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Google's new policy for Android app listings will give you more information about how your data is used

Google Play Store
Google Play Store (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Play will introduce a safety section to bring more app transparency.
  • The section will inform users of the different data requirements and safety features of an app.
  • The timeline for the safety section indicates a rollout won't occur until early 2022.

Google is announcing a new safety section that will live in Google Play app listings. The new section will encourage better transparency between users and app developers by including useful information about how an app uses data.

Google wants developers to indicate the kind of information that their app will use, including "approximate or precise location, contacts, personal information (e.g. name, email address), photos & videos, audio files, and storage files."

Developers have the ability to highlight if their app includes data encryption, whether or not the app can function without sharing or using certain data if users can request data deletion in the event of an app being uninstalled, and if their app follows Google's Family Policy which is required for apps aimed at kids.

A privacy policy will require developers to accurately represent the information displayed in this new safety section. The policy will be introduced in Q3 of this year, giving developers time to adjust before the deadline highlighted in Google's timeline:

Google Play Privacy Labels Timeline

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

According to the timeline, the new safety section and privacy labels won't show up for end-users on the best Android phones until at least Q1 of 2022. Google decided to "pre-announce" the new policy, allowing developers enough time to prepare their apps listings for the changes.

Any developers that misrepresent their apps will be required to make appropriate changes, else be subject to Google's policy enforcement. As per Google's timeline, new apps and updates will be required to include this information by Q2 2022.

This seems to be more comprehensive than the current app permissions section found at the bottom of an app details page.

There are still a couple of unknowns with Google's new safety section, such as how it will appear in Android app listings for end users. We also don't know exactly how Google Play's new privacy policy will be "enforced" should developers misrepresent their apps. However, it's likely related to the recent guidelines that Google recently announced for app store listings.

The new privacy policy appears to give end-users more context before they install Android apps by allowing more transparency from developers. This has become increasingly important for users, as highlighted earlier this year when WhatsApp announced a change in its own privacy policy regarding the data it requires from users.

What do you think about the privacy policy changes being made to Google Play app listings?

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

6 Comments
  • Thank you, Apple.
  • Knowing Google their privacy policy won't be as strictly as Apple's because Google doesn't want to upset developers as they're vital to Android's continued success. Although one thing Google should do is make it a requirement for cloud saves for ALL games on the Play Store, because hardly any developers use Google Play Games cloud saving option and it's frustrating having to start again when upgrading to a new Android phone.
  • I think part of the reason for that is because an alternate cloud save system is being used so that progress can be carried cross platform (Google Play Games cloud saves are locked to Android only).
  • Well Google should make it a requirement for developers to use Google Play Games cloud saves, if Apple can do this then there's no reason why the biggest mobile platform in the world, in Android can't.
  • This is a joke. No one reads the data policies nor do they really care. If Google is serious, they would do what Apple does -- prevent cross App tracking unless one opts in. I was seriously thinking about jumping back to IPhone. Gonna do it in the next couple weeks. Big reason is IOS 14.5 security. Also, the things Iiked Android flagship such as headphone jack (yes I want one) and LED notifications on my Galaxy S8 are no longer available. Might as well go back to Apple. Android has NO ANSWER to the iPhone 12 Max (smaller version)...
  • Goodbye, nobody will miss you in the walled garden iOS prison.