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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Content ratings coming soon to the Market

Google put up a post on the Android developer blog yesterday which detailed new content rating requirements that will soon be coming to the Android Market. The ratings will be required for all apps, existing and new, will be based on the content of an app, and will come in four levels: all, pre-teen, teen, and mature.

The changes are said to be arriving, "in a few weeks." Any developer that doesn't add a rating to their app risks having their app labeled as mature, which is the strictest rating. Nothing was mentioned about how these ratings will be enforced, or whether users will be able to flag apps that are incorrectly rated.

The post went on to tease that more updates will be coming to the Market soon. These updates will likely coincide with the release of Gingerbread, which is also rumored for an early December launch. Many are hoping that these pending updates include the desktop web interface for instant installs over-the-air that was demonstrated earlier this year.

I'm very curious how these ratings will be implemented. Will users be able to specify that they only want to see apps that are "all" rated, for example? Can parents put a password on that so their kids don't see inappropriate apps? Perhaps it will be based on carriers, much the same way carriers offer parental controls for website visits now. Regardless, it's good to see more details on apps coming ahead of the pending upgrades. If these Market upgrades live up to the hype, they could leapfrog the competition in a huge way.

Yeah, I could care less if the Market has content ratings or not, but I'm sure some people really care, so...that's fine. I don't see any harm in having them, and I'm sure it will help someone sleep better at night.

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