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Google isn’t deliberately delaying updates to avoid showing app privacy labels on iOS

By Nadeem Sarwar January 5, 2021, 11:17 pm

Earlier this week, FastCompany reported that Google has not updated any of its iOS apps since December 7, raising speculations that the company is trying to avoid showing the now-mandatory app privacy labels. If you recall, Apple’s new App Store guidelines make it mandatory for developers to disclose what data their apps collect and how that data is used via these app privacy labels. But why December 7, not any other date? Well, that is because Apple required all app updates submitted after December 8 to show these privacy labels.

Well, it now appears that Google has no intention of avoiding that privacy guideline and that the company is actually going to implement it soon. TechCrunch has obtained confirmation from a Google spokesperson that the company has no plans to challenge the app privacy labels. In fact, Google intends to roll out app privacy labels for its entire family of iOS apps either this week, or the next.


Google did update two of its apps after the December 8 deadline

“While it may seem Google is skirting Apple’s new rules, we must also be careful about reading too much into the update timing. A slowdown in December app updates isn’t unusual by any stretch,” the report adds. “And like other large companies, Google goes on a code freeze in late December through early January, so as not to cause major issues with its products and services over the holidays when staff is out.”

As for the claims of Google not updating a single iOS app since December 7, they appear to be not entirely true. Techcrunch, in collaboration with Sensor Tower, has discovered that the Google Slides app was updated on December 14, while the Socratic by Google app received an update on December 15. However, it appears that Apple gave Google some breathing room here, as Google updated the two aforementioned apps after the December 8 deadline without submitting these app privacy labels.

Apple may have given some extra time to Google though

However, that doesn’t mean Google hasn’t thought about the effect that these app privacy disclosures will have on its business. After all, Google earns a good portion of its billions from advertising, so the company must have certainly had high-level discussions on how to adapt to Apple’s latest privacy guidelines without raising privacy alarms and hurting its business. “In fact, they’re being taken quite seriously — with execs attending meetings to discuss that sort of thing,” the report adds.

In Facebook’s case, however, the social media giant went on an offensive in the name of protecting small businesses that rely on ad-tracking, a tirade that also involved publishing full-page newspaper ads criticizing Apple’s updated App Store policies. However, Facebook’s stance drew some criticism from its own employees for its business-centric approach. Taking a veiled jibe at Facebook, Apple also warned that developers who fail to abide by the new guidelines risk getting their apps removed from the App Store


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