Android Market disaster

Two weeks ago we broke the story about a big milestone for Google: 40,000 applications were now available for the Android operating system, at least according to AndroLib which tracks Android applications across several app markets, including the main Android Market.

Google's Application Approval Policies

However, there has been increasing criticism of Google's poor handling of application publishing due to relaxed restrictions and lenient app approval policies. On the other end of the spectrum, Apple has gotten a plethora of bad press about their own overly harsh and oftentimes subjective process.

I'm not sure where the middle ground is that Android can attempt to move to and it is not in the scope of this article. But what I am sure about is that what you will see below is beyond ridiculous and Google needs to do something about it NOW.

Update 1: Many of you are suggesting that instead of changing its application approval process, Google should revamp their Market UIs and enhance them with more filtering and sorting options, introduce areas for top and featured applications (the little bar at the top of the Market now is pathetic and repetitive), and pretty much rebuild the Market from scratch.

Additionally, users would act as moderators and automatically vote spammers off the market, so rather than let arbitrary individuals at Google decide if a certain app belongs in the market or not, Android, as a community, would do it for them.

I like these ideas - Android is open for a reason, and so far the community could only do as much as giving an application a lower rating.

Google, is it time you do something with our voices? We are offering our help, free of charge.

Update 2: AppBrain.com, a market browsing site a-la AndroLib.com, was the first site that decided to apply all kinds of smarts to listing applications, which allowed it to filter out most of the spam and let its users explore those few genuinely great apps. This is exactly the direction Google should be heading.

The Disaster

A few weeks ago I set up a Yahoo Pipe that takes AndroLib's application feed and pulls out only V1.0 out of it, essentially leaving me with a listing of new apps.

Today, the ridiculousness of this feed topped pretty much everything I'd seen so far. Note that some of these apps are from secondary Markets but the rest are polluting our main Android Market as we speak.

I'll let the following screenshots speak for themselves.

Android Market disaster

Android Market disaster

Android Market disaster

Android Market disaster

And the list goes on and on. Where is the end?

Google, your move.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Charlie Collins

    Yeah, Apple put their foot down on the adult apps and everyone moved over to Android. I just recently got a Sprint HTC Hero after leaving TMO. I used to enjoy scrolling through the market to see what I could find (and I still do) but now it's agonizing to scroll through all the SPAM apps.

  • Tim Collins

    The approval process is not the problem. It's the organization of the market that is the problem. The market app needs to be a little more robust in features to bring out the good apps and let the bad ones fall to the bottom. Filtering, sorting, and searching all need to be done better.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I think both the approval process and the organization could use a lot of work and Google should focus on it next.

      On a much more important note, are you guys brothers?

      • Charlie Collins

        No, but it is odd we both posted at almost the same time and just happen to have the same last name.

  • reddragon72

    I agree, an open market is the best, but we need the ability to block/filter apps and the ability to rate stuff low and it be automatically removed. Say 500 one star ratings gets the app removed, and if the person has 10 or more one star apps then that person is removed with all there apps. A more thorough system will help the community choose cause I certainly do not want Google doing it for me.

    This is why I use the online market sites so I can filter all the crap out.

  • Chris Dehghanpoor

    This is exactly why I use AppBrains listing for browsing the market -- They've developed a way to sort of filter the spam apps, and it seems to help quite a bit.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I was going to mention this in the article, thanks Chris. The url is AppBrain.com

      • reddragon72

        I wasn't sure about mentioning he whole Appbrain thing on your site, but now that you have mentioned it.... Yes I use Appbrain and it works the best for now.

        Also to Google, you let us rate apps, but if we cannot select the star rating that we want to see then what's the point......

        come one Google lets get this right!

  • stevesvagina

    Simple fix, allow us to filter out retarded authors. If some gets enough filters, he should be dropped from the market place or placed in a new category "Crap".

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    I've updated the post with everyone's suggestions. Thanks for chiming in guys, keep 'em coming.

    However, this won't go anywhere if Google doesn't hear our voices, so take that url in your url bar and send it off to your friends and Google contacts if you have them.