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Google continues Market improvements with new rankings, app removals?

by Kristen Nicole

Google has always been the self-proclaimed leader of algorithms, and making tweaks to its search and page rankings is par for the course. So, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise if Google makes changes to its Android Market rankings algorithm, which determines the top apps in the mobile bazaar.

Google knows algorithms. Does Android?

The question of whether or not Google (GOOG) made changes to its Android rankings has been raised, in part thanks to myYearbook CEO Geoff Cook. He’s reporting a huge jump in rank for his social networking app, which has leaped from No. 63 to No. 11 in the Top Free Social category of the Android Market, according to Android App Tracker. Cook goes on to point out a handful of Android apps that have seen big boosts recently, including Seesmic and Gowalla in the same category. The ongoing explanation is that Google’s now factoring in more than just install stats for ranking apps, looking at daily active users as well.

If Google has, in fact, improved the Android Market ranking system, it would be an improvement that benefits consumers a great deal. It would mean fewer opportunities for adware to game the rankings algorithm, demonstrating which apps are being used, and not just downloaded and deleted, or forgotten altogether. It’s a problem Google’s quite familiar with, having to constantly monitor its search algorithms for spam sites that climb the ranks despite poor or irrelevant content. It would also mark another Market improvement for Google, which is currently facing some backlash for rampant malware, and rising competition from independent marketplaces such as Amazon’s (AMZN) Appstore.

Grooveshark app gets booted

In all, Google seems to be cracking down on its Market developments, booting the Grooveshark music app after the major music labels charged the service of violating copyright law. The removal of the app occurred just one day before a hearing before the members of the House Judiciary Committee, where Google’s general counsel Kent Walker is scheduled to testify. Google seems to be doing what it can to dodge accusations of profiting from piracy by allowing alleged pirate sites to post Google ads. Google denies this, and will defend its position at today’s hearing.