Last year, Google announced that it would be adding a safety section to its Google Play Store. Now, witness the official rollout of the aptly named Google Play Data Safety Section. This will offer Android users transparency around how apps collect data and where it is sent. This will be done using new labels that present users with specific information about specific apps.
The change comes after Apple announced its own version of the labels, which are named ‘nutrition labels’.
The feature has already begun rolling out, though some apps may not have all the relevant information included yet. Since the announcement was made in May of 2021, Google has given plenty of time for developers to get their app information up to date. If an app is still not up to date, Google has given the developers a deadline of 20 July 2022 to correct it.
Play Store upgrade
Labels will be shown on apps to tell users whether an app has security protocols (such as data encryption), follows Google’s family’s policy, and if it needs specific data to function or if the choice is left to the user. They also display whether an app’s safety section is verified or if it allows users to request data deletion. If an app follows these labels and provides users with the correct information, they have nothing to worry about.
Google has also asked developers to show users exactly what type of data is collected. The potential data in question is personal information. This is data like name and email address info, precise location, photos and videos, audio files, and stored files. If an app tracks of any of this, they are required to tell users in the Google Play Data Safety Section.
But knowing what information they have isn’t enough. Developers must also provide information on how they use this data. Whether it’s for app functionality or customisation, we, and Google, want to know. Google has said that developers are responsible for providing accurate information. If any information is found to be inaccurate, Google will ask them to fix it. If the information isn’t updated, then Google will be open to policy enforcement.
While you may not be fussed about your info, at the end of the day this is good news for consumers. It promotes transparency between users and developers. And, in a way, with Google too. Hopefully the company continues down this path of helping protect its users’ information even further.