Google Is Limiting Which Apps Can See Everything

Google will soon be more selective about which apps on the Play Store can see all

Google will quickly select which apps you can find in the Play Store for all other apps you have installed (via XDA-Developers). As Ars Technics points out, your installed app list can communicate personal traits such as innocence, dating preferences, and political affiliations to developers. Therefore, from May 5, 2021, Google will have to provide a good reason to allow developers access to such information.

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You can see the full list of apps stored on your device for the Android 11 apps that currently require “QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES” permission. But Google recently updated its developer program policy, which now treats that information as “private and confidential user data”, limiting which applications can be used.

After the change goes into effect in May, applications will only be allowed to use their “basic functionality or purpose if they want extensive visibility of applications installed on the user’s device”. Examples of applications that allow the continued use of this permission are file managers, browsers, and anti-virus applications that require data “for knowledge or interaction purposes.” Banking applications, digital wallet applications, and any other application related to “financial transaction activation” may pass for “security reasons”.

Applications that do not have a fair use case for permission are at risk of being removed from the Google Play Store. All developers wishing to keep their applications licensed must complete a publication form that justifies their use.

If you’re concerned that developers are still abusing the license, the Google documentation clearly indicates that they will be tough on annoying apps, even if they are new to the Play Store and upgrade to existing apps. Google can suspend apps and cancel developer accounts.

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