Google Play bans video app for standard “.ass” subtitle support

Enlarge / Google’s app assessment robots cannot be reasoned with, they do not really feel pity…

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Google Play’s loopy automated app assessment course of strikes once more.

This time, the puritan robotic overlords that run the Play Retailer briefly determined that itemizing help for frequent subtitle information is sufficient to get your app banned. The developer for Just (Video) Player posted their story to Hacker News, writing within the app’s bug tracker, “After a tiny unrelated description replace, Simply Participant received suspended from the Google Play Retailer for “Sexual Content material and Profanity coverage“. Google finds points with following: Full description (en_US): “* Subtitles: SRT, SSA, ASS, TTML, VTT.””

Sure, simply itemizing normal video participant options like help for the “ASS” subtitle format was apparently sufficient to briefly earn a suspension. The developer says they “instantly filed an enchantment” and as we speak, the app is again up with the ASS subtitle itemizing nonetheless within the description.

We ended up with a “.ass” filetype due to the anime subtitling neighborhood. Unhappy with bog-standard SRT information, the neighborhood got here up with the “Sub Station Alpha” subtitle editor and two file sorts. The primary three variations all used a namesake “.ssa” filetype, after which model 4 and above created “Superior Sub Station Alpha” information, or “.ass.” Whereas the editor is abandonware, the .ass filetype lives on, and in comparison with SRT, you get superior options like subtitle styling, exact subtitle placement, and karaoke-style graphics. ASS information are supported by most good video gamers, together with VLC and Google’s personal Android video participant library, Exoplayer.

It is good that Google reinstated the app, however it’s loopy {that a} suspension occurred within the first place, and that is simply one other story within the unstable relationship builders have with Google’s automated app assessment course of.

The robotic overlords of the Google Play Retailer

Google will get numerous criticism from builders for the shortage of human involvement in its app assessment course of, with the Play Retailer as a substitute choosing automated scanning of apps for viruses, coverage violations, and different bannable offenses. Saying Google’s app assessment bots “ban first and ask questions later” would truly be an enchancment over the present state of affairs, for the reason that bots cannot ask questions. The bots ban, ship an automatic e-mail, and it is as much as the builders to determine why they have been banned and bounce by hoops to make the bots blissful, usually with out having the ability to communicate to a human.

Google and Apple each acquire a proportion of app gross sales, which the businesses categorize as a obligatory tax that pays for the infrastructure of the shop ecosystem. Apple makes use of this cash partly to rent a military of human app reviewers, a system that Google Play builders usually maintain up for instance that Google ought to observe. As a substitute, Google solely has this bot system—or at greatest, it has an especially small staff of guide reviewers—and builders ceaselessly complain that they’re on the mercy of an illogical bot, with no human to talk to even throughout an appeals course of.

Google's email banning Just Player.

Google’s e-mail banning Simply Participant.

moneytoo / Github

Google Play app developer Magic Frame Studios echos most of the frequent complaints in a weblog submit, saying, “We work to develop purposes for an unfair system ruled by Bots that merely deal with us like rubbish. We struggle in opposition to unfair bans, unfairly closed accounts and you may by no means ever be taught out of your mistake to have a greater utility.” The developer says that in case your app will get banned, “no one clearly tells you why your app has been banned, and if no one clearly tells you what the issue is along with your app, how are you going to remedy it? You simply can’t.”

Google’s bots have had a specific downside with apps that present Internet content material, often banning browsers, Reddit apps, or discussion board apps for issues like nudity or hate speech as a result of these are each issues that exist on the Web.

Google’s apps are all immune from these illogical bans, and greater corporations like Fb little doubt have entry to raised help than your common developer would get. The folks most affected by Google’s app enforcement bots are small indie builders, which might have their whole incomes stripped away due to a bot mistake. Google desires builders to construct a enterprise and a livelihood on Google Play, however when it is such an unstable, illogical platform, that is a tricky method to run a enterprise.

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