Months afterfor apps, Google announced its mobile app marketplace, Google Play, will follow suit. Today, the company pre-announced its plans to introduce a new “safety” section in Google Play, rolling out , which will require app developers to share what sort of data their apps collect, how it’s stored, and how it’s used. For example, developers will need to share what collect, like users’ names or emails, and whether it contains data from the phone, like the user’s precise location, media files, or contacts. Apps will also need to explain how the app uses that information to enhance the app’s functionality or for personalization purposes.
Developers who already adhere to specificpractices will also highlight that in their app listing. On this front, it will add new elements that detail whether the app uses security practices like data encryption; if the app follows Google’s Families policy related to child safety; if an independent third party has verified the app’s safety section; whether the app needs data to function or allows users to choose whether or not to share data; and whether the developer agrees to delete user data when a user uninstalls the app in question.
Apps will also be required to provide their. While inspired by , several key differences exist. Apple’s titles focus on what for tracking purposes and what’s linked to the end user. Google’s additions seem to be more about whether or not you can trust the data being collected is being handled responsibly by allowing the developer to showcase if they follow best practices around data security. It also gives the to make a case for why it collects data on the listing page itself. (Apple’s “ask to track” pop-ups on iOS now force developers to beg user data inside their apps.)
Another exciting addition is thatlabels to be independently verified. Assuming trusted names handle these verifications, they could help to convey to users that the disclosures aren’t lies. One early criticism of was that many were providing inaccurate information — and were getting away with it, too. Google says the new features will not roll out until Q2 2022, but it wanted to to prepare. Of course, there are many ironies to be found in an app privacy .
The company was one of the longest holdouts on issuingfor its iOS apps as it scrambled to review (and re-review, we understand) the labels’ content and disclosures. After initially claiming its titles would roll out “soon,” many of Google’s top apps entered a lengthy period where they received no updates, as they were no longer compliant with policies. It took Google months after the deadline had passed to provide labels for its top apps. And when it did, critics mocked it — like the privacy-focused like Chrome and Google app collect. Google’s plan to add a safety section to allows it to shift the narrative slightly.