Google moves to take control of apps shared outside the Play Store

Joanna Estrada
October 23, 2018

Google says this should benefit both users and developers - the former because they'll have access to more secure software without needing to download it first, and the latter because without doing anything, they can now reach a larger userbase.

Adjust, AppsFlyer, MoEngage, Localytics, and CleverTap are among the companies that offer uninstall trackers, usually as part of a broader set of developer tools.

App makers have figured out how to determine who's uninstalled their software and potentially target them with ads urging them to reinstall, Bloomberg reports.

According to a new report by Bloomberg Businessweek, app targeting companies seem to have found ways to assist developers in tracking users who have recently uninstalled their apps. Big companies like T-Mobile and Spotify use these services to figure out when people uninstall their apps, but they're not alone.

At its best, uninstall tracking can be used to fix bugs or otherwise refine apps without having to bother users with surveys or more intrusive tools. Yes, the same functionality that brings you new Tweets and emails could also help developers stalk you. Of course, to do that, the app needs to use some of your mobile data, but it appears something can trigger within it and cause an excessive amount of data being used. However, the phone is silent if the app is no longer installed. Uninstall tracking notes this as a newly lost user, giving the developer a chance to pitch woo at you. This is where things get stalker-ish. Currently, the only useful advice given to users that want to prevent the unusual behavior is to disable background data use for Google News.

However, in this case, the silent push notification is specifically sent to test whether the app is installed or not. For the time being, you should opt out of ad personalization features in your Google or Apple iAds account if this bothers you.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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