SwiftKey Keyboard + Emoji - Android Apps on Google Play 2015-05-07 14-56-34

According to a report this afternoon from Bloomberg, “people familiar with the matter” have said that Google is preparing to give Android users more control over what data gets shared with their apps. Users will, at some point in the near future, have “more detailed choices” over which pieces of their information that apps have access to:

Google’s Android operating system is set to give users more detailed choices over what apps can access, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter remains private. That could include photos, contacts or location. An announcement of the change, which would put Android closer in line with Apple Inc.’s iOS, is expected for Google’s developer’s conference in San Francisco this month, one of the people said.

More than likely, this is a feature that Google will be announcing alongside Android “M” at this year’s Google I/O conference which is set to kick off at the end of the month.

Apps—as you can see above—currently display a list of what information they will be accessing upon download (including SMS messages, identity, and more), but this new feature will purportedly require that the apps allow users to pick and choose which data of theirs will be handed over.

This report is just another of several Google Play-related announcements that Google will surely be making at I/O. Earlier this week, The Information reported that developers will be given the ability to test A/B app listings in the near future as well. We’ll be on the floor at Google I/O to keep you updated on all the latest developments later this month.

Our thoughts: It’s going to be interesting to see how this is implemented. I’m assuming all apps will be required to give users the option to decline access to any given piece of information. What about apps that depend on certain pieces of personal information to function? In theory I would hope that if a piece of your information isn’t absolutely necessary to be used for the app to function, then a developer wouldn’t ask for it in the first place. But I know that definitely isn’t the case—at least currently.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.