Google Removes Dodgy Apps Using Killswitch

07 March, 2011 09:10PM · 2 minute read

Apple was called out after the then iPhone OS (now called iOS) v2.0 came out with the promise of Apps for everyone, when Jonathan Zdziarski uncovered the feature during the course of development.

Google came right out and said it from the offset (doubtless as a result of the Apple fiasco): Quote from the Android Market terms of service - “2.4: …Google may discover a Product on the Market that violates the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement or other legal agreements, laws, regulations or policies. You agree that in such an instance Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your Device at its sole discretion…”

It wasn’t until today that Google made good on its policy and showed that it was prepared to use it when several popular apps were shown to have malicious code in them. It certainly seems like a justifiable move on Googles part, however of more interest to me is how they got there in the first place.

Apple have been widely criticised by developers for being too strict, too vague and too inconsistent in their App Store screening process. Whilst some of those criticisms are fair, it seems that there are currently no documented cases where iPhone Apps were removed by Apple from Users devices. Apps are rejected on a daily basis and one has to think one or more malicious developers have tried their luck by submitting malicious Apps to Apples App Store with seemingly no success.

Were this to occur with Apples App Store, even if one or two Apps made it through the screening and approval process, the vast majority would be caught. Google needs to have some sort of close scrutiny on Android Market Apps or this incident, which affected some 50 Applications and was downloaded by over 50,000 people, may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Android is going from strength to strength with the recent Honeycomb release for Tablet PCs, but incidents like this have the potential to sour the public and shake confidence in their Market which can not do the platform any favours in the long run.