A fresh report from the Data Center of China Internet says that close to 35% of Android apps surveyed were slurping user data that was unrelated to the app’s function without alerting the phone’s owners about the practice. Nearly 67% of apps surveyed were tracking data, but only some were abusing this power.
Recently China’s government complained that Google was exerting too much control over the Chinese smartphone industry, because it holds the keys to Android. The suggestion was that China should be capable of making its own equivalent OS, free from Google’s shackles–and, given China’s history in this area, we can assume that means a government-sanctioned and pro-censorship OS. But as TechCrunch notes, many of the problems in the Android app sphere are not caused by Google, instead coming from “forked” versions of the OS that have been adjusted to suit local manufacturer’s needs and which do not necessarily connect to Google’s Play app store.
Separately the importance of Google Play took a further hit this week when it was revealed that a new edition of the Facebook Android app downloads and installs app updates all by itself–without the device’s owner having to visit Google Play at all. It’s not clear why Facebook has chosen this method, but it may simply be to ensure it has tighter control over its user’s app experience instead of Google.