None of Google's apps have been updated since before Apple's privacy rules took effect

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,980   +796
Staff member
TL;DR: If you were to believe the mass hysteria stirred up by Facebook, Google, and others, Apple's privacy-triggered adpocalypse should be in full swing. Last month, the Cupertino tech firm went live with its new privacy "nutrition labels" in the App Store. However, Google is postponing the advertising catastrophe by not updating its apps.

Fast Company points out that the last time Google updated any of its iOS apps was December 7. That date is only one day before Apple's privacy labels went into effect. Starting on December 8, developers had to begin filling out data collection practices for any new apps or updates submitted to the App Store. This information is then used to create labels to inform users of an app's tracking policies before downloading an app.

Google has several applications on the iOS App Store, including Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, YouTube, YouTube Music, Google Authenticator, Google Duo, and its keyboard app Gboard. By updating them before the December 8 deadline, Google has effectively skirted Apple's new privacy policy, at least until the apps' health begins to suffer.

How long the search giant will neglect its iOS apps remains unclear. It has only been four weeks since Google's last update, and apps generally have different updating schedules. However, a quick look at version histories shows that Google has consistently updated its iOS apps multiple times per month (below). So going for four weeks without an update to any of them is highly unusual.

Google has not responded to requests for comment regarding the situation.

While it has not said much directly, Google's stance on Apple's new rules was indirectly made very clear last summer, when several marketing agencies spoke out against Apple's then-upcoming privacy policies. They particularly disliked the not yet fully implemented iOS 14 feature that will allow users to opt-out of tracking on a per-app basis. Both Google and Facebook financed these groups, so while it did not speak directly, Google put its money where its mouth was, as the saying goes.

Facebook has been more in-your-face with Apple when criticizing the rules. It began ringing the alarmist bells last August, warning those who used its Audience Network that it might not even be worth offering the advertising platform on iOS 14 once Apple turned on the new privacy features. Apple said it would delay implementation of the privacy policies until 2021 but then backtracked a month later. Facebook then went on an ad campaign against the tech giant, taking out two full-page ads claiming Apple's policies would destroy small businesses.

However, for all of Google's indirect and Facebook's direct bemoaning, the only sympathy seems to have come from ad agencies and a handful of app developers. Consumers have been mostly unmoved by the criticisms. On the contrary, iPhone users have widely applauded the idea of having more control over their personal data.

Image credit: ymgerman

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Axiarus

Posts: 614   +420
Yes, but this is software... I have an iPhone - but I need google drive, classroom, docs, etc in order to teach (my board of education uses them, so I have no choice).
Oh yeah, it sucks for most, but I completely jumped from Google. Only Google app I use is Youtube. If that stops working I will just use the browser.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 315   +492
Google is horrible (Photos bait and switch, Youtube gearing towards content farms, data mining, anti-union) but Apple (slave like labor in asia, anti-repair, planned and forced obsolescence of products) still takes the throne of awfulness.

But hey, don't worry Google! You are on your way to surpass Apple if the current trajectory continues.
 

Jeff Schmidt

Posts: 113   +91
Google is horrible (Photos bait and switch, Youtube gearing towards content farms, data mining, anti-union) but Apple (slave like labor in asia, anti-repair, planned and forced obsolescence of products) still takes the throne of awfulness.

But hey, don't worry Google! You are on your way to surpass Apple if the current trajectory continues.

You can say Apple has forced obsolescence but they really don't. If your talking about phones and tablets they update for 4-5 years. Android, even if you buy a flagship you get maybe 2 years of updates. And those some times don't get released until the next version of the os is out.

If your talking about the connector ports, yes it sucks to have lightning but guess what it was reversible long before usb-c was a thing. And don't get me started about the many different versions of usb-c. That is a complete joke.
 

negroplasty

Posts: 538   +32
Yeah, if only there were some event that occurs in December that could account for less people working. Certainly couldn't be due to the holidays. The teams of people who make your apps never get a day off.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,087   +2,080
Keep it up Apple! Legit, this policy and a fingerprint reader on your phone's would actually win me back to the iPhone crowd.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,506   +1,091
Ad companies getting upset that Apple is forcing them to make users aware that they are harvesting their data.

Yeah, I’m not with the ad companies on this one. It’s not like Facebook or Google are short of cash. This move won’t kill them, it will just hurt their profit lines whilst simultaneously raising awareness to the general public about what data these companies are harvesting.