The Google Kill Switch works!

Google has taken steps this morning to flex its muscle in their app market. We all know that the manufacturers of our beloved smart phone operating systems have “back doors” or the ability to remove applications, not only from their market place but from your phone as well.

When developing an application for a smart phone market, you are limited within certain guidelines and restrictions set out by the operating systems manufacturer. We have all read and or seen the amazing details that are put on Apple developers, in regard to getting their app approved for Apple app store. Now if for some reason an app that is not approvable for the market makes it to the market, well no worries as there is an app for that as well. Today we see Google flex that muscle and have pulled two free applications from their market. These applications were built by a security research company and the apps were supposedly for researching purposes (sounds fishy).  But that per say is not necessarily the news here. After removing the application from their market, Google took precautionary measures to remove the application from any Android devices that still have the application installed. However stating that the applications were pretty useless and most users uninstalled the application shortly after downloading it.

Google’s official statement included “we decided, per the Android Market Terms of Service, to exercise our remote application removal feature on the remaining installed copies to complete the cleanup”. Google has stated that the two applications in question here did not have access to private data beyond the point of permission.INTERNET, which is a set of permissions restrictions per the developer’s agreement. While Google is claiming that the apps did not have malicious intent, they did indeed breach contract.

Well done Google and the Android community thanks you.  

While Google is hoping they do not have to use this feature again, they most likely will. But whatever be the case, they will indeed inform you. If an application is removed from your device in the future, or with this issue you will get a notification from Google stating the application was remotely removed.  

If you are an Android user, send a thank you to the security team over at Google as they are looking out for you, and I’m sure they can use the encouragement.

Tell me what you think; did this useless app get removed from your device?

How do you feel about Google, Apple and even Microsoft having this ability?

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