Apple officially rolled out its new App Privacy labels on the App Store last month, requiring developers to provide detailed privacy information about what data is collected from users. Interestingly, Fast Company has spotted that Google has not updated any of its iOS applications since the new App Privacy details became mandatory.

Update: Google says it will add these privacy labels as soon as this week.

Google privacy details

As background, Apple began requiring developers to submit their new privacy information to the App Store in order to update their apps on December 8. The App Privacy labels themselves became visible to users on December 14, coinciding with the release of iOS 14.3.

What this means is that in order to release an update to their applications, developers also have to provide this privacy information. The only way to get around providing the privacy details is to not update an application, and that appears to be exactly the strategy Google has taken.

The report from Fast Company notes that the last time Google updated any of its iOS applications was December 7, one day before Apple mandated that developers provide privacy details for their applications. This means that when you visit a Google application in the App Store, you simply see a message that says “No Details Provided.”

At the same time, Google has rolled out updates to its apps on Android since December 7, including multiple updates to the same apps in some instances.

By getting in all its existing apps’ updates on or before December 7, Google has managed to avoid filling out a privacy label for any of their apps so far. You can verify this yourself by launching the App Store app on your iPhone, selecting any Google-owned app in the store, and then checking its privacy label on the app’s listing. As of the time of this writing, you’ll see every Google app’s privacy label still reads, “No Details Provided. The developer will be required to provide privacy details when they submit their next app update.”

What’s important to remember, however, is that Google will have to update its iOS applications at some point. One would hope that this current lapse in updates is due to Google adjusting its privacy practices to avoid the bad publicity of having its App Privacy labels raise questions among users. Whether that’s actually what’s happening here remains to be seen.

A variety of companies have faced criticism for their App Privacy labels so far. For instance, the new privacy labels have raised awareness among the different messaging applications, while Facebook’s App Privacy label is humorously long.

As for what data Google will be required to provide, Apple has emphasized that there are several different pieces of important information that developers should remember while preparing the App Privacy “nutrition labels” for their applications:

  • Developers should identify all possible data collections and uses, even if certain data will be collected and used only in limited situations.
  • Developers’ answers should follow the App Store Review Guidelines and any applicable laws.
  • Developers are responsible for keeping your responses accurate and up-to-date. If your practices change, update your responses in App Store Connect.

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