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Published content rating introduced to Android Market

by Scott Bicheno on 25 November 2010, 10:10

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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Problem solved?

The Android developers blog has announced the introduction of a published content rating system for the Android Market. "This new capability will provide users with additional information to help them select the best applications for them," said the blog. Yes, but probably not in the way intended.

Most kids are desperate to do things they're deemed too young for and they're usually also intrigued by the cool seediness of vice. By labelling things ‘naughty', the chances are that the main consequence will be to highlight them to precisely the the kind of end-users the system is supposedly trying to protect from the ‘adult' horrors of this world.

Apparently there was already a content rating policy in place for the Android Market, the only change is that these ratings will now be publicly available. What the point is of a content rating that nobody can see is not immediately clear.

From now on developers will be required to include a rating for all submitted applications, and do so retrospectively for existing ones. Any apps that aren't given a rating by their developers after a few weeks will be labelled ‘mature' by default. The other three ratings are ‘all', ‘pre-teen' and ‘teen'. Here are the guidelines:

Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs

Apps that include references to drugs, alcohol or tobacco products or their use should be rated "Teen" or above. Apps that focus on the consumption or sale of drugs, alcohol or tobacco should be rated "Mature". Illegal activity or content that is targeted at minors is not allowed in Android Market.

Gambling

Apps with gambling themes or that include simulated gambling should be rated "Teen" or above. Real gambling is not allowed in Android Market.

Hate

Hate speech is not allowed in Android Market. If your app includes inflammatory content that may be offensive to many users, please rate it "Teen" or above.

Location

Applications rated "All" should not ask users for their location at any point. Apps that ask to access course or fine location data should be rated "Pre-Teen" or above. Apps that enable users to publish or share their location with others should be rated "Teen" or above.

Profanity and Crude Humor

Apps that include profanity or crude humor should be rated "Teen" or above.

Sexual and Suggestive Content

Apps that include suggestive or sexual references should be rated "Teen" or above. Apps that focus on such content should be rated "Mature". Pornography is not allowed in Android Market.

User Generated Content and User to User Communication

Apps rated "All" should not host any user generated content or enable communication between users. Apps that focus on allowing users to find and communicate with each other should be rated "Teen" or above.

Violence

Apps that include mild cartoon or fantasy violence should be rated "Pre-Teen" or above. Realistic or intense fantasy violence should be rated "Teen" or above. Graphic violence should be rated ‘"Mature". Gratuitous real violence is not allowed in Android Market.

What remains unclear is how these ratings will be enforced, both for developers or end-users. There's no mention of sanctions for developers who incorrectly rate their apps, and we can't see how the Android Market would be able to stop minors accessing ‘mature' apps. So it all seems a bit token right now.

 



HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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I'd prefer if they categorised them by Genuine free-ware/open source, shareware, ad-ware, and paid apps.

Tired of ad-ware apps not advertising themselves as such, and so many just bad/dangerous apps on the marketplace.
Hmm, personally I'd preferred to have seen a cinema-style rating system used - heck, even use the MPAA one (G/PG/PG-13/R/NC-17).

jimbouk
I'd prefer if they categorised them by Genuine free-ware/open source, shareware, ad-ware, and paid apps. Tired of ad-ware apps not advertising themselves as such, and so many just bad/dangerous apps on the marketplace.
+1 on that suggestion. And I'd also like to see some way (I'm using 2.1 at the moment) to see some way to sort the search results by star rating, (so the decent stuff doesn't get submerged in a flood of fart apps, sound themes, etc).