Google To Use Transparency in Using App Data

Google uses data from different applications to provide better experience to the Android users. It is continuously experimenting with new ways to support the delivery of digital advertising in ways that also protect online privacy of the people. In its wake, Google decided to give Android users greater insight into how their smartphone apps use their personal data. A totally new safety section is included within Google Play that would provide more transparency into the data that apps collect and share.

All the applications in Google Play store, both Google-owned apps and others use personal data such as user location, photos and videos, personal information, contacts, and more. According to Google, the new safety section within Google Play would make developers disclose the type of data they collect and store within their apps. It would also reveal the way the data is used, whether for app functionality or to provide personalized experience.

How the new Google Privacy Policy works?

Lately, Google seems to be prioritizing the privacy of every app installed in user’s mobile device. Under the new privacy policy introduced by the company, Google includes new measures under which all apps in the Google Play store will be required to share their data details. According to Google, apps and developers do not provide accurate information which they now have to fix and/or be subject to policy enforcement. However, the developers will be given certain amount to time by Google to adapt to the new rules of transparency. New app submissions and app updates are required to be submitted to the Google by all the app developers so that the Android users can see the safety section on Google Play. In addition to this, the company also introduced a new policy that makes it more difficult for certain apps to access other apps’ info on user’s smartphone.

Under the new policy, the applications on the Google Play store will also have to give an acceptable reason to access the information regarding other apps on the device of the users. According to the policy, the only permitted reasons include file managers, device search, browsers and antivirus apps.

Developers’ Thought on App Data Transparency

Developers of different applications also agree with Google that the users should get all the transparency that they can along with complete control over their data. They are also working to devise simple ways to communicate app safety that are easy to comprehend and allow users to make informed choices about how they like their data to be handled. In addition to this, the developers would also give some extra context to explain the use of data and how the new safety measures will affect the app experience. It means that along with the data an application collects or shares, there will be some new elements introduced to highlight whether:

  • There are appropriate security practices in the application, for example data encryption,
  • The application follows the prescribed Families policy,
  • The app necessarily requires data to function or the users have the choice of not to share it,
  • The safety section of the app is verified by an independent third-party, and
  • The application enables users to request deletion of their saved data, if they decide to uninstall the app.

Along with the things mentioned above, Google will also ask the application developers to share the following information:

  • The type of data that is collected and stored by the app such as personal information like name, contacts, email address, approximate or precise location of the user, photos, videos, audio files, storage files or any other.
  • How the developers will use the data, i.e., to improve app functionality or offer more personalization to the users or any other way.
  • App details such as such as screenshots of the app, basic app descriptions and other important info must be mentioned in the app section on the Google Play Store. All the information mentioned must be completely accurate. Under this policy of Google Play, if any developer is found to have misrepresented or twisted the data they have provided in any way, this will lead to policy violation. Under this circumstance, google will require the developer to fix it as soon as it is reported.

Applications that are not in compliance with these policies will be subject to policy enforcement.

What the users should expect from this new policy change?

Apps on the Google Play store, including Google’s own applications like Chrome, Workspace, Chat, Classroom, etc, will become more transparent with the users by sharing all the required details of their app and data usage and providing a privacy policy. With this policy change, not only the users will get complete details of the applications they install, they will also learn the way their data will be used and interpreted.

All the existing applications on Google Play are required to comply with the new policy and every new app submission and app updates launched after the second quarter of 2022 must also include this information. So from this period onwards, the users will be more involved with the data usage of the apps installed in their devices.

Following into the footsteps of Google, Apple also introduced the App Tracking Transparency feature in its iOS 14.5 update. This modification will allow the users to turn on and off the ability of their mobile apps to track all the behind the scene actions that users perform.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Why do the apps use users’ data?

Answer: To improve usability and offer personalized experience to the users, different apps use user’s data.

Question 2: Which apps use the most data?

Answer: Streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Stan and social media apps such as Tik Tok, Tumblr and Instagram use most amount of data.

Question 3: How much data does Google Map use?

Answer: On average, Google Maps uses around 2.19 MB of data for every hour that it is being run.

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