In May this year, Google announced that it would add a new safety section in the Play Store to provide users with greater transparency about how apps use their data. At the time, the company had revealed that it would detail a new policy for the feature in Q3 2021, which would highlight what info developers should disclose in the new safety section. Today, Google has finally shared more info about the same.
In a press release, Google highlights that the new safety section will appear as a summary on an app’s store listing page. This section will include an explanation of what data the app collects or shares and highlight safety details like:
- The app’s security practices, like data encryption
- Whether the app follows Google’s Families policy or not
- If the app has been independently validated against a global security standard
Furthermore, users will be able to tap on the summer to see additional details like:
- What type of data is collected and shared, such as location, contacts, personal information (e.g., name, email address), financial information, and more
- How the data is used, such as for app functionality, personalization, and more
- Whether data collection is optional or required to use an app
Along with information about the user-facing changes, Google has also highlighted the policy changes to support the safety section. These policy changes require developers to provide certain information about their apps, which will help users make informed choices about how their data is collected, protected, and used. The policy changes require all developers:
- To provide accurate and complete information in their safety section, including data used by the app’s third-party libraries or SDKs.
Google has also specified a timeline for developers to prepare all the requirements for the safety section. The company notes that developers can submit information in the Google Play Console for review starting October this year. The company encourages developers to start early, as the new safety section will launch for apps in Google Play in Q1 2022.
All developers will be required to get the information approved by April 2022. Without approval, Google might reject new app submissions and updates. If an app’s information is not approved by the time the safety section rolls out in Q1 2022, it will display “No information available” on the Play Store.
To help developers prepare for the new safety section, Google has also outlined the following:
- Visit the Play Store Help Center for more details about providing app privacy details in Play Console, including data type lists and examples.
- Review how your app collects, protects, and shares data. In particular, check your app’s declared permissions and the APIs and libraries that your app uses. These may require you to indicate that your app collects and shares specific types of data.
- Join a policy webinar and send us your questions in advance. You can register for Global, India, Japan, or Korea sessions.
For additional information, including detailed timeline information, data declaration, and other disclosures, check out the official safety section Help Center article.