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Google Unveils its Proposed Safety Section for Apps on Google Play

Google recently announced its own plans to introduce a new safety section on Google Play that offers more information about the data apps collect and share, and other security and privacy details. The announcement comes in the wake of Apple’s advances into consumer privacy with initiatives like App Tracking Transparency and App Store privacy labels.

Google shared on Wednesday what the new section’s user interface will look like, along with other requirements for developers. In the user interface concept Google debuted, developers are now able to see how this feature will look to the end user. Users will be able to see the developer’s explanation of what data the app collects followed by those other details, each with its own icon to serve as a visual indicator.

When users tap into the summary, they’ll be able to then see other details like what data is collected or shared such as location, contacts, personal information, financial information and more. They’ll also be able to see how the data is used for app functionality, personalization, etc. and whether data collection is optional.

Google says it wants to give developers plenty of time to prepare for these Play Store changes, which is why it’s now sharing more information about the data type definitions, user journey and policy requirements of the new feature.

In May, Google explained the safety section would be designed to easily communicate to users how apps are handling their data so they could make informed choices. Google said app developers would need to disclose to users whether their app uses security practices like data encryption, whether it follows Google Play’s Families policy for apps aimed at kids, whether users have a choice in data sharing, whether the app’s safety section had been verified by a third party, and if the app allowed users to request data deletion at the time of uninstalling, among other things.

In October 2021, developers will be able to submit their information in the Google Play Console for review ahead of the planned launch of the safety section in Google Play, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

Google notes that all developers will have to provide a privacy policy by April 2022. Before, only apps that collected personal and sensitive user data were required to do so. Developers will also be required to share accurate and complete information about all the data in their safety section, including how it’s used by the app’s third-party libraries and SDKs. This is in line with what Apple demands for its apps.

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