Support Marketplace

The difference between Apple's app store and Google Play: User data

To buy software, Apple users turn to the Apple app store, and Android users sign into Google Play.

But there are some new privacy questions for Android users. A software developer in Australia, the maker of an app which generates phrases poking fun at former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, raised the red flag. The developer discovered that when you buy something from Google Play, the app makers collect quite a bit of information about you.

"There are some valid concerns for people about how far and wide their information is being shared," says Chester Wisniewski at the computer security firm Sophos.

According to Wisniewski, users may think of digital storefronts or online payment tools as a way to limit personal data exposure. Buyers share their information centrally with an organization they trust, such as Google, Amazon or PayPal, rather than random software or app vendors. But it appears not all digital storefronts operate in the same way.

"Apple is literally an Apple storefront...It's almost like they've got a warehouse full of apps and you buy the thing directly from Apple as if you walked into an Apple store," says Wisniewski. "In the case of Google, what they are doing is they are more the payment broker -- I think that is the philosophical difference."

About the author

Chester Wisniewski is a computer security expert with the computer security firm Sophos.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...