Tag Archives: privacy

Search Terms Report Improvements

With the updates listed below, we're improving the search term reports returned from both the Google Ads API and the AdWords API across all active versions.

Starting Sep 9, 2021, you'll be able to see more queries that meet our privacy standards in the search terms report for Search and Dynamic Search Ads campaigns. This new data will return for all searches on or after February 1st, 2021 when using the following reports and resources:

This update can help you identify more relevant keyword themes, making it easier to optimize your ads, landing pages, and more. Metric totals from search terms reports will now be consistent with other reports, such as campaign, ad group, and ad reports in Google Ads.

As part of our ongoing commitment to privacy, we’re working to make our privacy thresholds consistent across Google. Over the next few months, you’ll see more changes across our other tools–including how we handle historical data. In Google Ads, this means that historical query data in your account that was collected prior to September 1st, 2020 will be available until February 1st, 2022. At that point, any historical queries that no longer meet our current privacy thresholds will be removed from your search terms report.

If you have any questions about this change or any other API feature, please contact us via the forum.


Android 12 Beta 5 update, official release is next!

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android 12 logo

We’re just a few weeks away from the official release of Android 12! As we put the finishing touches on the new version of Android, today we’re bringing you a final Beta update to help you with testing and development. For developers, now is the time to make sure your apps are ready!

You can get Beta 5 today on your Pixel device, including on the Pixel 5a with 5G, by enrolling here for over-the-air updates. If you’re already enrolled, you’ll automatically get the update. You can also try Android 12 Beta 5 on select devices from several of our partners like Sharp. Visit the Android 12 developer site for details.

Watch for more information on the official Android 12 release coming soon!

What’s in Beta 5?

Today’s update includes a release candidate build of Android 12 for Pixel and other devices and the Android Emulator. We reached Platform Stability at Beta 4, so all app-facing surfaces are final, including SDK and NDK APIs, app-facing system behaviors, and restrictions on non-SDK interfaces. With these and the latest fixes and optimizations, Beta 5 gives you everything you need to complete your testing.

timeline

Get your apps ready!

With the official Android 12 release coming next, we’re asking all app and game developers to complete your final compatibility testing and publish your compatibility updates ahead of the final release. For SDK, library, tools, and game engine developers, it’s important to release your compatible updates as soon as possible -- your downstream app and game developers may be blocked until they receive your updates.

To test your app for compatibility, just install it on a device running Android 12 Beta 5 and work through the app flows looking for any functional or UI issues. Review the Android 12 behavior changes for all apps to focus on areas where your app could be affected. Here are some of the top changes to test:

  • Privacy dashboard — A new dashboard in Settings lets users see which apps are accessing which type of data and when. Users can adjust permissions if needed, and they can request details from your app on the reason for access. More here.
  • Microphone & camera indicators — Android 12 shows an indicator in the status bar when an app is using the camera or microphone. More here.
  • Microphone & camera toggles — New toggles in Quick Settings let users instantly disable microphone and camera access for all apps. More here.
  • Clipboard read notification — A toast alerts users when an app reads data from the clipboard unexpectedly. More here.
  • Stretch overscroll — A new “stretch” overscroll effect replaces the previous “glow” overscroll effect systemwide. More here.
  • App splash screens — Android 12 launches apps with a new splash screen animation. More here.
  • Keygen changes — Several deprecated BouncyCastle cryptographic algorithms are removed in favor of Conscrypt versions. If your app uses a 512-bit key with AES, you’ll need to use one of the standard sizes supported by Conscrypt.More here.

Remember to test the libraries and SDKs in your app for compatibility. If you find any SDK issues, try updating to the latest version of the SDK or reaching out to the developer for help.

Once you’ve published the compatible version of your current app, you can start the process to update your app's targetSdkVersion. Review the behavior changes for Android 12 apps and use the compatibility framework to help detect issues quickly.

Explore the new features and APIs

Android 12 has a ton of new features to help you build great experiences for users. Check out our Android 12 Beta 2 post for a recap and links to Android 12 talks at Google I/O. For complete details on all of the new features and APIs, visit the Android 12 developer site.

