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03 March 2022

Keeping Google Play safe with our key 2022 initiatives

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Posted by Krish Vitaldevara Director, Product Management, Play and Android Trust & Safety

Safety illustration 

Keeping Google Play safe for users and developers remains our top priority. Over the past year, we’ve partnered with developers to ensure their apps are safe. We helped developers to protect their apps, prepare to share their data safety practices with users, and collaborate on building more private advertising technology. We also continued investing in machine-learning detection and enhanced app review processes to stop apps with abusive or malicious content before anyone can install them.

We also realize that it can be challenging for developers to keep up with the pace of change in this evolving privacy and security landscape. We’ve been mindful to give developers clearer updates, more time for substantial changes, and more helpful information through Inbox Console Messages, global webinars, and additional education resources. Today, we’re excited to share more about what’s ahead in 2022 to give you plenty of time to prepare.

What we look forward to this year

Giving everyone a clear way to understand an app’s data safety practices

Developers want to explain data safety to users in a clear and simple way. In the upcoming Data safety section in your app’s Play store listing, you can share how your app collects, shares, and protects user data. Users told us that they value having this information to help them decide if an app is right for them. They’ll start to see the Data safety section in Google Play store in late April, so make sure to submit your Data safety form soon. Completed Data Safety forms will be required for all app updates starting July 20.

Building a more privacy-friendly approach to advertising

We recently announced that we’re expanding the Privacy Sandbox initiative to Android. We’re working on innovative solutions to improve user privacy, while continuing to support key mechanisms that developers rely on to build their businesses and provide access to free apps for everyone. We’re building this technology in close collaboration with developers. Join our email newsletter to stay updated.

Protecting developers' apps from piracy and fraudulent activity

Last fall, we started rolling out the new Play Integrity API to help you protect their games and apps and ensure that users have the intended experience that you designed. Now, everyone has access to this new API, making it easier to detect suspicious traffic and respond faster to issues like fraud and cheating. We've built this in a future-forward way so that you can easily get new features with little build time required to upgrade. Learn how to set it up for your apps here.

Helping developers navigate SDKs

Developers shared that they want faster communication from SDK providers about critical updates, so last year we gave SDK providers a way to notify you about urgent issues in your Google Play Console. You’ve also shared that you want to learn more about an SDK’s safety and reliability to avoid wasting build time or exposing users to unsafe practices. In a few months, we’ll start sharing information like an SDK’s adoption levels, its retention rate, and the runtime permission it uses to help you choose the right SDK for your business and users.

Enhancing protections for kids and families

Last year, we continued to refine our advertising restrictions and parental control requirements to further enhance privacy and safety for kids. Eligible developers can now add a badge to their upcoming Data safety section, highlighting that they’re committed to following our Families policy. You’ll also see continued policy updates this year designed to help protect kids' safety and privacy. Join our policy webinars or watch our PolicyBytes to stay updated.

Responsible Data Collection and Use

Developers should only collect and use the data required for app functionality and improvement. For practical tips on this front, you can view our best practices guide. This year, we’re continuing to align permissions more closely with the appropriate use cases. We’re also in active conversations with developers about ways to mitigate risks from apps that leverage APIs in older Android OS versions. Stay tuned to our policy update emails, as we’ll share more soon.

Thank you for your partnership in making Google Play a safe and trustworthy platform for everyone.