This story was originally published and last updated .
Another month, another wrongful removal from the Play Store. Google booted Podcast Addict off the Play Store because it references the novel coronavirus outbreak — or rather, it offers you to listen to podcasts that do, just like any other podcast player out there. For some reason, Podcast Addict has been singled out by Google, with the company asking the developer to prove that his product is endorsed by some government, or remove any references to COVID-19.
This involved a rather convoluted interpretation of a vague policy forbidding apps from interfering with third-party apps or services, but it's the official justification Google has used to date. Now, a new update to the Play Store Developer Policy Center (formerly Google Play Developer Program Policies) makes it clear via an example interpretation of said policy: no ad blockers.
Google will update developer distribution agreement for the Play Store today, and two significant changes are in store. First, developers of paid apps will now be required to respond to users contacting them within 3 days of receipt of the email. How strictly Google plans on enforcing this is unclear, but it's likely the ominous Google Play ban-hammer will be a motivating (read: intimidating) factor for developers here.
For paid Products or in-app transactions, you must respond to customer support inquiries within three (3) business days, and within 24 hours to any support or Product concerns stated to be urgent by Google.