Also make sure to try Android Studio Arctic Fox with your Android 12 development and testing. We’ve added lint checks to help you catch where your code might be affected by Android 12 changes, such as for custom declarations of splash screens, coarse location permission for fine location usage, media formats, and high sensor sampling rate permission. You can give these a try by downloading and configuring the latest version of Android Studio.

Get started with Android 12!

Today’s Beta 5 release has everything you need to try the Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. Just enroll any supported Pixel device to get the update over-the-air. To get started developing, set up the Android 12 SDK.

You can also get Beta 5 on devices from several of our partners like Sharp. For even broader testing, you can try Beta 5 on Android GSI images, and if you don’t have a device, you can test on the Android Emulator. This update is also available for Android TV, so you can check out the latest TV features and test your apps on the all-new Google TV experience.

What’s next?

Stay tuned for the official Android 12 launch coming in the weeks ahead! Until then, feel free to continue sharing your feedback through our hotlists for platform issues, app compatibility issues, and third-party SDK issues.

A huge thank you to our developer community for helping shape the Android 12 release! You’ve given us thousands of bug reports and shared insights that have helped us adjust APIs, improve features, fix significant bugs, and in general make the platform better for users and developers.

We’re looking forward to seeing your apps on Android 12!

Raising our India commitment to build a safer internet for everyone

At Google, safety is core to everything we do. We design our products to ensure that they are secure by default and private by design, and you’re in control of your information. We are privileged that hundreds of millions of Indians place their trust in Google products. 


In India, we have been working towards making the internet helpful for over a billion people through a deeper understanding of our users’ needs under our Next Billion Users initiative, and launching many India-first features and products. After the outbreak of COVID-19, the internet's role in our everyday lives has become all the more central. With more and more Indians turning to the internet for their day-to-day needs, we recognise our responsibility to ensure that they’re protected from an evolving range of online risks — from phishing to financial fraud to misinformation. We also know that new users in particular are vulnerable to threats from bad actors.   


Today, we are underlining our commitment to protect users against this multidimensional challenge — and make the internet safer for everyone. 


Ramping up our trust & safety efforts in India 


To protect our users and products at the scale at which we operate, everyday 24x7, we continuously invest in both people and technology to make the internet safer. With over 20,000 people spread across the world, our Trust and Safety teams are dedicated to identifying, fighting, and preventing online harms. This includes everything from researching emerging abuse trends, to developing policies and standards that make clear what is acceptable on our platforms, to building the technology that enables enforcement of those policies at scale, including compliance with local laws and regulations in every country we operate in. Just in the last year, we’ve invested over $1 billion on our content moderation systems and processes, and we continue to invest in this area. 


In India, we have significantly increased the resources dedicated to these teams, adding product policy analysts, security specialists, and user trust experts, and expanded our efforts to provide coverage in more than 10 vernacular Indian languages, enabling our central teams to benefit from the local nuance and inputs.  This increased focus will help us to tackle misinformation, fraud, threats to child safety, violent extremism, phishing attacks, and malware, among other abuse areas.


A collaborative approach for a safer internet 


We recognise that the work of building a safer internet needs the leadership of the larger internet industry that is driving India’s digital economy. These challenges cannot be overcome by one or two players alone, and there is a need to step up our collective efforts as an industry. We are committed to sharing our tools and the institutional knowledge and capabilities we’ve developed over the years to contribute to this joint responsibility. We will be working with leading industry organisations to help train developers and startups in these capabilities, build communal solutions to shared safety challenges, and innovate on open-source tools so we can better protect Indians online.


Investing in user awareness and education in Indian languages


We also know that safety information helps people understand and avoid online harm. The Google Safety Centre serves as a single destination dedicated to educating and empowering our users on the importance of digital safety. As many people in India use the internet in their regional language, we are launching the new and updated Google Safety Centre in eight languages starting with Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, and Telugu, with three more Indian languages set to roll out by the end of the year. 

