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Google now limiting apps from seeing what's installed on devices

ANI | Updated: Apr 03, 2021 22:17 IST

Washington [US], April 3 (ANI): American multinational technology company Google will soon be more selective about which apps on the Play Store can see all of the other apps, installed by users.
According to The Verge, the list of installed apps can communicate to developers' personal traits like dating preferences and political affiliations. So, starting on May 5, 2021, developers will have to provide a very good reason for why Google should let them access info like that.
Android 11 apps that currently request the "QUERY_ALL_PACKAGES" permission can currently see the full list of apps stored on a device. But Google recently updated its Developer Program Policy and now considers that info to be "personal and sensitive user data," restricting which apps are allowed to use it.

Once the change goes into effect starting from May, apps will only use the permission if their "core user-facing functionality or purpose, requires broad visibility into installed apps on the user's device." Examples of apps that will be permitted to continue using this permission include file managers, browsers, and antivirus apps that need the data "for awareness or interoperability purposes."
Banking apps, digital wallet apps, and any other app that involves financial transaction functionality will get a pass for security-based purposes.
Apps that don't have a justifiable use case for the permission risk will be removed from the Google Play Store. All developers who want to keep the permission in their apps need to complete a declaration form justifying their use of it.
As per The Verge, Google's documentation clearly states it will come down hard on offending apps, whether they're new to the Play Store or just updates to existing apps. Google could suspend apps and possibly terminate developer accounts. (ANI)