Recently, Google updated their keyboard app to version 3.0 and an “improvement” that Google says was meant to make typing easier has a lot of users up in arms. That improvement is called “personalisation.” Though most improvements are minor tweaks, personalisation has a much higher profile than originally intended.
Then again, the perception of Google’s intent is the reason many users are angry with the app. As soon as you download Google keyboard 3.0, you get a message: “Personalisation is on. Touch for info.” Of course, your next move is to touch and see more information. Google then tells you that the app is collecting your information to use for giving you better suggestions and corrections.
According to the app, the data is stored on your mobile device. You are then told that you can turn personalisation off going to your keyboard settings and unchecking the box “personalised suggestions.”
So, why are people so up in arms about this app? Because the app collects your information as a default setting and forces you to turn it off if you want it to stop. Those who are cynical toward Google and their ability to mine data to help build its monolith see the default setting as just another way for Google to collect even more information than they already have.
There are other apps, such as Swiftkey, that do the same thing but don’t default in the information collection mode. We don’t have figures yet, but we can see a lot more people turning to third party keyboard apps if Google isn’t able to convince the public that they won’t do anything with the information they collect.
What This Means for You
If you are an Android app developer, you should pay close attention to this situation. When I read about the reaction to Google Keyboard 3.0, I immediately thought that there is a nice niche serving people who want Android products but don’t trust Google with their information.
Can you develop an Android app that does what Google Keyboard does, but without mining information? Can you develop an Android app that protects private information?
If you have an idea for a great app, call Smarter Apps today: 1300 650 253. Let’s get started.