On this platform, users can discover helpful resources and easy tips, and identify the digital habits that are right for them and their families, all in the language of their choice. With the ‘My Activity’ hub in the Safety Centre, they can review, control, or delete the activity saved to their Google accounts. This section received more than 1 billion visits by Indian users in the first half of 2021 alone, and we hope this refreshed Safety Center will help millions more.


As part of this effort, we’ve also launched a user education campaign in multiple languages, to bring attention to common threats like phishing, malware, and fraud.



Raising our commitment to ensure children’s safety online


While our policies don’t allow kids under 13 to create a standard Google account, we’ve worked hard to design enriching product experiences for them — as well as for older teens and their families. We are aware that kids and teens are spending more time online, and parents, educators, child safety and privacy experts, and policy makers are rightfully concerned about how to keep them safe. We share these concerns and we have announced a series of new policies in response.

We are also committed to matching these efforts with digital safety resources for parents and children. So starting today, we are excited to launch our global Be Internet Awesome program in India, a resource that is designed and crafted by digital safety experts to help children, families, and educators learn about staying safe online. Available in English and Hindi first, then soon in other Indian languages, Be Internet Awesome is a great resource for kids, parents, and teachers to learn about safe and healthy internet habits.


It includes a highly visual, interactive experience called ‘Interland’, where children can learn the fundamentals of online safety and participate in a series of fun, challenging games. They’ll learn how to safeguard valuable information, one-up cyber bullies, and spot what’s real and what’s fake. We’re also keen for children to explore Be Internet Awesome through avenues they’re already familiar with, and so we are delighted to announce our partnership with popular Indian comic book publishers, Amar Chitra Katha, who will help kids discover these critical internet safety lessons through their favourite characters, in eight Indian languages.


A safer and trusted app experience for our users


Affordable smartphones can unlock online opportunities for millions more Indians. But these devices have to be underpinned by a bedrock of privacy, security, and transparency. We have stepped up our efforts to deliver a privacy-first experience with Android 12 with a new privacy dashboard that gives people a clear timeline view of apps that have accessed their location, microphone, and camera in the last 24 hours — so they can better understand and control what data apps use. 


At the same time, we’re taking steps to identify and respond to concerns around specific app categories more quickly. For example, we recently announced clarifications around the policies on personal loan apps, including new requirements that will help safeguard users, while enabling legitimate developers to operate and flourish. And we have significantly expanded our Google Play support teams in India, enabling us to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of our partners and users — including around online safety. The bottom line is this: when we solve for our users, we also solve for our developers. 


We have no doubt that what we do in India will also shape the future of a Safer Internet for everyone. 


Building a safer internet for everyone is not one more thing to do, it is the one thing to do — together.


Posted by Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager & Vice President, Google India, and Kristie Canegallo, Vice President, Trust & Safety, Google 


Android 12 Beta 4 and Platform Stability

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android 12 logo

Today we’re bringing you the fourth Beta of Android 12, and moving into the final phase of the release. We’ve built Android 12 with a new UI that adapts to you, performance improvements, privacy and security enhancements, and more. We’re now shifting our focus to polish, performance, and stability. Thanks for all the feedback you’ve shared to help us refine the release and get us to this point.

For developers, Beta 4 takes us to Platform Stability, which means that Android 12’s APIs and all app-facing behaviors are finalized. For apps, the focus is now on compatibility and quality. It’s time to start preparing your compatible app updates in time for the official release later in the year.

You can try Beta 4 today on your Pixel device by enrolling here for over-the-air updates, and if you previously enrolled, you’ll automatically get today’s update. You can also get Android 12 Beta 4 on select devices from several of our partners like ASUS, Oneplus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, and ZTE - learn more at android.com/beta. Visit the Android 12 developer site for details on how to get started.

