Back in May, Google announced that all developers in the Play Store will have to fill out a new “safety section” that’s set to appear in app listings next year. Aimed at letting users see what data an application collects and shares, Google provided more details about this new policy today.

This new safety section will provide developers a simple way to showcase their app’s overall safety. Developers will be able to give users deeper insight into their privacy and security practices, as well as explain the data the app may collect and why — all before users install the app.

The “Data privacy & security” section on an app listing starts with a high-level explanation from Google and the developer-provided information follows. This summary card will provide a count and list what types of data (location, financial info, user activity, etc.) is collected/shared, and whether it’s encrypted in transit or can be deleted. The label will also show if an app abides by the Families policy and whether it has undergone an “independent security review.” 

By tapping through, you can dig deeper into what the data is being used for (app functionality, personalization, analytics, fraud prevention, etc.), and whether collection is optional or required to use the application. How these privacy and security highlights are presented might visually change before the section begins appearing at the start of next year.

The final design is subject to change as we continue working with developers and designing for the best blend of developer and user experiences.

Google today also released its new user data policies. This includes a requirement that all developers need to provide a privacy policy, not just those with apps that collect personal/sensitive user data, which is the case currently. That requirement will go into effect in April 2022. Additionally:

Developers are responsible for providing accurate and complete information in their safety section, including data used by the app’s third party libraries or SDKs.

The next milestone in the current “target” timeline is October when devs can start submitting the required information to the Play Console for review. After the safety section starts appearing in the Play Store in Q1 of 2022, developers will have to declare the information by April or face app/update rejection. Google’s first-party applications will also be subject to compliance.

If your app’s information is not approved by the time we launch the safety section in Google Play, then it will display “No information available.”

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: