Google Makes User Location Tougher to Access |

Google Makes User Location Tougher to Access

After Apple’s latest iOS update ensured that apps tracking location continuously would be called out, Google is doing the same


We said this before and we say it again… Apple leads and Google follows! Be it their smartphone designs and features or the issue of tackling privacy, the company seldom wants to be the early mover, preferring instead to wait and watch others make mistakes and then learn from them and enhance the customer experience.

Not bad business strategy. Once again, the company has Mountain View-headquartered tech giant has taken the cue from its Cupertino-based neighbour on the issue of mobile privacy. Tim Cook had gone to town several months ago announcing that the iPhones users’ data was as safe as Fort Knox and now Google is following suit.

Starting August 3, the company would seek prior approval for background location requests in all Play Store-bound Android apps in order to determine if the feature is necessary and provides clear value to customers. It would reject the apps that appear to be asking for too much information, the company said in a blog post related to Android 11 upgrades. 

“In Android 10, people were given additional control to only grant access when the app is in use, which makes location access more intentional. Users clearly appreciated this option as over half of users select “While app is in use,” the blog said.

“Now in Android 11, we’re giving users even more control with the ability to grant a temporary “one-time” permission to sensitive data like location. When users select this option, apps can only access the data until the user moves away from the app, and they must then request permission again for the next access,” it said and asked users to visit the Android 11 developer preview to learn more.

So, what does it mean for users? Quite simply that a social network app seeking location data continuously on Play Store may be approved by Google, but the same may not happen for a ticket booking app or a shopping app. The team had brought you the case of continuously asking for your location and how an upgrade on the iOS13 had put a stop to this.

The blogpost says that the existing policy with Google would change in April and developers can reach out to seek inputs from the company on use cases within a month. Google would also provide a timeframe for the first few months when app developers can fix the issue and it would be only new apps that would require background location approval post August 3.

Google also notified that it would begin removing existing apps that do not have such approval from November 2. Of course, these steps may not really curtail Android’s own location sharing bit though apps such as Facebook would find it tough to keep seeking location once the new rules come into play.

Experts believe that the stricter policy initiatives would ensure reduction of privacy abuses though it could bring back the question of why apps require such background location checks in the first place. If a person wants to book a table at a restaurant why does the app need the location, if the customer can search and locate the restaurant?

TAGS: Google, Android 11, Privacy, Mobile Privacy, search, Location Search, Location mapping, Mapping