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Content ratings latest feature on Android Market

As we head into the announcement of Android's next release, the Market is seeing plenty of improvement and enhancements.

Last week the Android Market underwent some changes ahead of the impending Gingerbread announcement. No we can add another enhancement to the list: content ratings.

Effective tomorrow, developers logging into the Android Market console will be required to rate their applications. Similar to the system used in video games or movies, the ratings will vary based on guidelines created by Google and will carry either an All, Pre-Teen, Teen, or Mature classification.

For example, any apps that ask users for their location at any point should be rated Pre-Teen or higher. Or if the application lets users publish or share their location with others, it should pick up a Teen rating at minimum. References to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs will also garner a Teen rating whereas an app that focuses on consumption or sale of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco should carry a Mature rating.

According to an e-mail sent to developers last week, the changes will take effect in the next few weeks when any applications left unrated will garner a Mature classification. Android users will be able to filter applications and games based on ratings and preferences. What's more, it will be possible to flag an app for having an inappropriate rating. Google reserves the right to re-rate titles based on its guidelines, and may potentially remove repeat offenders from the Android Market.