Google Play Store adopts Apple-style privacy nutrition labels

In short: advertisers didn’t like Apple’s strategy of being more open about what happens to user data on its platforms. However, Google’s latest move along similar lines appears to be an admission that Apple was onto something.

Google has announced that Play Store apps will start showing “data security” information starting this week. Privacy sheets are very similar to app privacy sections for Apple apps. Google Play app pages must start including this information by July 20. The tech giant is trying to make its security information pages more informative than Apple’s.

Since late 2020, app pages on Apple’s platforms have included what the company calls “nutrition privacy labels.” They list what information an app collects and tracks, such as a user’s email address or search history, and whether different companies may use the data on different services.

The Data Security section on Google Play Store pages lists similar information. The main difference is that where Apple apps show a simple list of the data they use, Android developers will have a space to explain why they use it. However, these explanations will not necessarily make Android apps more reliable.

Last year, the Washington Post discovered that some iOS apps were secretly collecting and sending information that their app privacy sections promised not to. It remains to be seen to what extent Google will enforce truthfulness from app makers, even if their privacy labels are more detailed.

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