Want to put an Android app in the Google Play store? From May, you'll have to fill out a questionnaire that allows the app to be assigned an age rating, and the app won't be published until it is approved by Google's approvals team. Here's what you need to know.
The introduction of age ratings is designed to make it easier for parents (and kids!) to choose suitable content. There's a content rating questionnaire available in the Google Developer Console which will assign an age rating. It will also convert that age and rating information into a country-specific rating if that country's ratings board is participating in the global International Age Ratings Coalition (IARC). The Australian Classification Board recently joined that scheme, so any titles you self-classify will receive an Australian rating.
You can voluntarily fill out the questionnaire now. From May, all new app submissions will require it, and Google may block access to titles in certain markets after that time. In other words — you may as well do it now.
Google has also confirmed via its developer blog that it is now manually approving apps, rather than allowing them to be published automatically. That should reduce the risk of malware-laden apps making an appearance — a common criticism of Google Play — but it does remove the instant publishing approach that previously distinguished the platform. Google says approval will happen within hours, "rather than days or weeks" (an evident dig at the unpredictable iOS apps approval process).
Creating Better User Experiences on Google Play [Android Developers Blog]