Google, on Wednesday, much to the surprise of the American tech press confirmed that it will comply with the new privacy rules imposed by Apple for its App Store. These rules, which came into force on December 8, require third-party developers (including Apple itself) to specify how users’ personal data is collected and used.
This development comes close on the heels of an article on Fast Company which speculated on Monday, January 5 that Google would be annoyed by the new privacy measures imposed by Cupertino. The magazine had claimed that Google, in order to drag its feet over the issue, deliberately pushed back updates several of its applications on the Apple App Store. All this in a bid to stall and refuse to comply with the obligation of transparency on data collection.
On Wednesday, however, TechCrunch reported that this would not be the case and a Google spokesperson confirmed that the firm was working to add the privacy labels required by Apple to all Google applications on the App Store.
Since Google has cut rumours short, there is little point in speculating any more. However, it seems obvious that the compliance of tech giants such as Google or Amazon, which has not updated its App Store application with the privacy label either, is a very thorny issue.
Especially for Google, the cornerstone whose business model – advertising – is highly dependent on the personal data that the tech giant collects. It might therefore seem strange that, as Fast Company pointed out in its initial article, Google has not updated most of its applications on the App Store since December 7, the day before the new privacy rules came into force.
As a reminder, the information that each developer must self-declare for each application is classified into three main categories, in order of importance with respect to tracking:
the data used to track you
data related to you
data that is not related to you
This is what the App Store’s famous “labels” on data collection look like, here for Facebook’s iOS application / © NextPit
However, these suspicions could easily be dismissed by considering that Gafam, as rich in resources as it is, needs time to properly comply with the new provisions of the App Store. And as TechCrunch reminded us, December is anyway a generally software-soft month.
The App Store was ‘closed’ this year from December 23rd to 27th, 2020 as part of its annual “break”. Google also practices a “code freeze” and stops publishing updates, among others, from December 11 to early January to avoid possible crashes of its services and products while many of its employees are on vacation.
However, the 8 December deadline has already passed and Google has officially declared that it is preparing to comply. The next updates of its applications on the App Store will have to provide the necessary information on the collection and use of personal data of its users … at Apple.