Play Store approval time now longer, COVID-19 apps screened

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With COVID-19 coronavirus becoming an ominous threat globally, people are constantly on the lookout for apps that provide authentic information. However, in the past few weeks, hackers have taken advantage of this surge in search of coronavirus content and put up fake coronavirus tracking apps to steal sensitive personal information. Google has taken down most of these scam applications from the Play Store and now wants people to have the most genuine information out there.

For this, Google Play is now only going to approve COVID-19 (coronavirus) related apps that are authentic. Which means only applications that are authorized, commissioned or published by official government entity or a public health organization. Also, the app should not have any monetization medium such as in-app products, in-app donations or ads in the release notes, screenshots or descriptions.

Extended review time for apps

With an increase in the need for information, communication tools, and entertainment; Play Store is overwhelmed with workload. Adding to this is the work disruption due to changing business conditions slowing down the app review process, which is now taking seven days or longer.

Google is ensuring the most important updates reach users – for this, it is prioritizing critical apps. Keeping this mind, the authentic apps providing information related to COVID-19 will be first in the queue. For more control on when your app goes live, using the timed publishing tool is a wise idea. After submitting the app for review, once it is approved, the app can be published to the Play Store instantly.

As people are under lockdown there is a surge in overall traffic on apps and consequently, unwanted reviews are increasing. If you’re a publisher experiencing reviews not related to your app’s experience, such reviews can be flagged in the Play Console. Also, businesses that have been most affected by COVID-19 will have the option to defer billing and pause subscriptions to retain users until the pandemic subsides. While developers with free or nominally priced medical, online learning or well-being apps would have access to features like price changes and refunds via Google Play Billing.

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