Someone can’t seem to make up their minds…. After first removing the privacy app Disconnect from the Play Store a few weeks ago, El Goog reversed course and reinstated the app a short time later. Well, it seems some indecisiveness has returned, because mere hours after Disconnect was returned to the Play Store it’s once again been officially sacked. Are you following along so far?
GigaOm has learned that it took only 20 hours from the time that Disconnect was reinstated until it was subsequently removed again. The app had garnered pretty significant attention in the short time it was available, with over 20,000 downloads during it’s brief window of reinstatement. As a refresher, in case “several days ago” is a bit hazy, Disconnect is an iOS and (formerly) Android app that stops installed apps from collecting data from the user’s device. This seems like a good idea considering some of the data leaks, breaches, and other unsavory data-related events in recent memory. It also stands to reason that a company who’s fortune was built on tailoring advertising to their users wouldn’t be particularly happy about an app that stops other apps from collecting user data.
GigaOm also received the following statement from Google:
Google provided the following statement: “While we don’t comment on specific apps, we can confirm that our policies are designed to provide a great experience for users and developers. That’s why we remove apps from Google Play that violate those policies.”
The company added that the decision to remove the app on Tuesday occurred for the same reason as in August. That earlier ban came as a result of Disconnect Mobile allegedly violating a Google Play term of service regarding “interference with other services.”
Pretty standard stuff, and I’m not surprised that they wouldn’t go into any specifics, that would set a precedent that I’m sure they wouldn’t want to have to live up to. This does start to set a different, and probably more troubling precedent on it’s own: with Disconnect removed, and threats of removing the Android Forums app from the Play Store, Google is starting to imitate another well-known “walled-garden” app ecosystem that they’ve been praised for not following. It is worth noting that Disconnect is still available on iTunes.
Did you install Disconnect during it’s brief tenure on the Play Store? Are you generally annoyed that Google is starting to let it’s “Apple” show just a bit? Let us know in the comments, or on your favorite social network.