To put it simple Google is listening to developers complaining about there applications being too easily copied and spread (finding paid apps on the major piracy networks are quite common). This is a very good thing, it’s the developers that keeps driving Android forward and of course they should be paid for their efforts when they ask for it. The new service will certainly not be unbreakable (it never is) but as long as it’s easier to pay that’s what the majority of users will do.
The problem is that it won’t be easier. Google still hasn’t enabled paid apps for a majority of the world (done country by country). For me in Sweden that means that there isn’t any easy way to pay for my apps (possible yes, easy no and the question is if the “workarounds” are much more legit than downloading the apps). Today I don’t use any paid apps since I can’t get hold of them and paying the developer at the same time.
This is simple marketing:
Android will gain popularity with more quality apps on the market
More apps will be developed if the developers gets paid
More developers will get paid when more users has access to paid apps
repeat loop until happy
Conclusion, nice one Google but remember that the original problem that lead to the common use of downloaded paid apps is still there. A problem “you” created. As long as the disease remains it won’t help that you’re treating the symptoms. Give us paid apps, not in a year, ASAP. Not until then will the problem be truly solved.
On 23 June something happened. Google decided that 2 Android apps should be removed. If it would’ve been only a
removal from the Android Market it wouldn’t be news or weird but they didn’t stop there (actually the author had removed them from the market already). Google used what they call “Remote Application Removal Feature”, in short that means that everyone who had one of the apps installed got a notifications saying something like “This app has security issues and has been uninstalled”. Not ok Google. My phone is mine and you should not force me to remove things from it.
I understand the will to do it though. When installing an app from the Android Market it states what it has access to (in big red letters with exclamation marks) and you have to approve it before installing. Good so but knowing that most users will likely approve almost anything there is a need for additional security. As I see it there are three alternatives:
The Apple way. Let all apps go through a review process. I don’t like this, it takes time, requires resources and opens the possibility for censorship (you’ll find no iTunes competition in AppStore, no nudity and some other things Jobs decided shouldn’t be allowed). Apple also have a feature to remotely uninstall apps but to my knowledge they haven’t used it yet.
The Google way. As stated above, all apps are directly published and will only be reviewed if users complain. Then it can be removed from the Market and obviously from devices that installed it.
My way (Google are you listening carefully now?). All apps are directly published and only reviewed if users complain. It can then be removed from the market. If Google finds it necessary to take direct actions because the app is malicious in any way this is what happen: Instead of removing the app it will be stopped from running until the users act on a notification explaining in simple terms what the problem is. The user can then choose to lift the quarantine and keep on running the app or remove it. Simple “I understand the risks” or “Save me” buttons. The only thing that remains unsolved is if the app in question adds risks for other users. That is a hypothetical question since Android today doesn’t really have a way to harm each other if I understand correctly (I’m still not a developer so my insights in the deeper parts of Android is somewhat limited).
Problem solved. Google, Don’t be Evil right?
Read the Android Developers blog post mentioning the removal: