Google Play SafetySource: Google

What you need to know

  • Android is getting its own version of Apple's privacy 'nutrition labels' at the beginning of next year.
  • Google has revealed more details about the feature and the design.
  • The features will go live in Q1 of 2022, and developers must comply by April that year.

Google has revealed new details about its upcoming safety section for Google Play on Android, which will debut in the first quarter of 2022.

As reported by our friends at Android Central, Google announced the plans to add a new safety section to apps on the Google Play Store back in May, from our previous report

Following Apple's App Store privacy label move earlier this year, Google has announced that it will also force developers to disclose the kinds of data they will collect. That disclosure will be made via a new section in the Play Store – but it won't kick in until next year.

Google says the new sections in Google Play will help people understand the data an app collects or shares, how or if that data is secured, and further details about privacy and security.

Whilst Apple's labels focus on what data is being collected for the purposes of tracking, and what's linked to the user, Google's new section will focus on whether you can trust your data is being handled responsibly. From AC:

The safety section will show up in an app's Play Store listing page... The new section will highlight the app's safety details, such as whether it uses data encryption and if it has been independently validated against a global security standard. When you tap into the summary in the safety section, you'll be able to view additional details such as the type of data it collects and shares, how your data is used, and whether data collection is optional or required to use the app. Google is continuing to work with app developers to design the new safety section, so the above images are subject to change.

Google says that developers appreciate being able to provide more context and info to its users about their data practices and that Android users are interested in whether apps share their data with other companies and why.

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The new changes come into effect in Q1 of 2022, and developers will have to comply by April 22, apps submitted or updated after that date without an approved section may be rejected by Google. Even apps that don't collect any data must have one.

Apple rolled out its own privacy 'nutrition labels' in iOS 14 late last year. The labels have three sections to show users data used to track them, data linked to them, and data not linked to them, as used by any given app. Some apps have been found to be more egregious than others, such as Facebook, which collects an obscene amount of data from its customers.