Google Play Store adding 'Government' badge to identify official apps

Screenshots of new Government badges in the Google Play Store.
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google announced last year that it would start adding badges to official government apps, and this change is rolling out now.
  • Over 3,000 state and federal apps from 12 countries now show a visual badge displaying that they are official government apps. 
  • Since government apps often require users to provide identifying or banking information, this is a way for users to make sure they're sharing private data with the right app. 

Google has tried to clean up the Play Store of late, and part of that initiative now includes marking government apps with a visual badge to show that they are official. The move was quietly announced in November 2023, but it is just now rolling out to app listings on the Google Play Store. Thousands of official state and federal apps feature a government badge — which looks like a building — directly above the Install button. 

Like some of the other badges on app listings, you can tap the government badge to learn more about what it means. After doing so, the Play Store will bring up the following message: "Official government, Play verified this app is affiliated with a government entity." This new badge is placed between the app reviews average and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) score.

Google says that it started testing the new program with "a small percentage of users" over the past few months. It's now widely rolling out with support for over 3,000 official state and federal apps in 12 countries. For now, only certain apps in Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, India, and Mexico can feature a government badge.

For example, official United States government apps like FEMA and IRS2Go have the official badge. Additionally, the official MyGovIndia app sports a badge. Some state apps like MyTN also feature a badge, just to name a few. 

For what it's worth, the Google Play Store's developer policies already prevent apps from falsely presenting themselves as an official government app in a misleading way. When apps claim that they are affiliated with a government or agency, Google works with those agencies to confirm these changes are legitimate. 

Still, these new badges help make it more clear that the app you are downloading and interacting with is actually the official one from a state or federal government. Considering that many of these apps ask for identifying information and more, it's easy to see why you wouldn't want to share that data with a nonofficial app. Google says it partnered with dozens of governments and developer partners to facilitate these app badges, and this Play Store program may expand in the future. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.