In a move that shouldn't surprise anyone but will almost certainly add more malware to unsuspecting users' smartphones Google is launching a new advertising platform for its Google Play Store. Be ready to call your parents and those you know who aren't so tech savvy to be careful what they start tapping on.
Rolling out to a small set of developers in the next few weeks, companies will be able to, much like the sponsored results on Google's searches, to pay for the top spot in the Google Play Store. The only notification will be a small orange square that says "Ad" which will be placed next to the developer's name. Currently, you can already advertise your app on a Google search, but now this places those apps into the prime position on the Play Store's homepage or search results.
This new programs comes with the good and the bad, as you would expect. The good is that independent and startup developers with some capital can advertise their app so it doesn't go unseen. This could give some great exposure to a talented team and reward them for their efforts. Google shelled out over $7 billion to developers last year, so why not reap the benefit of more downloads?
However, the big red flag staring me in the face is the amount of malicious and fake ads that will be advertised because of this. Google doesn't prevent these companies from hijacking top and common search queries on Google results, so what would make them put the clamp down on that fake Skype app on the Play Store? I can see more devices being infected with malware in the near future, as shady apps start being promoted on these search results.
The program is currently in a test phase, with only a certain number of users seeing a pilot group of advertisers who have chosen to advertise their app. Google will look to expand this to full-scale in the coming months.