Google has decided that it's time to step things up over on the Android Market, and is adding in age ratings to all applications.

This will be a gradual launch, where all developers submitting new or updated applications will be asked to rate their wares as suitable for All, Pre-Teen, Teen or Mature.

If developers fail to give a rating, then it will be classed as Mature, so the pressure is on to be accurate in the description.

Drugs are bad, m'kaaaay?

It's interesting to note that references to Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco should be only rated Teen, putting it in the same category as those that ask for locations.

Luckily "illegal activity or content that is targeted at minors is not allowed in Android Market" isn't going to get through, so at least Android's not going to be the mobile phone equivalent of Gotham City' despicable underworld.

However, chances are it's only going to discourage the children who have an overbearing sense of guilt forced upon them by their parents, as it's only a confirmation that the app applies to your age group that will get in the way.

It's a far cry from Apple's militant age-rating scheme, where sometimes random things are deemed Adult were taken down without warning, and Apps like Playboy were allowed to stand.

Via Android Developers Blog