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Android developers puzzled over missing apps

Over the last five or so days, some Android applications resubmitted to the Android Market have disappeared, and Google has yet to provide details on the issue.

Google Android support forums
It took several days for a Google customer service representative to respond to Android developer concerns over missing apps.
Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET

Updated 2:00 p.m. PDT with additional information and word the problem has been fixed.

Android developers are reporting that Google has been slow to react to applications that are disappearing from the Android Market.

Some developers who had resubmitted applications to the Android Market starting around Thursday following the addition of small updates say their applications could no longer be found within the Android Market following the update, according to a report from ReadWriteWeb. Multiple developers reported the issue within Android developer forums and the Android Market forums over the weekend, but Google has mostly remained silent on the issue.

A Google forum administrator did post this note Tuesday morning after ReadWriteWeb's report came out: "Our team is hard at work investigating this issue. We hope to have an update available to share soon." But Google representatives have not responded to requests for comment on what exactly is happening and how Google plans to fix the problem.

The issue highlights a sore point in the Google customer experience: it can be extremely difficult to reach a real live human being at Google, which tends to employ a forum/FAQ/e-mail technical support strategy for everyone but its paid Google Apps customers.

It's also a little jarring at a time when Google and Apple are competing fiercely for the hearts and minds of developers, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs honed his pitch to developers Monday during the first day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Updated 2:00 p.m.: Google's Android Developers Blog put out a post apologizing for the issues and saying that everything has been fixed. "While we were internally troubleshooting and qualifying the fix and communicating with our hardware partners, developers were trying hard to get our help through various technical support sites. Regrettably, we fell short of our own standard for customer support by not communicating the issue to our developers and how we were working to resolve it," said Tim Bray, developer advocate for Google's Android project, in the post.

A Google representative said the fix involved patching code for the Android Market, and Android users should be seeing any and all applications that were affected by the glitch as of now.