Google is set to reinstate a recently-removed feature to its Android app marketplace in response to concerns voiced by the community.
As per a series of tweets published to the official Android developer account, an imminent Play Store update will see the return of the app permissions section, which catalogues the level of access demanded by each application.
“Privacy and transparency are core values in the Android community,” the thread states. “We heard your feedback that you find the app permissions section in Google Play useful, and we’ve decided to reinstate it. The app permissions section will be back shortly.”
Google Play Store changes
The initial removal of the app permissions section coincided with the full launch of a new listing item called data safety, which is comparable in style to the privacy labels system on Apple’s App Store.
The data safety section is designed to give users an easily digestible snapshot of the kinds of information an application collects; whether that’s location data, browsing history, personally identifiable information (PII) or whatever else.
The problem, as some commentators have pointed out, is that this information is supplied exclusively by the developers, meaning it could be possible to mislead users as to the level of access granted to their application.
To head off these concerns, Google will now implement a system whereby the data safety menu co-exists with the app permissions section on the Play Store, despite the tax on usability this might incur.
“The data safety section provides users with a simplified view of how an app collects, shares and secures user data,” the company explained, in the same Twitter thread.
“But we also want to make app permissions information easily viewable for users to understand an app’s ability to access specific restricted data and actions too.”
Google has also previously warned that it will punish any developers found to have misrepresented the way their Android applications collect and utilize user data and taken action to that effect on multiple occasions.
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