Google took down more than 700,000 apps from the Play Store in 2017

Google play
Apple’s App Store has traditionally been known as slightly more secure than the Google Play Store, thanks largely to the amount of control that Apple exerts over the marketplace. Google, however, is seriously stepping up the security of the Google Play Store and just published a blog post highlighting exactly how it did that in 2017.

According to Google, the company took down more than 700,000 apps from Google Play because they violated Google’s policy. That’s a hefty 70 percent more apps than 2016. On top of that, Google was able to identify and remove apps earlier than ever — and Google notes that 99 percent of malicious apps were taken down before anyone installed them.

Google isn’t just targeting malicious apps — it is also targeting the developers behind them. That is especially true of repeat offenders on the Google Play store. Google has been working to create new detection models that can identify repeat offenders, even when those developers create new accounts — 100,000 developers were banned from the Google Play store in 2017.

There are a few common types of apps that pop up that violate Google’s policies, and the company highlighted a few of them in its blog post. For starters, it bans copycat apps — or apps that try to impersonate already popular apps. Popular apps are often searched on the Google Play Store, so apps that impersonate them may get a lot of search traffic — and hence a lot of downloads. That could mean that a lot of people download an app with malicious intentions.

Google also doesn’t allow apps with “inappropriate content.” That could include pornographic content, but it could also mean apps with extreme violence or those that promote hate or illegal activities of any kind. Google is leveraging its machine learning chops to identify these apps.

In general, it seems as though Google is slowly but surely tightening its grip on the Google Play Store but, ultimately, that is a good thing. What it means is that the billions of people who use an Android phone are more protected, and ultimately at a lower risk of having their device compromised, their identity stolen, and so on.

Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.

Google’s Stadia lets you stream big-time games from nearly any device

At GDC 2019, Google unveiled Stadia, a game streaming service that lets you play games on PC, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. Stadia looks to open up gaming to everyone, removing the need to buy additional hardware.

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.

Huawei has a bold Plan B should tensions affect its software relationships

Huawei has its own software for smartphones and computers prepared, should its relationship with Google and Microsoft be adversely affected by ongoing tensions between it and the U.S..

The 2018 iPad is often the best iPad for most people — and now it’s only $250

Apple may have recently taken the wraps off of a new iPad Air and iPad Mini, but it's still the standard iPad that is best for most people. Now, the standard iPad has gotten a pretty significant discount -- it's down from $330 to $250.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini certainly isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here are our impressions of Apple’s new 7.9-inch…

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.

Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks to get started with your new smartwatch

Got your hands on a Fitbit Versa Lite? The smartwatch may be the pared down version of the more expensive Fitbit Versa, but there's still plenty for you to tweak in the settings. Here are our Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks.
Smart Home

Postmates now offers a way to get free delivery on meal orders

Postmates is offering customers the chance to order meals with free delivery. But you'll have to be cool with the idea of waiting a little longer, as the delivery driver will be carrying other meals for different customers.

Browse safely and securely with Opera’s unlimited VPN on Android

Opera has added a new VPN to its Android browser, offering an easy way to keep your privacy and data locked up solid, and with no limits on usage or cost, you can keep it on all the time.

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.

You can now listen to Google Podcasts on your desktop without the app

The Google Podcasts app is no longer entirely necessary to listen to the podcasts it offers. With a simple tweak of the sharing URL, you can listen to a Google Podcasts podcast on your desktop or laptop without the app.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G might be a few short weeks away from launch

Samsung has announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show as it's among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.