Google suspends a video app from its store for mentioning 'ASS', a subtitle format, in its description

'Ass' in English can mean many things: ass, ass, donkey, fool or Advanced SubStation Alpha, a subtitle format such as SRT, SSA, or SBV. The developers of a modest video player with just a thousand downloads on Google Play were in for a surprise: Google temporarily suspended them for mentioning support for 'ASS' (the subtitle format) in the description on Google Play.

The developer shared his story on Github, after the application was suspended for violating the section on sexual content and profanity. Since then, the application has already returned to the store -after appealing the suspension- although along the way it has shown, again, how poorly Google's automatic review system works.

The reviewing robot

Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes doing searches on Google Play will have realized that filter, there is little. The ease of publishing an application is one of the virtues of the Google store, but it also has a dark side: a multitude of poor quality applications. Google has repeatedly promised review applications in greater detail, but news like today's show us that there is still much work to be done.

How to create and publish an app on Google Play

The application in question is Just (Video) Player, a simple video player that is based on the ExoPlayer library, created by Google. From ExoPlayer it inherits most of the features and support, including subtitles. In this way, ExoPlayer supports subtitles in ASS, SSA, SRT, VTT, TTML format, so the same happens with Just Video Player. However, by putting this information in the description of the application on Google Play, Google suspended the app for sexual content and profanity.


In the message from Google the entire sentence is highlighted, although the main suspect appears to be the format ASS, "ass", in English or Advanced SubStation Alpha, in the context of subtitles. A human reviewer would have understood the context, but not so an automatic reviewer like the one that seems to be that I judge, pronounced sentence and executed this application.

Luckily for its developer, the appeal has taken effect and the application has already returned to the store, although along the way it shows us once again the lack of control that Google has with its store and the improvement of its automated detection systems.

Via | ArsTechnica