Google updated the Play Store developer policies a week ago, and today I saw the first app that I personally use that has been affected by the changes. ChromeMarks has had to change its name to CMarks, as well as change the icon/logo from its existing star-shaped Chrome logo to something less Chrome-like.
What’s interesting here is that I wouldn’t have thought of ChromeMarks as an app that would violate the new policies. Neither the logo nor the name is easy to confuse with the actual Chrome app, at least not to most people. Chrome isn’t a system app, even if it is a Google app, so if this is something forced on ChromeMarks by Google it has to be under the “existing products” part of the policy rather than the “apps supplied with the device” part. Considering the similarities in names and icons for apps of a certain type – Twitter apps, note apps, todo apps, calculator apps, calendar apps and so on – I have to wonder what the Play Store is going to look like in a couple of weeks if this type of change is what we’ll see.
Not even Apple’s App Store policies do anything about apps that have similar names and logos in this fashion (where it’s not a deliberate attempt to deceive anyone), and I have to say that of all the issues to fix with the Play Store, this policy seems like repainting a scratch on Titanic as it was sinking. The Play Store’s compatibility checker is one example, being notorious for labeling working apps as incompatible and non-working apps as compatible. Whether or not you blame the actual system for that issue or developers for not being able to use it, I would have thought that would have been a higher priority to get fixed through a policy change than whether or not an app that is an accessory to Chrome has “Chrome” in its name. To me, that makes about as much sense as denying a case manufacturer to use the device name in the name of the case.
At the end of the day, I have a feeling this was more about the app using Google’s own name and partial logo than anything else. Too bad the company doesn’t have the same moral compass when it comes to copying logos for its own use.