Google is reportedly collecting data from rival apps to improve its own products
Google has been collecting and studying usage data from competing apps to help develop its own apps better.
Google’s advantage over third-party Android developers might be extending above and beyond just building apps for an OS it owns, According to reports, Google has been collecting and studying usage data from competing apps to help develop its own apps better.
Reports by The Information (via MSPowerUser) claims that anonymised, user-consented data collected from third-party apps is stored in the Android Lockbox service. Google says that this service primarily works to power features like background app management etc. Google also noted that all this data is freely available to app developers but their visibility is limited to their own products.
This is important because it helps Google make critical business decisions based on data only it can view and developers of a particular app can view. The Information report claims that Google used data it collected from TikTok to understand when and how it could launch a rival app for the Indian market.
The report says that Google has also analysed usage data gathered from email apps that compete with Gmail, as well as from Instagram and Facebook.
Google can collect information about apps across categories theoretically. Like to better Gborad, it could collect information from third-party keyboard apps or Google Keep could benefit from learning note-taking app data, YouTube Music could be improved by looking at data from other music streaming services. And Google could use all of this to improve its own products and discover other business opportunities.
As the developer of Android, Google is entitled to monitor how apps behave on its platform so it’s not really wrong. However, the company using this data to improve its own services could be seen as anti-competitive behaviour.
Google has run into this problem many times before in India, Russia, EU and Us too might soon join the list. The company has also accumulated billions of dollars in fines from antitrust decisions. We’ll have to wait and find out if the latest reports mean more legal trouble for Google or not.