Okay, google! Are you good or evil?

    So it happened that the company of good, which I loved and admired, caused me so much evil. But first things first.

    In 2015, we launched the application “My Family”, which rapidly gained popularity and in the fall of 2018 it had more than two million installations and 250 thousand active users. The application tracked the location of loved ones on the map. The meaning is simple, unite in circles on special invitations and look at the whereabouts of loved ones. The company earned, there was an active growth and here ... without explanation, without notifications or warnings, we found that the application is not in the TOP. Well, it happens, we thought, and we looked for the application below and below in the lists, but we did not find it. There was no application anywhere! Going into the developer console, we saw the terrible inscription "blocked." And the notification fell on the mail that we are breaking the rules, that we have some kind of malicious behavior, that we are spyware.

    I remember how we read these rules again and again, and then more and more. And with each new reading, making sure that we do not break anything.

    For a moment we breathed a sigh of relief and thought that this was a mistake and would unblock us. After all, according to the rules of the application falls under the family and parental control. Here is a complete list of rules: https://play.google.com/about/privacy-security-deception/malicious-behavior/
    Sending the appeal, waited for a response for 72 hours. This is the longest 72 hours of my life.
    The answer shocked us. We once again copied the rules section with a small postscript:
    For example, your app currently contains features that track users locations.

    Google full answer
    Hi Develoer,

    Thanks for contacting Google Play team.

    Status of app: Suspended from Google Play due to policy violation.

    I’ve reviewed your appeal request and found that your app violates the Malicious Behavior policy. We don’t allow apps that steal data, secretly monitor or harm users, or are otherwise malicious. We have determined that your app is being promoted as a means of carrying out spying or secret surveillance of others.

    Surveillance and «Commercial Spyware» are explicitly prohibited on Google Play. Only policy compliant apps exclusively designed and marketed for parental (including family) monitoring or enterprise management may distribute on the Store with tracking and reporting features, provided they fully comply with the requirements described below:

    Qualified apps that monitor or track a user’s behavior on a device must comply with these requirements:

    • Apps must not present themselves as a spying or secret surveillance solution.
    • Apps must not hide or cloak tracking behavior or attempt to mislead users about such functionality.
    • Present users with a persistent notification and unique icon that clearly identifies the app.
    • Apps and app listings on Google Play must not provide any means to activate or access functionality that violate these terms, such as linking to a non-compliant APK hosted outside Google Play.
    • You are solely responsible for determining the legality of your app in its targeted locale. Apps determined to be unlawful in locations where they are published will be removed.
    You can read through the Malicious Behavior policy page for more details.
    For example, your app currently contains features that track users locations
    Please note that suspensions count as strikes against the good standing of your Google Play Developer account. Egregious or multiple policy violations can result in suspension, as can repeated app rejections or removals.

    If your developer credentials are still in good standing with Google Play and if your app allows for it, you can publish a new compliant version of the app by following these steps:

    1. Make the necessary changes to your app to address the issue described above, if possible.
    2. Double check that your app complies with all other Developer Program Policies. Additional enforcement could occur if there are further policy violations.
    3. Sign in to your Play Console and upload a new app using a new package name and a new app name.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your continued support of Google Play.

    The Google Play Team

    And recommended to place the application again.

    Just imagine, you placed the application and started the promotion, including you are promoting the application store itself. Spend a lot of money on advertising, distribution of links, and links to the application get into the media, bloggers write about them and in one day it turns into nothing. For Google, this is of no value. With difficulty digesting this, we posted a new application. Lock again! Again the correspondence to nowhere and the same answer. After the fourth placement we were completely blocked account! After 3 months, the company went bankrupt. We have a small company, but for you to understand, we have the founders of the IIDF and at that time 7 employees. Employees had to be fired, including me.

    I generated ideas in the company, and since I have a lot of unrealized ideas in the framework of security, I started to implement. I have accumulated some money, and I created an application similar to My family, but with unrealized functionality. Since I did not have access to the code, I wrote again using Google products (Firebase and Cloud Engine). I trusted Google at that time. And he suspected that it was my managers who had problems with them. Maybe due to the fact that a large state fund in the founders? I believed that this would not happen to me ...

    Just a couple of days ago, I placed a closed ALFO. Closed, to test your "brilliant product" !!! And then, so you think? Lock! And exactly the same answer. Since I now have access to the database, I looked that the application did not even open.
    Why do you think, why am I crying here? This does not concern you, this will not happen to you. And I thought so. You think that this is their shop, and they do what they want, throw away someone they see fit. And I agree with you. But now imagine that you are not allowed in a cafe, this is normal, but if there is only ONE cafe in your city! Already not so fun?

    Google is more than a company, it’s your state. Like any state, it has its own laws. But the laws should be properly spelled out, which can be observed, and not walk in a minefield and worry that they have broken today. I have nothing to lose, I will fight for the truth to the end. I ask those who are faced with such an injustice to write me in a personal or mail niceonecircle@gmail.com.

    I contacted a lawyer, and he prepares documentation for the court and the antimonopoly service. In his opinion, at least two articles are not respected: the law on the protection of competition (American counterparts do not block, for example, life360) and the law on dominant market position.

    Once again, the goal is not to bend Google, because Google is more likely to bend me, because while I’m alone I’m a flea for them. My goal is to achieve the truth, and if Google leaders see this, who created the good company, they will correct the course. After all, we are developers, creating new applications, we are trying for Google.

    Also popular now: