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Google Patents a Way to Keep Pirated Content off of Google Play

Any user of Google Play knows that when you search for the most popular apps, there’s always a clone or two at hand. While Google does make an effort to remove these kinds of apps, it’s inevitable that they won’t be able to stop every last one. That’s where this recently awarded patent comes in — Google has devised a method to compare code to other apps to check for copying, and will cleverly filter out open-source code matches.

Applied for in July 2013, the intricacies of the patent get quite complex, considering that Google is not dealing with a simple issue here. Apps will be given a “similarity rating” based on how much they compare to the code of other apps, and presumably if it’s too close the app will be removed from Play.

Google, as mentioned earlier, has also thought up a way to deal with open-source and freely available code, so apps are not removed from Play just because they used something they had a right to.

While Google has not made anything official on this system becoming a part of Google Play, it would only make logical sense for them to finally be able to counter piracy. Good on you, Google.


Via: Torrent Freak | Google Patents
Cheers Scott!
  • I imagine this being a problem. There is bound to be some sort of duplicate coding in multiple apps even if they arent clones of each other. I can just see apps being pulled and their authors/owners having to contact google and waiting months for them to respond to get it reinstated. Example would be blog apps or rss feeds. I get there are rip offs where its frustrating but if you arent wanting clones dont release the source.

  • Just_Some_Nobody

    Haven’t schools had a way to do this to check for cheaters for um ever now?

  • at first i thought this was going to scan my Google Play Music & Book libraries….. thank god o/

  • Alfred Hitchcock

    Can I patent the ability to make patents on other patents? By doing this i would technically own the world.

  • Ryan Bello

    This is a patent application, not a patent. The title of this post should be “Google Applies for Patent directed to a Way to Keep Pirated Content off of Google Play.”

    • Chris

      They applied for the Patent in July 2013, and it was published in Feb 2014, so it is a patent now.


      • Ryan Bello

        Your link shows the published application in Europe. All patent applications publish 18 months after their priority dates unless the applicant specifically requests that the application not be published.

        If you check the status of the corresponding US application on the USPTO’s website, you’ll see it’s facing a rejection mailed by the Examiner in January.

        Once again, this is NOT an issued patent.

        • According to Google it was published on February 5, 2014. We just picked up on it thanks to Torrent Freak, but I think you are wrong here.

          I am no patent lawyer, however, so forgive me if I am incorrect.

          • Ryan Bello

            I suggest you check the application’s status on the USPTO website: http://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair

            You’ll have to enter the application’s serial no–13/565,304–since it doesn’t have a patent number because it is not an issued patent.

            I do not expect the writers to be patent attorneys, but a 30 second check of the Patent Office’s website before publishing a story with false information would have been nice.

  • starnovsky

    Clone != pirated content. Totally different things.

    • Just_Some_Nobody

      Right. Except when they use the SAME CODE which is what this patent looks for.

      • Ian

        Nope. Copying/cloning an app for distribution is not like illegally downloading music/movies

        • sirmeili

          1) Music and Movies are not the only things that can be pirated. The term, when used in this fashion, was actually started by using unlicensed software

          2) I agree with you that perhaps pirating is not the best term here, though this could lead to people “pirating” paid software by someone re-uploading it as a free version under a different name.

  • Danny Alvarez

    Incoming Apple lawsuit for the patent.

    • XboxOne

      Stop fandroid.

  • Milton

    But piracy is what made android big, no matter the price an app can have, you can always find a pirated version, android is for the poor, after all

    • DoctorJB

      I found piracy to be much easier on iOS. Android games always have multiple files and directories (with different versions for different SoCs). On iOS you just jailbreak and install the pirate app store. It’s like the normal app store but everything is free.
      Now I get all my apps for cheap through Humble Bundle, Amazon and Play sales.

      • Milton

        Yeah, IOS is a really unreliable system too, just jailbreak it and boom! Pirated apps for you, both android and ios can’t be really trusted

        • sirmeili

          How is it that the OS can’t be trusted? Don’t you mean the Users? I mean it’s not the OS that pirates, it’s the users that do it. I also hate the implication that because I am an android user that I am poor. I make very good money, I just prefer an open ecosystem as opposed to a closed one.

