Google has removed several ad-blocking apps from Google Play this afternoon, and sent letters to the developers explaining that they were breaking one of the rules. Section 4.4 of the Play store developer distribution agreement says:
You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Market to sell or distribute Products outside of the Market.
While technically these apps do interfere with the normal way other apps operate, we all know that Google makes money from ads. At some level that has to come into play, and it's no surprise that Google would want ad-blocking software to disappear from their official marketplace. It sucks, but it is their store to run how they please, and whether it be Nazi themes or ad blockers, if they don't like it they are allowed to remove it.
But we don't have to stop using them. A big draw of Android is the ability to sideload apps without rooting or any fancy trickery. Hopefully, the affected developers will find somewhere safe and trustworthy to host their apps for download, and things can continue just like they are now. The full text of the letter sent to developers is after the break.
This leaves one question -- is the Chrome store next?
This is a notification that your application, [redacted], has been removed from the Google Play Store.
REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement.
After a regular review we have determined that your app interferes with or accesses another service or product in an unauthorized manner. This violates the provision of your agreement with Google referred to above.
All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts. If your account is terminated, payments will cease and Google may recover the proceeds of any past sales and/or the cost of any associated fees (such as chargebacks and transaction fees) from you.
If your developer account is still in good standing, you may revise and upload a new instance of the application that is compliant with the developer terms. Before uploading any new applications, please review the Developer Distribution Agreement and Content Policy.
If you feel we have made this determination in error, you can visit this Google Play Help Center article for additional information regarding this removal.
The Google Play Team