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Google cracks down on apps that track location in background

Google is placing new restrictions on which Android apps can track your location in the background, with a new review process that will check whether an app definitely needs access to the data.

The changes were announced in a blog post to Android developers earlier this week.

Google says that from August 3rd all new Google Play apps that ask for background access will need to pass review, expanding to all existing apps on November 3rd.

Although location tracking is an essential feature for many apps and services, it can be pretty invasive when apps indiscriminately ask for location access.

Background tracking is even worse because it means that you might be completely unaware of which apps on your phone are tracking you at any moment in time.

Google says that this review process will look at whether an app’s core functionality actually justifies this background location access. A social networking app that lets users opt in to continue sharing their location with friends would be okay, Google says. However, it would be harder to justify this for a store locator app, since this would work just as well if it only got location access while the app is in use.

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