Last week Google gutted around 46 apps that were pushed from a single Chinese developer. The developer goes by the name of iHandy, and when Google axed the apps, it didn't say why it removed them. A new report is now indicating that the reason why Google removed the apps was due to "deceptive or disruptive ads."
A Google spokesperson told BuzzFeed that Google Play developer policies explicitly prohibit these types of ads. Google notes that the policies are in place to create the best experience for users and notes that when violations of its policies are found, "we take action." The apps are another example of adware and malware on the Google Play store that isn't being discovered until millions have already downloaded the apps.
iHandy is a developer based in Beijing and claims that it is "one of the world's largest mobile application developers." It also claims that it has 180 million monthly active users in over 200 countries. Among the iHandy apps that have been removed are apps for selfies, security and antivirus utilities, keyboards, horoscopes, emoji, and health apps. The aggregate downloads that the apps had combined is in the tens of millions.
The iHandy Sweet Camera app alone had more than 50 million downloads. Google initially removed around 46 iHandy apps and came back and removed three more leaving just five iHandy apps on the store. Google says that its investigation is ongoing. iHandy is a public company and listed Google as its largest source of revenue in its filings to go public. iHandy maintains that Google's action was a surprise and that it is working to get the apps reinstated. Google removed malware laden apps last week that had been downloaded 1.5 million times.