Google was able to observe the user habits of rival apps on Android

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He used user data collected on the Android platform to monitor competing applications, according to Google, The Information. According to the source, the company collected data, including usage statistics about rival apps, through Google Mobile Services to use the information filtered from them to improve its own services.

Google's Lockbox program, among other things, allowed Google to monitor how often each application is opened by users and how long they have been used at the same time. The search giant also spoke in the case, admitting that it did have access to competitors ’usage data, but the company said the program is not only public, but other developers can access similar information through Google’s services. If users agree to share their information during the initial setup of their Android devices to “improve the user experience,” Google may use them in addition to more personalized features to monitor application usage patterns.

tried to emphasize that the data collected in connection with the use of the apps is completely anonymized and does not contain information that could personally identify users. In addition, the company says the program does not provide insight into user activity within each application. Speaking to The Verge, the company said the Andorid App Usage Data API has been available to both Google and Android developers since 2014 to access basic usage data for each app and improve their own services. According to Google, the company only has access to this data through this API and uses it, among other things, for suggestions made in the Play Store.

However, this activity may still raise competition concerns. It is true that through this API, the company allows all developers to follow usage statistics in a similar way on users ’devices, but they only have access to this data for users who also have their own applications installed. Google, on the other hand, sees every device running Google Mobile Services, giving you orders of magnitude more insight into the user habits associated with each service.

Google did not specify whether it used data obtained from competitors using Android Lockbox on its own. to improve its services. However, according to sources close to the company, the company kept an eye on Gmail's competitors, among other things, and used it to develop TikTok's rival, YouTube Shorts, which is being tested. Users have the option to revoke permissions for this type of data collection under the diagnostics section of the androdios settings menu.


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