Google is introducing a data safety section on its Play Store, through which developers will be required to disclose how their apps collect user data, and what they do with this data. The feature is similar to Apple’s app privacy details feature for the iOS App Store — which the company had introduced in late 2020.
Through the data safety section, Google will mandate developers to disclose the purpose for which user data is collected, whether the data is shared with third parties, what encryption and related security standards do these apps follow, whether they comply with Google Play’s Families Policy to be suitable for usage by underage individuals, and if the app has been vetted against global security standards such as the Open Web Application Security Project’s Mobile Application Security Verification Standard.
Google said in a blog post that the feature will go live on the Play Store on Wednesday, April 27, and developers will have to complete this section for all apps on the Play Store by July 20 this year.
The feature was first announced by Google back in May 2021, and rolls out about a year after it was first announced. Google said that the section will offer a more granular set of details in comparison to simply stating to users what permissions does an app have on phones.
Earlier this month, Google announced that it will start restricting the visibility of apps on the Play Store that have remained without updates for longer than two Android cycles. This mandates that developers of apps already on the Play Store will need to make their apps compatible with at least Android 11, when Android 13 is rolled out.
While apps that fail to comply with this policy will not be entirely removed, they will no longer be discoverable for new downloads. During the announcement, Google said that the feature is a part of the company’s push for developers to take advantage of the newer privacy and security features of Google’s latest Android versions.