Platform Stability

Android 12 Beta 4 has reached Platform Stability, a milestone that means all app-facing surfaces and behaviors are now final in Android 12. This includes not only the official SDK and NDK APIs, but also final app-facing system behaviors and restrictions on non-SDK interfaces that may affect apps. So from Beta 4, you can confidently release your compatibility updates knowing that the platform won’t change. More on the timeline is here.

Android 12 timeline

We’re asking all app and game developers to start your final compatibility testing now and prepare to publish your compatibility updates as soon as possible ahead of the final release.

For all SDK, library, tools, and game engine developers, it’s even more important to start testing now and release your compatible updates as soon as possible -- your downstream app and game developers may be blocked until they receive your updates. When you’ve released a compatible update, be vocal and let developers know!

App compatibility

For Android, App compatibility means that your app runs as intended on a new version of the platform. You can check your app’s compatibility just by installing the production version of your app on a device or emulator and testing it - if the app looks good and runs properly, then you’re done, it’s compatible!

Testing your app for compatibility is important because with each release, we make integral changes to the platform that improve privacy and security and the overall user experience across the OS. These can affect your apps, so you should take a look at the behavior changes and test against them, then publish a compatible update to your users. It’s a basic but critical level of quality that ensures users have a good app experience.

As people update their devices to Android 12, they want to explore the latest version of Android, and experience it with their favorite apps. If those apps don’t work properly, it’s a major issue, ultimately resulting in uninstalls.

So while there are a ton of new APIs and capabilities to explore, start by testing your current app and releasing a compatible update first.

Get your apps ready

To test your app for compatibility with Android 12, just install your production app from Google Play or other source onto a device running Android 12 Beta 4. Work through all of the app’s flows and watch for functional or UI issues. Review the Android 12 behavior changes for all apps to focus your testing. Here are some changes to watch for:

  • Privacy dashboard - A new dashboard in Settings lets users see which apps are accessing which type of data and when. Users can adjust permissions if needed, and they can request details from your app on the reason for access. More here.
  • Microphone & camera indicators - Android 12 shows an indicator in the status bar when an app is using the camera or microphone. More here.
  • Microphone & camera toggles - New toggles in Quick Settings let users instantly disable microphone and camera access for all apps. More here.
  • Clipboard read notification - A toast alerts users when an app reads data from the clipboard unexpectedly. More here.
  • Stretch overscroll - A new “stretch” overscroll effect replaces the previous “glow” overscroll effect systemwide. More here.
  • App splash screens - Android 12 launches apps with a new splash screen animation. More here.
  • Keygen changes - Several deprecated BouncyCastle cryptographic algorithms are removed in favor of Conscrypt versions. If your app uses a 512-bit key with AES, you’ll need to use one of the standard sizes supported by Conscrypt. More here.

Remember to test the libraries and SDKs in your app for compatibility. If you find any SDK issues, try updating to the latest version of the SDK or reaching out to the developer for help.

Once you’ve published the compatible version of your current app, you can start the process to update your app's targetSdkVersion. Review the behavior changes for Android 12 apps and use the compatibility framework to help you detect issues quickly. Here are some of the changes to test for (these apply when your app’s targetSdkVersion is 31 or higher):

  • Foreground service launch restriction - Apps can no longer launch foreground services from the background. For high-priority background tasks, use expedited jobs in WorkManager instead. More here.
  • Approximate location - When apps request permission for precise location, users can now choose to grant either precise or approximate location. More here.
  • New permission for exact alarms - Apps that want to use exact alarms must request a new normal permission, SCHEDULE_EXACT_ALARM. More here.
  • Modern SameSite cookie behaviors in WebView - If your app uses WebView, test your app with the new SameSite cookie behaviors. More here.
  • Safer exporting of components - your app must explicitly specify an android:exported attribute for any app components that use intent filters. More here.
  • Custom notifications - The system applies a standard notification template to fully custom notifications, with affordances for app name, app icon, and expand/collapse data. More here.
  • Notification trampolines restriction - Notifications can no longer launch your app using a “trampoline” - an intermediary broadcast receiver or service that starts the target Activity. More here.

