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This article was published on May 7, 2021


Google is launching iOS-style privacy labels for Android apps next year

Google is launching iOS-style privacy labels for Android apps next year
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Google‘s following Apple again by committing to introduce privacy labels for Android apps in the Play Store next year.

Google will show these labels for the app on the Play Store under the new Saftey section. It’ll show you what kind of data the app collects — approximate or exact location, personal information, photos, and storage — and how it plans to use the data.

The iPhone maker gave a glimpse of these labels last year at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), and introduced them to the App Store later in December. They give you an indication of what data the app is collecting from you.

Apple ad tracking permission pop-up

In addition to data collection labels, the Safety section will show if the app follows Google’s family guidelines, security practices like encrypting data, and data deletion on request. These are useful indicators that give more context about how your data lives on the app developer’s server, and it’s as important as knowing what data is being collected.

[Read: Google will soon automatically enroll users in 2FA]

The company has given a timeline for the label implementation on its blog. In the next quarter, the firm plans to issue a policy about this new feature, and later in the year, it’ll allow developers to start declaring these labels in the Google Play consoles.

Google’s timeline for rolling out Saftey labels for apps

Google hasn’t launched any pop-up like Apple that asks users for their permissions for tracking their data, but the upcoming Safety section will have a place for apps to explain why they need to track user data.

The company plans to enforce safety labels on apps by mid-next year, but it hasn’t said what will happen to the apps that aren’t in compliance. It’s notable that the Big G took its own sweet time in rolling out privacy labels for its own iOS apps earlier this year.

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