Ad blockers aren’t anything new, in fact there are a lot of them around for pretty much any hardware capable of connecting to the internet. Android is one such platform that has options such as the stand alone adblocking browser Adblock Plus which has clocked over 1,000,000 installs.
Interestingly though, a stand alone adblocking app called Adblock Fast has been removed from the Play Store. The app, designed to take advantage of the Samsung’s Browser API, allows users to block ads in Samsung’s default web browser. In a report from Venture Beat, the app was removed for violation of section 4.4 of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement which states:
Prohibited Actions. You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Store, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages or accesses in an unauthorised manner the devices, servers, networks or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Store to sell or distribute Products outside of the Store.
There are multiple ways that the agreement could be interpreted to result in this decision with avenue for appeal open to Rocketship Apps. The decision is likely to be upheld but there is still clearly the opportunity for the developers to release the app in Samsung’s App Store or directly through their own site (which would require users to override Android security settings).
While there is some sympathy for the developers in their situation, its a great sign to know that Google are pro-actively reviewing new apps and upholding the spirit of the developer agreement. It’s also a blessing of sorts for publishers — like Ausdroid — which rely on advertising revenue to allow them to offer free content to the general public.
Have you seen any apps that you thought should have been removed from the Play Store?