During testing, also watch for uses of restricted non-SDK interfaces in your app and move those to public SDK equivalents instead. You can read about the restricted APIs here.

Get started with Android 12!

Today’s Beta release has everything you need to try the Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. Just enroll any supported Pixel device to get the update over-the-air. To get started developing, set up the Android 12 SDK.

You can also get Android 12 Beta 4 on devices from some of our partners like ASUS, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, and ZTE. Visit android.com/beta to see the full list of partners participating in Android 12 Beta. For even broader testing, you can try Android 12 Beta 4 on Android GSI images, and if you don’t have a device, you can test on the Android Emulator.

Beta 4 is also available for Android TV, so you can check out the latest TV features and test your apps on the all-new Google TV experience. Try it out with the ADT-3 developer kit. More here.

Watch for one more Beta coming in the weeks ahead as a release candidate for your final testing.

For complete details on Android 12 Beta, visit the Android 12 developer site.

Preparing for Google Play’s new safety section

Posted by Suzanne Frey, VP, Product, Android Security and Privacy

Today, we’re announcing additional details for the upcoming safety section in Google Play. At Google, we know that feeling safe online comes from using products that are secure by default, private by design, and give users control over their data. This new safety section will provide developers a simple way to showcase their app’s overall safety. Developers will be able to give users deeper insight into their privacy and security practices, as well as explain the data the app may collect and why — all before users install the app.

Ultimately, all Google Play store apps will be required to share information in the safety section. We want to give developers plenty of time to adapt to these changes, so we’re sharing more information about the data type definitions, user journey, and policy requirements of this new feature.



What the new safety section may look like:

Images are directional and subject to change

Users will see the new summary in an app’s store listing page. It’ll share the developer’s explanation of what data an app collects or shares and highlight safety details, such as whether:

  • The app has security practices, like data encryption
  • The app follows our Families policy
  • The app has been independently validated against a global security standard

Images are directional and subject to change

Users can tap into the summary to see details like:

  • What type of data is collected and shared, such as location, contacts, personal information (e.g., name, email address), financial information and more
  • How the data is used, such as for app functionality, personalization, and more
  • Whether data collection is optional or required in order to use an app

Images are directional and subject to change

In designing our labels, we learned developers appreciate when they can provide context about their data practices and more detail on whether their app automatically collects data versus if that collection is optional. We also learned that users care about whether their data is shared with other companies, and why.

The final design is subject to change as we continue working with developers and designing for the best blend of developer and user experiences.

Policy changes to support the safety section

Today we announced new user data policies designed to provide more user transparency and to help people make informed choices about how their data is collected, protected and used.

  • All developers must provide a privacy policy. Previously, only apps that collected personal and sensitive user data needed to share a privacy policy.
  • Developers are responsible for providing accurate and complete information in their safety section, including data used by the app’s third party libraries or SDKs.

This applies to all apps published on Google Play, including Google's own apps.

What you can expect

We want to provide developers with plenty of time and resources to get prepared.

Target Timeline. Dates subject to change.

Starting in October, developers can submit information in the Google Play Console for review. We encourage you to start early in case you have questions along the way. The new safety section will launch for apps in Google Play in Q1 2022.

We know that some developers will need more time to assess their apps and coordinate with multiple teams. So, you’ll have until April 2022 before your apps must have this section approved. Without an approved section, your new app submission or app update may be rejected.

Images are directional and subject to change

If your app’s information is not approved by the time we launch the safety section in Google Play to users in Q1 2022, then it will display “No information available.”

How to get prepared:

  • Visit the Play Console Help Center for more details about providing app privacy details in Play Console, including data type lists and examples.
  • Review how your app collects, protects and shares data. In particular, check your app’s declared permissions and the APIs and libraries that your app uses. These may require you to indicate that your app collects and shares specific types of data.
  • Join a policy webinar and send us your questions in advance. You can register for Global, India, Japan, or Korea sessions.

We’ll continue to share more guidance, including specific dates, over the next few months.

Thank you for your continued partnership in building this feature alongside us and in making Google Play a safe and trustworthy platform for everyone.

