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New Android app privacy controls could impact mobile marketers

May 8, 2015 12:19 PM

(Bloomberg)—Google Inc. is planning to give its mobile users more control over what information applications can access, people familiar with the matter said.

Google’s Android operating system is set to give users more detailed choices over what apps can access, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter remains private. That could include photos, contacts or location. An announcement of the change, which would put Android closer in line with Apple Inc.’s iOS, is expected for Google’s developer’s conference in San Francisco this month, one of the people said.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company last year simplified how people are informed about what an app is accessing. Users decide whether the app can be downloaded. The new settings would give users the option to pick and choose what an app can access.

Google is adding features to its mobile services as it seeks to attract users who increasingly are going online via their wireless gadgets. Android had 81% of the global smartphone market in 2014 while Apple’s iOS had 15%, according Gartner Inc.

Pressure is growing on Android in some parts of the world. In Europe’s five largest countries, its share fell to 69% in the first quarter from 72% a year earlier, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The share for iOS rose to 20.3% from 18.6%, Kantar reported.

Gina Scigliano, a spokeswoman for Google, declined to comment.

The privacy controls could impact mobile marketers, including retailers, who use consumer data and access to features on smartphones to provide targeted offers, advertisements and other app functionality. For example, a bar code scanner in an app must be able to access a consumer’s smartphone camera and push notifications, and beacons use a shopper’s location to send offers to her when she is near a store.

For example, both the Groupon and Macy’s Android apps ask for access to a consumer’s location, photos/media/files, camera, device ID and call information. Currently consumers can’t pick and choose what an app can access and must approve of all or choose not the download the app. 

 

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