Public outcry causes Google to rethink banning powerful “accessibility” apps


A month ago, Google started warning developers about a coming crackdown on apps that use the Android accessibility APIs for things other than accessibility. For years, the accessibility APIs have been a way for power-user apps to hook into the operating system, but Google apparently had a change of heart last month, telling developers they had 30 days to explain how an app using the Accessibility APIs was helping a user with disabilities or face removal from the Play Store.

After a public outcry, Google sent out another email to developers, saying it is now “pausing” this decision for another 30 days while it considers “responsible and innovative uses of accessibility services.” Google hasn’t made a decision one way or the other yet, but for now it is asking that developers who use the Accessibility APIs for non-accessibility purposes add “an accompanying disclosure to describe the app functionality that the Accessibility Service permission is enabling for your app.”

Google is also asking that developers send the company feedback, ending the email with: “If you believe your app uses the Accessibility API for a responsible, innovative purpose that isn’t related to accessibility, please respond to this email and tell us more about how your app benefits users. This kind of feedback may be helpful to us as we complete our evaluation of accessibility services.”

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Source:: Arstechnica – Gadgets