Google manually approves Play Store apps

Jan

18

2019

with access to SMS and call history\
Google has started manually approving and disapproving Play Store apps that want to access text messages and call history. In principle, only call and SMS apps are allowed to have these permissions.

Google restricts the use of these permissions because it entails the risk of contacts being leaked and costs incurred on the user’s phone bill. Google announced the policy in October and app-makers had until now the time to conform. According to Ars Technica , Google has now started banning apps that do not follow the rules.

On a help page , Google sets out alternatives for scenarios in which apps may or may not have to temporarily reach the call or SMS functions. For example, there is an SMS retriever api for account verification, which also automatically copies and pastes a code, and for sharing, texting or calling, there are three different intents that an app can send to the OS. This way, the goals of the app are still achieved without an app having carte blanche to browse messages and conversations.

Exceptions to call and SMS apps include apps for backup and recovery, caller ID, spam detection, task automation, companion apps for wearables or cars, and more. Google calls these exceptions ‘temporary’. APIs may also be made for these scenarios in the future. If developers still want to use the permission, they have to fill out a form in which they explain why their application needs the permission.

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