Last month, Apple introduced “privacy nutrition labels” on its App Store, which require all iOS app developers to provide information about the kind of data their application collects. Although the date for adding these labels was December 8, Google has still not followed through with any of its applications. Many saw this as a sign of retaliation from the company, arguing that it was not ready to publicize its data collection policies. However, it looks like that the argument may be flawed, as Google is set to start rolling out AppStore Privacy Labels for its iOS-based applications as early as this week.
These labels contain information about how an app collects data so that users can know the implications of downloading said app. The feature was made available for all users running the latest version of iOS which is iOS 14, and was first announced during the WWDC event in 2020.
These labels disrupted the industry, at least for a little while, as the push for transparency made some companies uncomfortable. WhatsApp went on to argue that these labels were biased towards third party applications, and that Apple should add them to its own apps as well. However, later on, Apple did confirm that first party applications would carry these labels too, thus preventing any criticism from the industry.
However, since Google, one of the biggest companies when it comes to data collection and advertising, has not rolled out these privacy labels yet, many raised concerns. TechCrunch confirmed today that Google is not taking a stand against the privacy labels, snubbing the claims made by Fast Company which, in a report, speculated that “none” of Google’s App has not been updated since December 7. Fast Company said that this was done to avoid adding Privacy Labels to its applications. However, as TechCrunch pointed out, and we also did check, two of Google’s applications (Google Slides and Scratic) have been updated after the deadline, even though no Privacy Labels were added to them.
Moreover, it is not abnormal for updates to slow down in December, and in fact, many other companies, including Amazon, have not rolled out many updates in the last month. Thus, the claims that Google is trying to evade responsibility, according to TC, are unfounded.
The labels will reportedly be added to the App Store this week or next, and will give users more light into how Google collects data from its users. The company already provides extensive detail into the matter here.