Google’s new rules for Android apps: How they will help users

Google has announced new developer policies for Android apps that use generative AI technology. The new rules are aimed at ensuring that AI-generated content is safe and that user feedback is incorporated. Here are some of the key changes and how they will benefit the users.

Reporting offensive AI-generated content

Developers who use generative AI technology to create content in their apps will be required to include a way for users to report or flag offensive AI-generated content within the app. This means that users will not have to exit the app to report any inappropriate or harmful content that is generated by the app’s AI model. Developers will also have to use these reports to inform content filtering and moderation in their apps, similar to the existing policy for user-generated content.

Google’s new rules for Android apps: How they will help users
Google’s new rules for Android apps: How they will help users

This policy will help users to have more control over the quality and safety of the content they consume and interact with in the apps. It will also help developers to improve their AI models and prevent the generation of restricted content, such as content that facilitates the exploitation or abuse of children, and content that enables deceptive behaviour.

Accessing photos and videos

Google has also introduced a new policy to strengthen users’ privacy when it comes to accessing photos and videos on their devices. Apps will only be able to access photos and videos for purposes directly related to app functionality. For example, a photo editing app can access photos for editing, but not for other purposes, such as advertising or analytics.

For apps that have a one-time or infrequent need to access these files, they will be required to use a system picker, such as the Android photo picker. This will allow users to choose which files they want to share with the app, without granting full access to their entire media library.

This policy will help users to protect their personal data and prevent unauthorized access or misuse of their photos and videos by third-party apps.

Limiting full screen intent notifications

Another change that Google has made is to limit the use of full screen intent notifications by apps. These are notifications that take over the entire screen and interrupt the user’s activity. They are usually used for high-priority use cases, such as alarm or receiving phone and video calls.

However, some apps may abuse this feature and use it for low-priority or spammy notifications, such as promotions or reminders. To prevent this, Google has set stricter boundaries around the use of full screen intent notifications. For apps targeting Android 14, these notifications will be limited to high-priority use cases only. For other notifications, apps must ask for user permission before displaying them in full screen mode.

This policy will help users to have a better user experience and avoid unwanted interruptions by intrusive notifications from apps.

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