Google Begins Pulling Android Ad Blockers From Google Play


Google is famous for its “open” approach to Android apps and its willingness to allow almost anything to be sold through Google Play. But the company has begun taking a stance against a certain kind of app. Don’t worry, it’s not pulling your favorite porn apps — instead it is ad blockers that Google has decided it doesn’t like.

A number of popular Android ad blockers — including AdAway, Adfree, and AdBlock Plus — have all been removed from Google Play this week. According to one developer, the company has said that these apps all breach section 4.4 of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, which reads:

4.4 Prohibited Actions. You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, 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 Market to sell or distribute products outside of the Market.

There’s no doubt that ad blockers fall into that description of prohibited apps, as they do interfere with the properties and services of third parties in an “unauthorized manner.” But don’t feel too disappointed if you’re favorite ad blocker has been pulled.

Thanks to Google’s open approach, which allows apps to be installed from almost anywhere, there’s a good chance these ad blockers will soon be made available via the Web, allowing you to download and install them manually.

We will say, however, that you should always be careful about installing apps this way. Only download software from trusted sources to ensure you’re not hit by one of the many malicious apps out there designed to target Android devices.