Android 12 Beta 3 and final APIs

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android 12 logo

Each month we’re bringing Android 12 closer to its final form, with innovative features, a new UI that adapts to you, performance improvements, privacy enhancements, security benefits, and much more. Many of you are already developing and testing on Android 12 through our Beta program - thank you for all of the feedback you’ve shared so far!

There’s still a lot to do to land this release, though, and today we’re pushing out the third Beta of Android 12 for you to try. Along with updates like scrolling screenshots, privacy indicator APIs, and enhanced auto-rotate, Beta 3 also includes the final Android 12 APIs and the official SDK. WIth these, you can start testing and updating your app ahead of Platform Stability, coming up next at Beta 4. Now is the time to make sure your apps are ready!

You can get Beta 3 today on your Pixel device by enrolling here for over-the-air updates, and if you previously enrolled, you’ll automatically get today’s update. You can also get Android 12 Beta 3 on select devices from several of our device-maker partners like Sharp and TCL - learn more at android.com/beta. Visit the Android 12 developer site for details on how to get started.

What’s new in Beta 3?

Beta 3 includes a number of updates to improve functionality, user experience, and performance. Here are a few highlights.

Scrolling screenshots - To make it easier to capture and share scrolling content, we’re adding scrolling screenshots. Starting in Beta 3, when users capture a screenshot of content that’s scrollable, they’ll now see a “Capture more” button to extend the screenshot to the full content and they can then adjust the crop.

capturing a scrolling screenshot in the Settings app

Capturing a scrolling screenshot in the Settings app

Scrolling screenshots work out-of-the-box for most apps -- if your app uses a standard View-based UI, no changes should be needed. For apps and UI toolkits that are not using View-based UI or that use highly customized UI, we’re introducing a new ScrollCapture API to support scrolling screenshots. With this API, the system notifies your app of scroll capture requests and provides a Surface for you to draw your UI into. We’re continuing to iterate on scrolling screenshots and in Beta 4 you’ll see improvements to the default support, such as for scrolling ListViews. We're also working to provide support for a wider variety of content (such as web content). Let us know what you think!

On-device search - With Beta 3 we’re highlighting platform support for AppSearch, a new high-performance on-device search engine. With AppSearch, apps can index structured data and search over it with built-in full-text search capabilities, and they can use native features like highly-efficient indexing and retrieval, multi-language support, and relevancy ranking.

AppSearch comes in two flavors: a local index for your app to use that’s backward-compatible through a new AppSearch Jetpack library, and a central index that’s maintained for the entire system in Android 12 (and later releases). When you participate in the central index, the system will be able to display your app’s data on System UI surfaces unless you choose to opt out. Additionally, you can securely share data with other apps, allowing them to search your app’s data as well as their own. More here.

Privacy indicator APIs in WindowInsets - In Beta 2 we added support for privacy indicators in the status bar that show when an app is using the device camera or microphone. Since the indicators can be displayed when an app is in immersive mode and could potentially cover controls or content, apps need to know where the indicators can be drawn and make any adjustments needed to prevent useful content from being covered. In Beta 3 we’ve added new privacy indicator APIs to WindowInsets that let you get the maximum bounds of the indicators and their relative placement on the screen, taking into account the current orientation and language settings. More here.

Camera and microphone toggles configurable for enterprises - In Beta 2 we also introduced new toggles that let users instantly turn off access to the device microphone and camera for all apps. We’ve now made these accessible to enterprise administrators who can set any restrictions needed on fully managed devices. More here.

New permission for CDM-paired apps starting foreground services - To better support companion apps carrying out core functionality while providing transparency to the system, apps paired with Companion Device Manager (CDM) can launch foreground services from the background by declaring a new normal permission. More here.

