Google Play Store: If you’re annoyed by ads on your Android smartphone, you’ll appreciate a change that Google made to its app store this week. Google Play now identifies apps that display ads while you’re using them.In the Google Play app on Android phones and tablets, a line of text will read “Contains ads” just beneath an ad-supported app’s green install button.
This is the same spot where Google has long pointed out apps that have in-app purchases.“The goal is to provide more transparency and help users make more informed decisions,” a Google spokesman said, explaining why the company made the change. The change was first spotted in a forum of Android users on Reddit.
Which Android Apps Have Ads? Google Play Store Now Tells You – Google Play is now labeling which apps contain ads
Advertising is everywhere these days: apps, websites, TV shows, magazines, bus stops and billboards—and of course all over The Wall Street Journal. The National Basketball Association will be placing ads on jerseys next season. Advertising is also the core business for most of the tech companies we use on a daily basis— Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Google itself, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.For Android apps, which bring in less money than Apple Inc.’s iOS apps do, ads have been developers’ bread and butter from the start. For years, apps that cost money but were ad-free on iPhones were, on Android, loaded with ads and given away for nothing.
Besides an annoyance, some may not want ads because they can add an additional layer of tracking to an app. A recent peer-reviewed study from Carnegie Mellon University found that many popular Android apps collected a user’s location as often as every three minutes and that 73% of the time, that location data is shared with an advertising network.
The Play store change doesn’t, of course, mean you’ll be able to avoid ads if those ads are in apps you want. Avoiding apps with ads won’t rule out tracking, either. There are many ways app developers track users, so pay attention to all of the permissions you grant your apps—a list that is also provided in Google Play’s app listings.