Google Removes Apps Showing Distracting Ads from Play Store

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. forbid / fərˈbɪd / (v) – to not allow someone to do something

    The computer teacher forbids students from accessing inappropriate websites.

  2. troublesome / ˈtrʌb əl səm / (adj) – causing problems or difficulties

    Getting sick on a busy workweek is troublesome.

  3. dismiss / dɪsˈmɪs / (v) – to close, remove, or send away

    I dismissed the pop-up ad because I wasn’t interested in it.

  4. trace / treɪs / (v) – to find or discover something through investigation

    The engineers are trying to trace the cause of the engine problems.

  5. bypass / ˈbaɪˌpæs / (v) – to avoid someone or something

    It is difficult to bypass the strict security inspection at the airport.


Read the text below.

Tech giant Google recently removed around 600 apps from the Play Store due to disruptive ads.

According to Google, these apps violated the company’s ads policy, which forbids developers from displaying ads when their app is not in use. Google explained that an ad is disruptive if it interferes with the functionality and usability of a phone, like a full-screen ad that pops up when making a phone call or when navigating other apps. These troublesome ads are often difficult to dismiss, resulting in poor user experience and unintentional ad clicks that cause wasted money for advertisers.

Last year, Google developed new technology to help trace the apps that host disruptive ads. After doing so, the company issued a warning to the app developers and gave them time to fix their apps. Developers who refused to fix their apps were dealt with using drastic measures. One particular developer got more than 40 of its apps removed from the Play Store.

Google found that most of the removed apps targeted English-speaking users and that many of them were games and utility apps.

In a statement, Google admitted that app developers have become more proficient in evading detection. The company added that the offenders had all used similar techniques to bypass discovery, but it was unclear if their strategies were coordinated.

For its next actions, Google assured users that it will continue to invest in tools to detect and ban more apps that show disruptive ads. Google is also set to refund brands whose ads were shown in disruptive ways.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• How do you feel about Google’s effort to remove apps with disruptive ads from the Play Store? Explain.
• Aside from removing apps, what are other ways to discourage developers from creating apps with disruptive ads? Discuss.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, what factors contribute to poor user experience in apps (e.g. design, number of buttons)? Discuss.
• Is it the users’ responsibility to report poor user experience? Why or why not?