-quality apps from their store. Since Google Play is the number one avenue for app discovery, having your app booted from there can be a real setback in your app career.

It’s not exactly easy to find the Terms and Conditions, and once you do, it’s not exactly clear what the terms are. To make life easier, I thought I’d explain the basic policies. (Remember that this is my explanation, not the official position of Google. For the official scoop, see the above link.)

The following are not allowed:

  • Nudity/Pornography – Apps which contain nudity or pornography, as well as apps which drive traffic to sites which contain nudity or pornography are not allowed. Additionally, if there is anything illegal, such as child pornography, you’ll lose your Google account and Google will report it to the appropriate authorities.
  • Violence or bullying – “Google Play should not contain materials that threaten, harass or bully other users.”
  • Hate speech of any sort – this is probably a response to apps like the “Is your son gay?” app.
  • Users under age 13. (Users under 18 require parental permission.)
  • Impersonation – Do not impersonate anyone or mislead people into believing that your app represents anyone or anything it doesn’t.
  • Providing personal information – “Credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, driver and other license numbers, or any other information that is not publicly accessible.” This means you can’t publish phone numbers that are unlisted in your app.
  • Copyright infringement. To file a DMCA request, go to http://www.google.com/dmca.html. This means that song apps may be taken down if you are not the owner of the music.
  • Any Illegal action. Be warned that illegal action will lead both to account termination, and to Google contacting legal authorities!
  • Bad stuff – “Viruses, worms, defects, Trojan horses, malware, or any other items of a destructive nature. We don’t allow content that harms or interferes with the operation of the networks, servers, or other infrastructure of Google, carriers, or any third-parties. Spam, malicious scripts and password phishing scams are also prohibited on Google Play.”

Be warned, Google has a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy. If your app gets thrown out, it will be almost impossible to get it back in.

If your app has been removed from Google Play, though, don’t give up. Check out this list of five other app stores.

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