Google Play Bans our Covid app built for an Indian City Government.

19 May

Google Play Bans our Covid app built for an Indian City Government.

by Sharib Khan

On April 4, 2020, we received a notice from Google Play store banning our entire play store account.

This was our third unsuccessful attempt to submit an app for tracking COVID-19 Symptoms, in an effort to help the local authorities in Srinagar (Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir), India, to streamline their quarantine and COVID-19 containment measures. Our goal was to provide free services to support the local government authorities manage the pandemic. It got rejected with the below reason:

This was our 3rd rejection for the same app (the multiple submissions, because we initially thought the name was problematic, with the 3rd version including the reference to the local government to indicate legitimacy). So essentially this meant that not only was Google NOT happy with our COVID app, but it also blocked our entire account, making other apps simply disappear overnight from the play store. 

Upon this rejection, we submitted an official appeal to Google, including an an official/signed document from the local government representative. Twice. Well i guess, a local city administration wanting to an app for its residents to track COVID symptoms was not good enough.

But the story doesn’t end there. Not only did Google reject the COVID app, it also banned our entire account which has resulted in us losing two of our prominent apps used by a large community of patients:

Lyme Tracker App (3k+ users). Built in partnership with the Global Lyme Alliance as part of an HHS innovation sprint and released at the White House, the Lyme Tracker app is used by 3,000 plus users to track their Lyme Symptoms. Now that is not available to the community

PCOS Tracker App (15k+ users). Used by women in more than 100+ countries tracking their PCOS and related symptoms through this app. Data from this App has been submitted at AMIA, a leading medical informatics conference in the US.

The Sleepfect Tracker App – a sleep tracker app, data from which has been presented at the ‘Sleep Meeting’ by a New York University research team. 

MyHypoT tracks hypothyroidism symptoms in more than 500 people.

If you believe this ban is too extensive, then help us spread the word to restore these apps by retweeting or commenting here Hacker News or Reddit

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*Update* : May 20, 2020

We keep getting emails from users like below who are not able to find the app

Sharib Khan
Sharib Khan
sharib@trialx.com

Sharib has a passion for merging technology and healthcare that changes the way we approach medicine. As product lead at TrialX, he is responsible for strategy, operations, and product development for all products and services. Prior to TrialX, Sharib co-founded Future Today Inc., a leading online and connected TV media company. Today, Future Today and its media properties reach more than 3 million unique visitors every month. Sharib holds a Masters in Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University and an MD from University of Medical Sciences, Delhi University.

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