Google removed more than a quarter of a million apps a year ago that attempted to deceive users by impersonating famous apps. For 2017, they not only improved on their ability to detect bad apps, they discovered new techniques that help them identify repeat offenders.
When it fails, and it will fail sometimes, Google's director of Android security, Adrian Ludwig, explained to ComputerWorld's J.R. Raphael: "The challenge that all detection technology runs into, inclusive of Google Play Protect, is when we see a completely new family coming from a different environment - especially if [the apps] are on the borderline of behavior that might be considered to be potentially harmful and not quite potentially harmful". The US and Germany were kept apart by Taiwan on the App Store and South Korea on Google Play. Yikes. Bad people sure do love them some Android it seems.
The report highlights that Apple continues to lead in terms of app revenue while Google maintains its lead in app download volume.
When you think about it, the fact that so many apps were removed from Google Play is a good thing. Basically, through the use of improved AI, the company has been able to provide more protections for Android users. Tens of thousands of apps featuring inappropriate content like pornography, extreme violence, hate and illegal activities were also pulled.
The majority of deleted apps were copycats, made by developers trying to milk the success of popular apps. A Copycat app is one that tries to impersonate a famous app by using icons that are the same or similar, and by creating the name to be as close as possible to the original with a slight difference or using Unicode characters that look similar.
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