          • Milton

            Go tell that to other android users, not to me, it’s been always said that android is like IOS, but for poor people

          • sirmeili

            Sorry, not to offend you, but you’re the one that said it, so I will say it to you, like it or not. You actually stated it as a fact, not as someone else’s opinion. I know plenty of well off people that use Android and a lot of poor people that use iOS (and vice versa). As long as you continue to state it as a fact, then prepare to defend that opinion of yours (which obviously you can’t because you backed off it as soon as someone called you on it and decided to push blame to “android users” of which I am one)

  • AngryBadger

    Should help when people suggest a certain app and do not provide a link; or person mishears the app name and runs a search.

    • moew


  • avyfa

    Lol, everyone can download pirated android apps from internet( without viruses ).

  • Patrick Crumpler

    Two not so subtle coughs from Oracle. Lol

  • Nathaniel Webb

    So what about personalization apps like widgets or icon packs that reuse much of the same codebase? (like appfilter.xml and other resources)

    • If it’s open source or readily available I’d imagine you would be fine.

      There probably would be an appeals process too, I’d think.

      • Yeaaah…. appeal to Google for reinstatement of suspended app. Unless you are Koush popular, Google doesn’t give two shits.

        • Adrynalyne

          They have no problem sh!tcanning his apps too. He is only a celebrity to android diehards and a mere mortal to everyone else.

      • Nathaniel Webb

        That makes sense. It might also have the side benefit of revealing licensing issues of those who use open source, but don’t attribute it.

  • Ray

    Yeah there are 100 flappy bird knock offs

    • Marsg

      Yes but without those Knockoff flappy birds we would have NO flappy bird. Something is always better than nothing.

      • Colton

        It’s Android, you can still get Flappy Bird and install it. Plus most, if not all (i dont know really?) knockoffs do not run as smooth as the original

        • Marsg

          Not everyone side loads apks, the average user still thinks Samsung Galaxy xxxxx isn’t running Android lol

          • Colton

            unfortunately, that is very true :/

          • We once asked our interns to write down what operating system their phones used. Most of them said Verizon.

          • Cesar

            I think I just had a stroke…

          • Samsung Galaxy runs Android??? I thought Touchwiz

          • Ronald Lockwich

            Even saying TouchWiz is huge leap up for the average person. I think they’re more prone to say Android than the type of interface that’s running on Android.

          • I was kidding anyway (I do hope that was clear, I’m not THAT clueless ;))

      • XboxOne

        When it comes to Crappy Bird. Nothing is better.

        • Marsg

          I don’t like the game personally just used it as an example, I have emulators for playing.

  • jun

    Now patent something to keep piracy off of Google search

    • abqnm

      I don’t think you can patent the RIAA or the MPAA.

      • Chris

        DA AND THE NRA

      • smart Al

        how about the nba? cia? dea? nwc? nfl? afc? can I patent those?

        • George Simmons

          you can’t even patent yourself with 2 legs.

          • smart Al

            Bro that Don even make sense. yu be sounding crazy.

        • abqnm

          You can patent two of those, however if I tell you which two I will have to kill you.

          • Big Joe

            May I call you Susan as it is more appropriate? so listen Bill! i currently work for the CIA and we have you under video surveillance. we can see u and are now watching you for evidence on an important case…. im just kidding. my names Joe and i live in my mother’s basement cooking burgers.

          • abqnm

            Larry, are you enjoying the conversation with yourself? Why don’t you just close the laptop and tell mommy it is bedtime so she can come in and tell you a story.

    • Ray

      Sounds like something Verizon would do

    • michael arazan

      Or patent a google search for the Play store. Finding a specific app takes a lot of time scrolling through hundreds of apps when you can not search with in a sub directory. Play does not want people narrowing their searches for some reason.

    • brkshr

      Don’t mess with my freedom of search!