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.
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.