Even though Android is wide open to any installation file found on the web, an overwhelming majority of users trust the Google Play Store to discover, download, and update their library of apps and games. It's not perfect, of course. Developers can fall victim to all sorts of pitfalls on the store, including a few introduced by Google itself.
This week, we learned that "sugar daddy" apps are facing upcoming bans on the Play Store due to a pre-existing rule regarding sexual content. It's not the first time Google removed a whole "genre" of service. In 2019, for example, marijuana delivery apps were either kicked off of Android or were forced to separate their shopping cart to stay active and online. No matter how niche, it can be frustrating to learn an entire subset of apps is no longer available, leaving all users without alternative options.
Of course, not all takedowns are within reason. Plenty of applications have been wrongfully removed over the last few years, resulting in developers scrambling to find a solution. Chat client Element was suspended earlier this year for abusive content, though Google eventually admitted this was a mistake. Slide, a popular third-party Reddit browser, was removed for "impersonation" in 2020, and although Google later reinstated the app, it never offered an explanation for the error. And we can't forget one of the silliest actions of them all: when the Play Store delisted a video player for supporting ".ass" files, a standard subtitle format.
The truth is, there's no shortage of these stories, from high-profile lawsuits to banned apps you'll never hear from again. These events have even pushed Google to pilot test a developer helpline in India a couple of months ago.
While the Play Store team is doing its best to strike a balance between security, curation, and as wide a range of software as possible, these takedowns have likely affected many of us at least once. So, has an app you cared about ever been banned from the Play Store? And if so, what was your response? Did you find a way to continue using it, or were you simply out of luck?