What is Google's game as it fails to deliver privacy labels on its most popular iOS apps

What is Google's game as it fails to deliver privacy labels on its most popular iOS apps
Earlier this month, we noted that Google hadn't updated its iOS apps for roughly four weeks. As a result, the company missed a deadline set by Apple for developers to send the tech giant a privacy report containing information including the data that each app has access to from iOS users including Location Data, contacts, photos and browser history. Apple wanted the information so that iOS users could understand what data each app collects from an iPhone or iPad user before that user decides to download and install that app.

According to The Verge, Google promised around the first week of this month that it would add the privacy labels to its iOS apps "as soon as this week." Roughly three weeks have gone by since then and popular Google apps such as YouTube, Google Search, Gmail, Google Photos, and others have yet to have been updated to include the privacy labels. The Verge went through the App Store and found 12 Google apps that have the privacy label. Those apps include:

  • Stadia
  • Google Translate
  • Google Authenticator
  • Google Play Movies and TV
  • Google Classroom
  • Google Fiber
  • Google Fiber TV
  • Wear OS
  • Onduo for Diabetes
  • Project Baseline
  • Google Smart Lock
  • Motion Stills - GIF, Collage
Keep in mind that the privacy label lists all of the data that an app can collect, not the actual personal information that an app will collect. And if you look at the list of the apps that Google has updated with the privacy label, you can see that most of them are apps that you wouldn't call the most popular Google apps for iOS. Take the Motion Stills app. That one hadn't received an update for three years before the privacy label was added.


Will Google eventually do as it promised, or will it continue not to update its iOS apps. We should point out that it was back in November when Apple put the word out about what it wanted from developers. At the time, Apple wrote, "The App Store will soon help users understand an app’s privacy practices before they download the app on any Apple platform. On each app’s product page, users can learn about some of the data types the app may collect, and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them. If you haven’t already, enter your app’s privacy information in App Store Connect. As a reminder, this information will be required to submit new apps and app updates to the App Store starting December 8, 2020. Existing apps will remain available for download." It is now January 26th and it would appear that despite paying lip service to Apple, Google doesn't plan on going along with this plan to improve user privacy.

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