Google Play – No need to go Nuclear!

One of the apps I maintain recently got this message from Google Play

After review, <your app> has been removed from Google Play due to a policy violation. This app won’t be available to users until you submit a compliant update.

Issue: Violation of Usage of Android Advertising ID policy and section 4.8 of the Developer Distribution Agreement

The app was completely removed from the store.

It’s a fair cop. We use Google’s firebase library, and we hadn’t realised that this library uses the advertising ID.

The fix was simple. We had to update the privacy policy, make sure that the store listing points to the privacy policy, and add a link in the settings of the app which opens the privacy policy. In other words – as far as users are concerned, nothing much changed.

I have no objection to the rule – but removing the app from the store is massive overkill.

Apple deal with this kind of issue with a message to the developer that then need to submit an update within (say) 7 days. Surely Google could adopt a similar approach for minor violations.