If you’ve been holding off downloading Hot Buns for Beginners* from the Android Market, for fear that it may not be about baking, then Google have some great news for you: the Android Market will soon include a content rating system.
In an email sent out to developers today, Google outlined the new policy (you can find it here), which involves a self-rating system where the developer places their app into any of four categories, specifically: “All”, “Pre-teen”, “Teen”, and “Mature”.
Google have provided the following guidelines to help developers rate their apps:
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.
Apps with gambling themes or that include simulated gambling should be rated “Teen” or above. Real gambling is not allowed in Android Market.
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.
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 Humour
Apps that include profanity or crude humour 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.
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.
What do you think of this? A much needed safety measure? Or a farcical dance in place just to keep the powers-that-be happy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
*not a real app… at least I hope.