Google issues notice to Zomato, Swiggy for app store policy violation

Google issues notice to Zomato, Swiggy for app store policy violation
Photo Credit: Reuters
1 Oct, 2020

Search engine giant Google has sent notices to online food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy stating that their in-app gamification features violate policies of its Android app store, Google Play.

Both companies have subsequently removed their in-app gamification features.

Confirming the news, Zomato called the notice from Google unfair. “We believe that the notice is unfair, but we are a small company and have already realigned our business strategy to comply with Google’s guidelines. We will be replacing Zomato Premier League with a more exciting program by this weekend,” a Zomato spokesperson said.

Swiggy declined to respond to queries from TechCircle. However, a person in the know said the company has received the notice and that it has withdrawn the gamification features from the app.

The development was first reported by The Economic Times.

Food delivery platforms are betting on the ongoing cricket tournament -- the Indian Premier League (IPL) - with matchday special offers and other gamification-related cashback schemes.

In a blog published on Monday related to updates on Android and Play policies, Google said that apps on Google Play which offer in-app purchase of digital goods will be required to use Google Play’s billing system. The move will help Google shore up its revenues and prevent apps from directing users to payment links and gateways outside Google Play which charge less fee and commissions.

Read: What is Google Play’s new payment policy and why are app developers upset

Google has a revenue share system with the apps on Play Store where it charges a 30% ‘service fee’ on all transactions through its billing system.

Last month, Google had briefly yanked fintech app Paytm from Google Play for alleged violation of its policy on gambling. The removal was reportedly linked to the app leading users to bet on scratch cards that promise cashback and rewards during the Indian Premier League season, and picking favourite IPL players as part of the promotion to create a team. The app was shortly reinstated. Paytm said although the system is lawful, the company has “temporarily” removed the cashback component from the app to meet Google’s policy requirements.