Starting in the next couple of weeks, Google will implement a mandatory content rating system for all apps in the Android Market. On November 30th, Developers will be required to login to the Android Market Developer Console and assign one of four ratings to their app.
The four levels of content ratings inclue All, Pre-teen, Teen, and Mature. Google has provided details on how apps should be ranked over at the Android Market Help Center.
Developers will be ultimately responsible for rating the content in their apps and if they fail to do so they will receive a Mature rating. In addition, Android users can also notify Google if they believe an app is incorrectly rated.
The timeline of these content ratings also matches Google’s timeline for Gingerbread, which they said was coming in the next few weeks. We don’t know exactly how these content ratings will be used, but it appears that Google is going to implement some kind of parental controls to help parents control the kinds of apps their kids are downloading.
Whatever happens, I’m just excited that we are finally getting an updated Market next month.
Some guidelines of how apps should be rated include:
- Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs: Apps that include references to drugs, alcohol or tobacco products or their use should be rated “Teen” or above. Apps that focus on the consumption or sale of drugs, alcohol or tobacco should be rated “Mature”. Illegal activity or content that is targeted at minors is not allowed in Android Market.
- Gambling: Apps with gambling themes or that include simulated gambling should be rated “Teen” or above. Real gambling is not allowed in Android Market.
- Hate: Hate speech is not allowed in Android Market. If your app includes inflammatory content that may be offensive to many users, please rate it “Teen” or above.
- Location: Applications rated “All” should not ask users for their location at any point. Apps that ask to access course or fine location data should be rated “Pre-Teen” or above. Apps that enable users to publish or share their location with others should be rated “Teen” or above.
- Profanity and Crude Humor: Apps that include profanity or crude humor should be rated “Teen” or above.
- Sexual and Suggestive Content: Apps that include suggestive or sexual references should be rated “Teen” or above. Apps that focus on such content should be rated “Mature”. Pornography is not allowed in Android Market.
- User Generated Content and User to User Communication: Apps rated “All” should not host any user generated content or enable communication between users. Apps that focus on allowing users to find and communicate with each other should be rated “Teen” or above.
- Violence: Apps that include mild cartoon or fantasy violence should be rated “Pre-Teen” or above. Realistic or intense fantasy violence should be rated “Teen” or above. Graphic violence should be rated ‘“Mature”. Gratuitous real violence is not allowed in Android Market.