Google is giving Android users and developers a glimpse at the new app safety labels that will be displayed on all Play Store listings from next year.
First announced in May, the idea is to inform Android device owners about how their data will be used by the app. It’s also an opportunity for developers to put their privacy and security practices on show in order to encourage trust among prospective users.
The labels will be similar to the ‘nutrition labels’ used by Apple on the App Store, which have rolled out in the last year and should help to give Android users similar peace of mind.
For example, devs can inform users that data is encrypted and can be deleted, that the app has been subject to an independent security review and follows the Play Store’s Families policy.
Developers can also explain what kind of data an app collects, how it is used and whether it’s shared beyond the app. The data could be location, contacts, personal information and financial information, for example, while the usage could be for app functionality or personalisation. Developers can also outline whether data collection is mandatory or optional.
In a post on the Android developers’ blog, Google says: “In designing our labels, we learned developers appreciate when they can provide context about their data practices and more detail on whether their app automatically collects data versus if that collection is optional. We also learned that users care about whether their data is shared with other companies, and why.
Google says users will begin seeing these labels within Play Store listings by early next year and is mandating developers get the information submitted by April 22.
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The company adds: “We know that some developers will need more time to assess their apps and coordinate with multiple teams. So, you’ll have until April 2022 before your apps must have this section approved. Without an approved section, your new app submission or app update may be rejected.”