Google Play, Google’s marketplace for Android applications which now reaches a billion people in over 190 countries, has historically differentiated itself from rival Apple by allowing developers to immediately publish their mobile applications without a lengthy review process. However, Google has today disclosed that, beginning a couple of months ago, it began having an internal team of reviewers analyze apps for policy violations prior to publication. And going forward, human reviewers will continue to go hands-on with apps before they go live on Google Play.

Additionally, Google announced the rollout of a new age-based ratings system for games and apps on Google Play, which will utilize the scales provided by a given region’s official ratings authority, like the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) here in the U.S.

According to Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development for Google Play, Google has been working to implement the new app review system for over half a year. The idea, she says, was to figure out a way to catch policy offenders earlier in the process, without adding friction and delays to the app publishing process. To that end, Google has been successful, it seems – the new system actually went live a couple of months ago, and there have been no complaints. Today, Android apps are approved in hours, not days, despite the addition of human reviewers.

“We started reviewing all apps and games before they’re published – it’s rolled out 100%,” says Kochikcar. “And developers haven’t noticed the change.”
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We haven't submitted an app update in the last month, but if we notice any difference we'll report back in this thread.

--jeremy