Google Remotely Removes Apps From Android Phones For Security Reasons

Isn't it funny that when Apple removes apps from the App Store, a major ruckus rears its head—but when Google removes apps from people's phones, just a few quiet grumblings are heard.

This could be because when Apple removes apps, it's apps they don't agree with—apps with a spot of controversy or nudity, even if it is in a graphic novel for the classic tome Ulysses. While Apple agreed to allow the publisher to make changes to the small nudity contained in the app, many haven't been so lucky.

Now, Google's Android Security Lead, Rich Cannings, has taken to the Android Developers blog to explain why they had to remove several apps from your phones.

"In cases where users may have installed a malicious application that poses a threat, we've also developed technologies and processes to remotely remove an installed application from devices. If an application is removed in this way, users will receive a notification on their phone."

This has come into effect after Google noticed two free apps "intentionally misrepresented their purpose in order to encourage user downloads, but they were not designed to be used maliciously, and did not have permission to access private data - or system resources beyond permission."

Apparently the publisher (a security researcher) removed the apps from the Market him/herself, but Google was forced to use its "remote application removal feature" to zap apps from any phones still holding them. It's likely Google will have to use it again, but they're obviously going to act quickly if they believe their customers' security is in doubt. [Android Developers Blog via Engadget]