Print 28 comment(s) - last by MGSsancho.. on Jun 28 at 3:50 AM

Google is working to be transparent about why it remotely removes apps from its phones in the rare cases it does.
Kills a questionable app that appears to have been a security application, carefully explains actions

Google, like Apple, has implemented a system on its Android smartphone operating system that can remotely delete apps when necessary.  The news of this "kill switch" leaked well over a year ago, but Google has hardly used it. 

This week Google announced that it had recently killed some apps remotely, perhaps for the first time.  The company explains in a blog post:

Every now and then, we remove applications from Android Market due to violations of our Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement or Content Policy. In cases where users may have installed a malicious application that poses a threat, we’ve also developed technologies and processes to remotely remove an installed application from devices. If an application is removed in this way, users will receive a notification on their phone.

Apparently, the apps it removed were the work of a security researcher and not truly dangerous.  The apps were distributed on the Android market and purposefully misrepresented themselves, but were not designed to be truly dangerous -- they gained no "resources beyond permission.INTERNET."

The researcher eventually removed that apps from the market (likely when his study was complete) and Google executed a remote kill on the instances of the two apps that still remained on users' phones.

Google elaborates:

The remote application removal feature is one of many security controls Android possesses to help protect users from malicious applications. In case of an emergency, a dangerous application could be removed from active circulation in a rapid and scalable manner to prevent further exposure to users. While we hope to not have to use it, we know that we have the capability to take swift action on behalf of users’ safety when needed.
This remote removal functionality — along with Android’s unique Application Sandbox and Permissions model, Over-The-Air update system, centralized Market, developer registrations, user-submitted ratings, and application flagging — provides a powerful security advantage to help protect Android users in our open environment.

While Google has the right to manage its own business, it's certainly refreshing to see that it goes the extra mile in communicating and being so transparent about explaining why its reasoning behind executing what might otherwise be a controversial feature, when it does. 

Much of the criticism Apple's iPhone app rejections generated was due to the fact that they were poorly explained.  It looks like Google is intent on maintaining a high level of transparency, something which its customers will surely appreciate.

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RE: Google: No porn, piracy on Android Market
By Iaiken on 6/25/2010 12:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
Very few developers are going to distribute their apps outside of Android Market. Developers who choose not to go through the market will struggle to get their product noticed and will be lucky to make a profit.

Way to think in absolutes. I make my apps available from my website as well as through the Google marketplace. Hell, you can get many of the free apps available on the Google market directly from the developer if you so choose.

Carriers also have the ability to block the installation of outside apps on Android phones. AT&T has already done this on the HTC Aria and Dell Aero.

These are agreements between the makers of those specific phones and has nothing to do with Android as an OS. If you want to do business with AT&T, you do business on their terms. Don't like it? Switch carriers.

Lastly, stop being such a absolutist pleb.

RE: Google: No porn, piracy on Android Market
By reader1 on 6/25/10, Rating: -1
RE: Google: No porn, piracy on Android Market
By Iaiken on 6/25/2010 1:42:29 PM , Rating: 2
You proved my point. You would never distribute your app only through your website. It would be suicidal.

No, you ignored my point.

Just as I would not only distribute through my website, I wouldn't only distribute exclusively through the Android market either. This lets me bring recruit people from the community as testers for versions and new apps that are not yet available on the marketplace.

My site generates enough traffic to pay for my whole server rental through adds. This allows me to host not only my droid site, but hobby websites, a mumble server, etc for free.

Developers are not at all like users. We're sophisticated and many of us are professionals who do droid work on the side just for the hell of it (because it gives me one hell of a resume).

One of my next projects is an Android client for the e107 forum engine to make accessing several of these forums from my phone easier. Why? Because using the a mobile browser to check the various forums I host is a pain in arse.

Thankfully, the gents over at Mumble are writing a free client (for Android and iPhone) so that I can log into and administer my mumble server from my phone. Teleconferencing with entire groups of my friends any time for free. Holy crap!

Sorry, but for me there is a lot more to my Android than turn-by-turn instructions and Pandora.

By Obujuwami on 6/25/2010 4:13:08 PM , Rating: 5

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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