Google today is announcing strengthened protections for Android developers publishing apps to its Google Play store. The changes are a part of Google’s broader efforts at keeping low-quality and unsafe apps out of its app store and off consumers’ devices, which also recently included the launch of a new real-time app scanning feature to combat malicious apps. Today, the company says it will now require new Android developers with personal accounts to test their app with a minimum of 20 people for at least 2 weeks prior to publication. It additionally plans to increase its investment in the app review processes, warning of potential slowdowns in approvals for a small number of apps as these changes roll out.
At first glance, this sounds like a good idea – more testing leads to better applications, is the reasoning – but it’s going to be a massive burden for many small indie developers to even find 20 testers. In my experience, it’s usually the small indie teams or individual developers that make the best applications on Android, while the large, well-known brands release steady streams of garbage. In other words, this is going to disproportionately affect the wrong people.