tech

Mitron, Remove China Apps vs Google: A timeline of what really happened

We take a look at what all happened between Google Play, Mitron app and Remove China App in the past few days. 

Mitron App listing on Google Play Store.
Mitron App listing on Google Play Store. (Hindustan Times)

You may have heard about Google Play, Mitron and the ‘Remove China Apps’ app lately on the web. That’s because Mitron and Remove China Apps violated Google Play guidelines and have now been removed from the platform.

Mitron became popular a couple of weeks ago as many thought it to be an Indian rival to TikTok. However, the app was found to be made by a developer from Pakistan and later purchased by an IIT-ian. On the other hand, ‘Remove China Apps’, which was actually made by an Indian developer, got traction thanks to the anti-China sentiments among Indians. The app helped users uninstall third-party Chinese apps easily. 

Update: Mitron is back on the Google Play store

But why were they suspended from the Google Play Store? What went wrong? Here’s a timeline for you.

-Mitron was the first among the two apps to be removed from Google Play since it violated the guidelines. It was reported that the app didn’t have any originality and was similar to popular short video making app TikTok. “We don't allow apps that merely provide the same experience as other apps already on Google Play. Apps should provide value to users through the creation of unique content or services,” stated the policy.

Also read: Maharashtra Cyber cell issues advisory on Mitron app, asks users to uninstall it

-This claim by Google was in sync with the statement made by Irfan Sheikh, the founder and CEO of Qboxus a while back. It was reported that the TicTic app, made by Qboxus, didn’t really go through any change after it was reportedly purchased by the IIT student. The app went as it is to Google Play Store with the name Mitron.

-The very next day, Google Play suspended ‘Remove China App’ as well, which also violated its guidelines. Created by Jaipur-based OneTouchAppLabs, Remove China Apps had garnered quick popularity. The developers also tweeted about being pulled off from the Play Store on the same day.

-Google however, did not officially give a statement to explain on what grounds it had removed the Mitron app and ‘Remove China Apps’.

-Yesterday (June 4, 2020) the search giant finally gave a statement on why these two apps were removed. For Mitron app, Sameer Samat, Vice President, Android and Google Play, said in a statement that the team is working with app developers to fix the issues, indirectly suggesting that Mitron might just make a comeback once fixed. “Earlier this week, we removed a video app for a number of technical policy violations. We have an established process of working with developers to help them fix issues and resubmit their apps. We’ve given this developer some guidance and once they’ve addressed the issue the app can go back up on Play,” said Samat.

Also read: TikTok rival, Mitron app has a vulnerability that lets hackers message others, follow them or comment on user’s behalf

-However, for ‘Remove China Apps’ it doesn’t look like we will see the app anytime soon. The app was suspended as it “encourages or incentivizes users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features unless it is part of a verifiable security service”.

Samat added - “This is a longstanding rule designed to ensure a healthy, competitive environment where developers can succeed based upon design and innovation. When apps are allowed to specifically target other apps, it can lead to behavior that we believe is not in the best interest of our community of developers and consumers. We’ve enforced this policy against other apps in many countries consistently in the past - just as we did here.”

And by now you know, Mitron is back on the Play Store and both the App and its Privacy Policy has been updated. Also, the developers have created a proper promoter website for it now.