13
May
mizuu_logo

You can probably figure out almost all the salient details of this story without reading it – we've seen almost the exact same thing happen to other developers. I'll just give you a moment to outline the situation in your head, then we'll see how close you got. Ready? Okay. The developer of the super-neat video indexing app Mizuu was notified earlier today that Google has pulled the app for violating Google's policy on sexually explicit material.

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Mizuu plugs into themoviedb.org to analyze and ID your video files. It then attaches cover images, descriptions, and other data. Some of the content in the database is of a more risqué variety, but the app has that stuff disabled by default. The issue, according to the developer, is likely that some titles in themoviedb are not categorized properly as adult material and might appear in the app with default settings. The dev points out this is no different than a browser app that can navigate to themoviedb, but that's not a distinction made in Google's Play Store agreement. [How are you doing so far? Close?]

Google tends not to be very communicative in these situations, but the dev has reached out anyway. The current plan is to re-upload Mizuu as a new package soon, but that means users will have to buy it again. It isn't made clear in the Google+ post whether or not some changes will be made in an attempt to prevent a recurrence of this problem. If it's the same app just as a different package name, Google might end up taking more extreme steps. [Were you right?]

[+Mizuu]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Booker Dewitt

    sexy sexy time apps? lol

  • primalxconvoy

    And yet, there are still numerous "sexy puzzle" apps infesting Google Play...

    • ozone89

      this.

  • techlte

    Google needs to fix this system already, this lack of human interaction is appalling. Such a major disruption triggered by a phrase? If not a phrase then when should we expect the official Reddit or Imgur apps to come down? Get you stuff together Google, this is a joke, and you should be embarrassed.

    Also, stop trying to filter adult content, you're not the internet police.

    • miri

      But they are the Play Store police.

    • Emma Nicholson

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    • Kylecore

      I can almost guarantee you some extremist mother filed a complaint against the app because she went on her sons tablet to look for something and discovered her teenage son downloaded his spankbank to his tablet and used this app to categorize it for a more streamlined fap experience.

      • Snarky

        Relevant.

    • IP

      you actually make me type http://www.internetpolice.com

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      Or even more accurately I want to see gmail gone... if I get a sexually explicit email.
      Or google chrome, if I decide to watch some porn.
      Or even better, google search/now, what if amazon's delivering me some adult pleasure stuff???.

      Come on google -.-

    • Mkvarner

      Don't forget about Google+, Chrome and much more. It all needs to be taken down due to that you can find sexually explicit material there.

  • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

    Considering the stuff I can get to using one of the many web browser apps...

  • Jake

    Well, I guess Plex should get pulled, too, because I have seen it pull cover art and descriptions for porn movies when the video was actually innocent.

    • sssgadget

      Very true. Plex did pull p0rn cover art for couple of movies based on uploader text in the filename.

    • MyLeftNut

      They know they can't pull Plex without giving a very clear reason of it's supposed violations. Which means if the reasoning is ambiguous and Plex calls B.S. and there's enough of a shit storm Google will relent and allow Plex back in the store. This will set a precedent for other apps pulled under the same B.S. clause, assuming the devs have the clout to get blogs to cover the story (since, let's face it, a lot of times Google can be absolutely pig-headed or just plain draconian with how it handles customer relations, at least until they start to receive negative PR).

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Google's "you get a ban", "you get a ban" and "you get a ban" without much explanation has always been crazy. I had written a detailed article on how this works and what needs to be fixed. Read it here if you are interested -

    http://iwiz-vicky.blogspot.com/2014/04/play-store-developer-issues-and-how-to.html

  • ignitionnight

    At what point should developers who have been unfairly banned without any notice or explanation put together a lawsuit over this. Its just flat out unacceptable that apps can be removed without a fair and clear appeal process.

    • Mike Reid

      lol, all developers must agree to Google's terms, which basically allow Google to do whatever they want.

      No different than Apple, MS, Blackberry, etc. None of them want parents to forbid Play store access, nor politicians to get involved.

      Just the way the game works...

      • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

        I don't know about 'murica but here, at my country, it doesn't matter if you sold your soul in a contract, if it is against law, then it has no power.
        I think Google is not able to bypass the law.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    I do find it pretty idiotic that they (Google) claim to be developer friendly, (almost) bend over backwards to get developers on-board and provide them with personal advice and help (not necessarily in person, but personal nonetheless) and yet - have this insane policy that they refuse to discuss because "it might give people ideas of how to get around the policies"

  • MartyMBreckenridge

    Google needs to fix this system already, this lack of human interaction is appalling. Such a major disruption triggered by a phrase? http://goo.gl/ZK1QFx

  • tsukogi

    google will need to hire LOT of people if human communication/interaction is required on play store ban

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      Considering that they get money from the apps they should provide an adequate support system...

  • Hrishikesh Bisen

    Firstly remove c-launcher and mobogenie market😠😠

  • Zimmerman

    I really can't understand why customer service is no longer the standard. How and when did we accept such obsolescence?

    • Mike Reid

      When we welcomed "free" services, like email, search engine, maps,...

      • Zimmerman

        But none of these services are free. We exchange our personal information for use, and our personal information is financially lucrative to these online companies. Some may even argue more lucrative than other consumer sectors, so why not provide a live customer service rep to speak with if our personal information is making your company ridiculously rich?

    • firesoul453

      Google has good customer service but only for the customers not developers unfortunately.

      • Zimmerman

        How does one reach their customer service center?

        • firesoul453

          I don't remember but I think I found en email or online form or something.

          They refunded an app for me like a month after I bought it since it was broken and the developer wouldn't answer their emails.

          • Zimmerman

            So one must first purchase an app then have an issue with such app before one is able to reach customer service in the form of an email? Is that right?

          • firesoul453

            I don't think so. My issue just involved a paid app.

          • Zimmerman

            So if I pay for an app, then complain about that app (wait how do you complain about an app to Google?), then Google sends me a email saying hello there good fellow?

  • Neuxs One-N-Done

    Lol, sure they can remove a legit app for stupid reasons, but they can't seem to pull down this lame Fruit Ninja clone that they have been advertising to me for weeks. If it's calling itself Fruit Ninja it better be from Halfbrick. This reflects very poorly on the app store.

    Feel free to flag this app, I've been doing so for weeks now.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.EppyEpp.Frutzs3D

  • 55

    URGENT UPDATE!!! Developer Michelle Bak announces that his app Mizuu is now open-source for non-paying users but he is currently working on an altered paid version for release in the Play Store - http://mizuu.tv/mizuu-is-now-open-source-and-free-for-those-who-dont-want-to-pay/

  • Gunther

    Should this be the, wait for it, wait for it, Android Police's job?