It has been two days since Samsung announced a new set of APIs within its stock web browser that would allow for content and ad blocking. The first app to get attention from that announcement was Adblock Fast, the official launch partner of the new feature in Samsung’s stock app.
That didn’t last long, though. According to The Next Web, Google has already pulled Adblock Fast from the Play Store. The app managed to garner plenty of downloads and shoot up the charts after its unveiling and Samsung’s announcement, so its removal was sudden and unexpected. According to the report, Adblock Fast’s developers were sent an email from Google that stated they had violated Section 4.4 within the Developer Distribution Agreement, and told them it’s a “policy strike” that saw the apps removal from the digital storefront.
Section 4.4 basically reads that developers cannot build apps that interfere with other installed apps on an owner’s device:
“4.4 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 unauthorized 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.”
The fact that Adblock Fast was using an official API from Samsung within that company’s own app, sanctioned by Samsung’s own teams, suggests that the app wasn’t doing all of these things. However, it was at least disrupting web pages, as it removed ads and some content, so this is the area that Google could have taken exception with.
However, it should be noted that other apps of this ilk — including Adblock Plus, which even uses Samsung’s API as well — are still available in the Play Store.