Google will be starting one-time permissions for location data in the soon to come the release of Android 11, along with that the search giant is also considering pushing out a new Google Play policy where developers will have to seek approval if they wish to access the location data of a device in the background.
Users devices that have not received the update will also be able to benefit from the policy change as it focuses on older versions of the mobile operating systems and will be enforced in the Play Store.
Krish Vitaldevara, the director of product management and trust & safety at Google Play, explained the reasoning behind the change in policy, in a post of the Android Developers Blog:
“As we took a closer look at background location usage, we found that many of the apps that requested background location didn’t actually need it. In fact, many of these apps could provide the same user experience by only accessing location when the app is visible to the user. We want to make it easier for users to choose when to share their location and they shouldn’t be asked for a permission that the app doesn’t need.”
It will be required for developers to seek approval from Google, going forward, if they wish for their apps to be able to access a user’s location data in the background.
The company’s app store will look into whether or not an app will be given authorization to access location data of a user by detecting if the feature gives clear value to the user if the user understands that the app can have access to their location in the background if the feature is critical to the main purpose of the app and if it is possible for the app to receive the same information without having to get that location data in the background from the user.
Vitaldevara said in his blog that the apps that send out emergency or safety alerts and social networking apps usually have a substantial case to gain access to the location in the background but at the same time, as an app with a store locator feature would only access location when the app is actively in use.
The new policy by Google Play will kickoff in April but execution of new apps will not be put in play until August and current apps will have a deadline of November to consent to it.