Privacy has become a hot topic in tech in the past few years, especially on mobile. Apple has even made it an important selling point for its products, especially iPhones and iOS. Google has been working to change the image of Android as a Wild West for privacy-violating apps, and it is introducing a new section on the Google Play Store to give users a clue on what apps are doing with their data. Of course, that doesn’t happen by magic, and Google is now pushing developers to start submitting the required information before 2022 deadlines.
There is a wide variety of apps that collect a wide range of users’ data, from details about the phone the app is running on to more sensitive information like email addresses. The Android OS tries to limit apps from using data they don’t need, but sometimes that’s unavoidable. Now Google is using the strength of its Google Play platform to get developers to be more forthcoming with what data they collect, how they collect them, and what they do with them.
Google announced this new Data Safety section that will appear in each app’s description on Google Play Store last July, and it is now kickstarting the submission process. Developers will have to submit the necessary information for this new system to work, and they can start doing so now. Google acknowledges that the work involved won’t be trivial, but it promises that it will make things as easy as it can make them.
This Data Safety section requirement only applies to Android apps on Google Play Store, of course, and any app store or APK outside of it is fair game. Google will most likely make it a selling point for Google Play as a feature that protects users’ privacy. Of course, this only works if developers are truthful in submitting the information and if users will actually check that section before they install an app.