Every year, Google recaps how it “fought bad apps and developers.” The 2021 edition comes a day after the company’s latest initiative, the Play Store’s Data safety section, has started to roll out.

In 2021, 1.2 million policy-violating apps were prevented from being published on the Play Store, while Google banned 190k bad accounts and “closed around 500k developer accounts that are inactive or abandoned.”

Limiting access to user data has been another tentpole, with the company touting that “98% of apps migrating to Android 11 or higher have reduced their access to sensitive APIs and user data.” Of course, this push is not without controversy in regards to Google limiting what applications are able to do. 

We’ve also significantly reduced the unnecessary, dangerous, or disallowed use of Accessibility APIs in apps migrating to Android 12, while preserving the functionality of legitimate use cases.

Other highlights include working with SDK developers, letting end users delete Advertising IDs (AAIDs), and the Data safety section that launched yesterday, which will hit full stride in July. 

Meanwhile, Google reiterated that Pixel devices are using “machine learning models that improve the detection of malware in Google Play Protect” and work in an on-device manner. The other first-party highlight is Android 12’s Security hub.

The detection runs on your Pixel, and uses a privacy preserving technology called federated analytics to discover bad apps.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com