Even for all of the marketshare Android claims, the Google Play Store hasn’t always been the safest place to download apps. Google has made giant strides to improve this issue, and it reached a new pinnacle in 2017 by removing an insane amount of apps that violated its policies.
Google revealed it took down 700,000 bad apps in 2017 that posed a threat to users. That was a 70-percent increase over the number of apps taken down in 2016. Google notes that not only did it “remove more bad apps, [it was] able to identify and take action against them earlier.” Of the apps removed, 99-percent with abusive content were identified and taken down before users downloaded them.
Google credits improvements made in machine learning and techniques to detect the abuse for the drastic improvement. The end result was taking down more than 100,000 bad developers and implementing better safeguards to prevent these bad actors from creating new accounts and publishing more bad apps.
Some of the bad apps that Google was able to flag were copycats, featured inappropriate content or were Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs).
Even for the success Google had in taking down potentially harmful apps, some did make it passed Google’s safeguards and downloaded by users. Google says it takes these accounts extremely serious and will continue to improve its system to localize and take down the small number of bad apps that are still making it through.