Google Play's new dev policies aim to improve child privacy and safety

Google Play now requires devs to declare their target audience to host an app on the store, and abide by additional rules if their app is aimed at children.

Google has rolled out changes to its Android Google Play storefront that require devs to declare their target audience and abide by additional rules if that audience includes children.

The new rules are the subject of a post over on the Google Developer Blog and are an evolution of existing policies that deal with content and advertising guidelines for kids' apps.

A full rundown of the new policies in effect can be found on Google's developer policy center, but, in short, all devs on the Google Play Store are required to list the target age group for their game or app in the dev console’s new target audience and content section.

Games and apps aimed at kids, or that may appeal to children, are required to meet policy requirements regarding content and personal information and use ads from a network with certified compliance to Google Play’s families policies. The new section is live in the Google Play developer console as of today, but developers that already have apps on the store have until September 1 to fill the form out and comply with the new policies.

This move comes after Google has been called out multiple times for inappropriate content aimed at children in the Google Play Store. Last December, 22 child advocacy groups urged the FTC to launch an investigation into the storefront, alleging that numerous apps in its Family section collect, use, or share personal information from children without providing notice to parents, target kids with in-app purchases or advertising, or feature content not appropriate for young audiences. A separate Wired investigation from this April came to a similar conclusion, finding a number of games with inappropriate content and “dubious content and permissions” hosted on the storefront.

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