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Google Quashes Pro-Hitler Android Apps

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Altimeter Group analyst Michael Gartenberg was shocked Thursday night to discover that if he searched for "jewish" in the Android App Marketplace, the search returned pro-Hitler themes.

After a protest was sent, Google removed the apps from the search results, Gartenberg said via Twitter on Friday.

"I was more disturbed at how it came up in search results. Clearly designed to offend," Gartenberg posted via his Twitter feed.

He later said that he received a note from Google stating that the apps were "upsetting and violates TOS [terms of service]."

A check of the Android Market on Friday revealed no apps that came up when a user searched for "jewish". A search for "Hitler" generated several search results, including "Hitler Theme 2," an app by Creature Apps and apps containing Mein Kampf. A search for "Nazi" turned up the same Hitler theme.

According to a screenshot by Engadget, the "Adolph Hitler Theme" was also designed by Creature Apps. A search for "Adolph" on Friday returned only one, unrelated result, apparently implying that Google removed the app. Meanwhile, the Android Market listing for "Hitler Theme 2" said that the app had received less than 50 downloads.

Creature Apps has several apps on the Android Market, including "Pinup Girl 7 Theme," "Legend of the Seeker Theme," "Team Edward Twilight Theme," and "Waldo Theme".

"We have removed the apps for violation of Android content policy," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

Unlike Apple, which actively screens and approves apps, Google's Android Market does no such thing. Google's Android terms of service makes it clear that it does not typically monitor applications: "While Google does not intend, and does not undertake, to monitor the Products or their content…" section 7.2 of Google's Android Developer Agreement begins.

However, if Google becomes aware that the app meets one of the following conditions, it may be taken down, the agreement adds: it violates the IP rights of a third party; it violates the law; is either pornographic, obscene, or violates Google's hosting policies; is improperly distributed; contains malware or spyware, or impacts the integrity of Google's servers.

In June, PCMag.com identified several Android apps that allow users to search for and download music directly to their phone. Two months later, several of those apps remain on the Android Market.

Read more tech news and reviews at PCMag.com.