Apple blocks Google’s internal apps on iOS devices

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California


Stephen Shankland/Techhnews

Apple is preventing Google from running its internal apps for employees on iPhones and iPads — a move similar to one it took against Facebook earlier this week.

The news comes a day after it was reported that Google’s Screenwise Meter app, launched in 2012, invited users 18 and older to earn gift cards in exchange for letting Google monitor and analyze their data.

The company sidestepped the App Store and took advantage of Apple’s developer enterprise program, which is designed to let companies internally distribute apps, according to Techhnews. In response to the report, Google said it’s shutting down the app on iOS devices.

But that move did little to placate Apple, which presumably revoked Google’s certificate for violating its terms. That means that apps Google was distributing to employees internally, including beta versions of products, stopped working. Those include early versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, as well as apps for Google’s buses and cafe, according to The Verge, which reported the news earlier Thursday.

“We’re working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.  

Apple didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Apple’s block on Google’s internal apps is similar to the penalty it gave Facebook after it was reported earlier this week that the social network was using Apple’s enterprise developer program to distribute a market research app to consumers. Facebook was paying users between the ages of 13 and 35 $20 a month in exchange for their phone and web activity.

The data-gathering apps by Google and Facebook are the latest cause for scrutiny of tech company’s privacy practices. Last year, Facebook was hammered for failing to keep the personal information of its more than 2 billion users safe after news emerged that Cambridge Analytica, a UK consultancy, had acquired data without users’ knowledge. Similarly, Google has been criticized for how it collects location data on Android phones. 

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