Apple has insisted that app developers on its App Store to disclose the details that they gather and how they use them. Now Google is following suit with a similar guidelines on its Play Store.

Google has said that it would have a new safety section in its mobile-app store that will let Android smartphone users see what data developers collect about them and share, plus give access to additional privacy and security information.

All apps on Google Play — together with Google’s personal apps — will be required to share this info and supply a ‘privateness’ coverage.

Developers have time till 2022

The Google Play safety section will tell users if an app encrypts data, if it follows Google’s policies for families and children, whether users have a choice in sharing information, and whether users can request data deletion if they uninstall an app.

Android app developers have to declare the info before second quarter of 2022. Users will begin seeing the safety section in Google Play sometime in the first three months of 2022.

“We work closely with developers to keep Google Play a safe, trusted space for billions of people to enjoy the latest Android apps. Today, we’re pre-announcing an upcoming safety section in Google Play that will help people understand the data an app collects or shares, if that data is secured, and additional details that impact privacy and security,” Google Vice President Product (Android Security and Privacy) Suzanne Frey said in a blog post.

But Google seems more flexible than Apple

It is interesting that Google is emulating Apple in this transparency drive. Apple’s latest mobile software update, iOS 14.5, includes an App Tracking Transparency feature, which requires users to opt in to being tracked by apps for personalized advertising. 

The update has kicked up a storm, primarily led by Facebook which has been saying that many small business would be affected by this change.

Facebook’s protestations stem from the fact that it, along with many other apps, secrete information about users’ interests so as to tailor info and ads for them. 

Google also relies on advertising revenue. But it is still working on how it can limit data collection and cross-app tracking on the Android platform and not be seen inflexible as Apple.

In a sense, the search giant is seen as more pragmatic than Apple in its approach.

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