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Google Play website adds option to flag apps as inappropriate

The option to report inappropriate or malicious apps has been available in the Play mobile app, but now Google has added the option on the Play website.


As any Android user knows, app discovery on Google Play can be a bit of a crapshoot. Since the app store has very low barriers to entry, there's a lot of dross on there: misleading apps that aren't as advertised, cloned apps that aren't from the original developer, malicious apps that contain spyware.

Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

On the Google Play app on your Android device, you can report these; but until recently, there had been no option to do so on the Google Play website. Now, however, Google has added a link to app pages on Google Play that lets users flag apps as inappropriate under the "Additional Information" section, Android Police has reported.

Clicking the link takes you to the Google Play help page, where you can choose the grounds on which you believe the app should be removed from Google Play. It's not perfect; for example, only copyright holders can flag cloned apps that have copied their own content; and, to flag apps as inappropriate, Google still directs you elsewhere -- either back to the Google Play app or to the Android Developer Help Centre.

Users can also flag music, inappropriate app reviews -- for example, comment spam or fake reviews -- and replies from the developer. These reports are sent to Google, which then decides whether to take action.

It's certainly a step in the right direction, and better than Apple's iTunes, which currently offers no easy-to-find means to report inappropriate apps, instead requiring users to use its convoluted support website.