Google Patents Way to Track Down Cloned and Pirated Apps in the Play Store

Google wants to fend off the copy cats and pirates from taking advantage of popular apps

By on April 5th, 2014 17:07 GMT

Google is always trying to be a step ahead of everyone else. This time, the company has managed to obtain a patent that will help the company keep pirated apps out of the Google Play store.

It’s not exactly uncommon to discover apps that are extremely similar to already established ones. You don’t have to think further back than a few months ago, when Flappy Bird was being played by everyone. As soon as the app became famous, knock-offs started making their way online, much to the despair of everyone trying to get their hands on the actual app.

These are basically clone apps that are designed to take advantage of the popularity of the app they are ripping off in order to generate advertising money.

Google has been thinking of ways to kill off this trend that’s been plaguing the Google Play store for years. This is easier said than done, but Google seems to have come up with a plan that should work.

Back in July, the company applied for a patent that has only just been approved, which should be of help in keeping pirated and cloned apps away from the Play Store and the mobile devices of Android users.

The patent mentions a database of the authorized apps that have already been uploaded to Google Play by legitimate developers. Any apps uploaded after this are compared with the contents of the database in order to discover similarities.

The company won’t actually compare the entire apps to one another, but will look for code, data files, audio files and images. A special algorithm will provide a “similarity rating” that will tell the company whether the app is a knock-off or not.

Blanket scanning of apps, just like for any other area, would have caused a lot of issues for Google, so the company has implemented a filtering system.

“In order to prevent false positive results, the systems and methods herein filter these types of assets from the comparison. The determination as to which assets are considered to be trusted assets can be made based on data associated with the known software applications,” reads the patent Google received recently.

The reporting system is still available for developers to use in case they believe someone else is copying their aps.

All in all, Google’s idea is a great one and it could weed out quite a few apps already and certainly more that are to come from here on out.

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