Keeping you safe: Google removed a record number of bad apps from Play Store in 2017

Google removed a record number of bad apps from Play Store in 2017
There aren't many online platforms that can compare to the size of Google's Play Store. It is estimated that the Android digital distribution service hosts more than 3.5 million apps, with thousands of new offerings being uploaded on a daily basis. Given these numbers, we won't exactly go out on a limb by saying that keeping the app store free from malicious software and developers isn't an easy undertaking. Still, it looks like Google is getting better at protecting users and their devices from harm's way. 

A recent post on the Android Developers Blog reveals that Google removed more than 700,000 apps that violated Google Play policies during the last year. That's an increase of 70% compared to 2016. While this does sound impressive, the more important thing is that 99% of these apps were taken down or rejected before anyone could download and install them. 

Furthermore, 100,000 bad developers were banned in the process, with the company also stating that it has made it "more difficult" for such parties to create new accounts in their attempts to publish additional malicious content. Google Play Product Manager Andrew Ahn attributes the safety improvements to new machine learning models and techniques.

Ahn also listed the most common types of bad apps. Copycats are likely the most frequent offenders. Creators of such apps attempt to amass installs by impersonating popular titles and siphoning the high search traffic associated with them. More than a 250,000 of these were removed in 2017.  

Apps that contain or promote pornography, extreme violence, hate, or other inappropriate content are also on Google's blacklist. Last but not least, we have PHAs or potentially harmful apps that contain or act as trojans, phishing attacks, or other exploits. The implementation of Google Play Protect has halved the number of PHA installs, but the company says that it will continue to invest heavily in new safeguarding methods to keep these out of the Play Store. 

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