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Google took down 700,000 bad Android apps in 2017

Google Play ProtectGoogle wants to pat itself on the back by announcing that it removed over 700,000 malicious apps from Google Play in 2017. Even though this sounds like a great achievement, the bad apps and developers continue to fall through the cracks and are only removed when a third-party security firm identifies them and lets Google know.

Google Play Protect maybe functional, but it is clearly not doing a great job and rather than trying to claim that how successful they are, Google should be busy plugging the loopholes and fixing detection systems that sometimes fail the most vulnerable of us. Just over a fortnight ago, the search giant had to remove over 60 games from the Google Play Store after they were found showing inappropriate and pornographic ads, tricking users into installing fake security apps and doing other shady stuff. Many of these games were targeted to children and had already garnered over 1 million installs before they were removed. This is clearly not an example of a system that Google is boasting to have “halved the probability of a user installing a bad app, protecting people and their devices from harm’s way.” The original probability must have been huge because even after Google’s claims to reduce it to half, over a million consumers installed bad games.

Google claims that 99% of apps with abusive contents were identified and rejected before anyone could install them. For an app store that houses over 3.5 millions apps, that remaining 1% is also a big number.

Here are some highlights from Google’s blog post about how they fought bad apps and malicious developers in 2017

  • 70% more bad apps were taken down in 2017 than 2016.
  • 100,000 bad developer accounts removed in 2017.
  • Of the 700,000 bad apps removed last year, quarter of a million were impersonating apps aka copycats.
  • Annual potential harmful app installs rates was reduced by 50 percent year over year.
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