So done with the Play Store!

Google needs to fix the Play Store for independent developers.


1. Recently, I got an email about IP Cam Viewer Basic being removed because it used SMS / Call Log permissions which is being limited now. Only problem is my app has NEVER asked for those permissions and it still does not!

Check out the list:
android.permission.RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED
android.permission.INTERNET
android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE
android.permission.WAKE_LOCK
android.permission.READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO
com.android.launcher.permission.INSTALL_SHORTCUT
android.permission.SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW
android.permission.FOREGROUND_SERVICE
com.android.vending.BILLING

A possible cause of a false positive by google bots maybe a bug in their code which assumes minimum sdk level 15 and below automatically grants READ_CONTACTS. However, my app’s target sdk is 26 so this is NOT the case (and permission tools verify it):

From Google documentation:
Note: If your app uses the READ_CONTACTS permission and both your minSdkVersion and targetSdkVersion values are set to 15 or lower, the system implicitly grants your app this permission. If you don’t need this permission, be sure your targetSdkVersion is 16 or higher.

Furthermore, I don’t even read contacts and READ_CONTACTS is not listed as one of the SMS / Call log permissions being limited. Still don’t what why I got this removal so I bumped minimum sdk level support to 16 dropping support for older devices to just avoid this potential Google bot bug.


2. Now today, I got an email from a user that IP Cam Viewer Pro was not in the Play Store anymore. Logging on, indeed it’s now removed except I never even got an email from Google on why! Yes, I checked spam folder.

Console says to read email on reason, yah, no email!!! Reached out to any contacts I have for an answer on why but this is ridiculous. The app has been in the Play Store since it launched back in 2009/2010.


3. The situation is better than pre-2016 when they would just suspend your app without any real way to address issue. Now, they mostly remove your app and you can re-submit but what *is the problem* so to avoid uploading triggering further consequences.

It seems their recent burst of activity to remove apps have bugs/problems that catch innocent small independent developers in a black hole. It’s a dystopian future run by bots (borg) and I’m paranoid of random vague removals (and even no reason in this recent case).

My final solution? I’m considering not updating the Play Store anymore and just submit updates to Amazon App Store and downloads from my old website.

So done with the Pray Store!

3/9/2019 update: Still not sure what caused #1 but #2 turned out to be a Patreon link in the Help screen. Ugh. Please download app directly from my website and bypass the Borg empire.

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