The enemy of the last few days is “Google”. In fact, the latest update of the Play Services has added, as we know, the predisposition to the “Exposure Notification” system, that is, it has laid the foundations for the installation of what will be applications based on the Apple / Google system.
An update that sparked controversy: “Needless to download Immuni, they have already installed the app without wanting it on the phone“. On social media, a fertile ground for fake news, Google has made a misuse in the eyes of many: installing unwanted software on people’s phones. Without permission.
But is it really so?
It must be said that an update was necessary: the applications that governments are making use new libraries that were not present in the two operating systems iOS and Android. Without this update, applications cannot work. If Apple updated iOS to version 13.5, Google could not release a new version of Android: all the manufacturers would have had to release the updates for the individual Android devices, and few would have done so, especially for old devices that have not been maintained for years .
Google thus chose to release an update of what are called Google Play Services, a series of functions (services) which instead of being inserted in the operating system are loaded as an application, an external module. The Play Services were created to facilitate the updating of all those functions related to the Google apps of an Android smartphone, without necessarily having to install a new update distributed by the manufacturers. Update Google, for everyone. Recall that, despite Android being open source, on European phones except for some Huawei models, Google apps and services are also installed: the Play Services manage the latter, and are a fundamental component for an Android smartphone with a Google app on board.
Manages authentication with Google services, synchronization of contacts with the Google and Gmail account, aspects such as privacy and security. But they are not essential: you can in fact stop and block their execution, but you would lose access to other Google services. You could no longer use navigation in Google Maps, you could no longer use Chrome with the authenticated profile, the Play Store for applications and much more would no longer work. Alternative applications should be used.
Google updates this component to bring improvements or introduce new features, and this is done automatically only if a person has chosen, during the installation of the device, the automatic update. Users who now find an updated Google Play Services and were amazed at the presence of the system for tracking apps are people who have granted permission to Google to do so. And Google also leaves the possibility to disable this function: just go to Google Play, settings and disable the automatic application update.
In doing so, each time a person will have to update the individual apps by hand, and will be able to check what news there are and what are the reasons that prompted the supplier of the application to create an updated version. And this is perhaps what skeptics and paranoids should do: avoid any form of automatic installation.
If a person had chosen not to automatically update the applications, and could have done so, they would have seen that Google, in the description of the Play Services update, specified that that single update added “Concact Notification API Support”.
Google has secretly done nothing.