Better, faster auto-rotate - We’ve enhanced Android’s auto-rotate feature with face detection, using the front-facing camera to more accurately recognize when to rotate the screen. This is especially helpful for people who are using their devices while lying down on a couch or in bed, for example. For developers, this means that the auto-rotation behavior will provide a better user experience for users who have opted in through Settings. The enhanced auto-rotate feature lives within our recently announced Private Compute Core, so images are never stored or sent off the device. In Beta 3 this feature is available on Pixel 4 and later Pixel devices.

To make screen rotation as speedy as possible on all devices, we’ve also optimized the animation and redrawing and added an ML-driven gesture-detection algorithm. As a result, the latency for the base auto-rotate feature has been reduced by 25%, and the benefits of the face detection enhancement build on top of those improvements. Give the auto-rotate improvements a try and let us know what you think.

Android 12 for Games - With Game Mode APIs, you can react to the players' performance profile selection for your game - like better battery life for a long commute, or performance mode to get peak frame rates. These APIs will be tied to the upcoming game dashboard which provides an overlay experience with quick access to key utilities during gameplay. The game dashboard will be available on select devices later this year.

play as you download image

Play as you download on Android 12 with Touchgrind BMX

Meanwhile, play as you download will allow game assets to be fetched in the background during install, getting your players into gameplay faster.

Visit the Android 12 developer site to learn more about all of the new features in Android 12.

Final APIs and SDK

Over the past several weeks we've been working to finalize the Android 12 APIs and today we're releasing them with Beta 3, along with the official API Level 31 SDK. We plan to reach full Platform Stability at Beta 4, when all app-facing system behaviors and non-SDK interface restrictions will also be final, in addition to the API surfaces.

If you’re compiling your app against the Android 12 APIs, we recommend using today’s release to update your environment and recompile your apps with the final SDK and latest tools.

App compatibility

With many early-adopter users and developers getting Android 12 Beta on Pixel and other devices, now is the time to make sure your apps are compatible and ready for them to use!

To test your app for compatibility with Beta 3, just install the published version from Google Play or other source onto a device or emulator running Android 12 Beta. Work through all of the app’s flows and watch for functional or UI issues. Review the behavior changes to focus your testing on areas where underlying changes may affect your app. There’s no need to change your app’s targetSdkVersion at this time, so once you’ve resolved any issues, we recommend publishing an update as soon as possible for your Android 12 Beta users.

platform stability

As mentioned earlier, Android 12 will reach Platform Stability in the next release, Beta 4. With Platform Stability, all app-facing system behaviors, SDK/NDK APIs, and non-SDK restrictions will be finalized. At that time, you can begin your final compatibility testing and release a fully compatible version of your app, SDK, or library. More on the Android 12 timeline for developers is here.

Get started with Android 12!

Today’s Beta release has everything you need to try the latest Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. Just enroll any supported Pixel device to get the update over-the-air. To get started developing, set up the Android 12 SDK.

You can also get Android 12 Beta 3 on devices from some of our top device-maker partners like Sharp and TCL. Visit android.com/beta to see the full list of partners participating in Android 12 Beta. For even broader testing, you can try Android 12 Beta on Android GSI images, and if you don’t have a device you can test on the Android Emulator.

Beta 3 is also available for Android TV, so you can check out the latest TV features and test your apps on the all-new Google TV experience. Try it out with the ADT-3 developer kit. More here.

For complete details on Android 12 Beta, visit the Android 12 developer site.

Top questions you ask Google about privacy across our products

“Hey Google, I have some questions…” 

Privacy and security is personal. It means different things to different people, but our commitment is the same to everyone who uses our products: we will keep your personal information private, safe, and secure. We think everyone should be in the know about what data is collected, how their information is used, and most importantly, how they control the data they share with us.

Here are some of the top questions that people commonly ask us:

Q. Is Google Assistant recording everything I say?

No, it isn’t.

Google Assistant is designed to wait in standby mode until it is activated, like when you say, "Hey Google" or "Ok Google". In standby mode, it processes short snippets of audio (a few seconds) to detect an activation (such as “Ok Google”). If no activation is detected, then those audio snippets won’t be sent or saved to Google. When an activation is detected, the Assistant comes out of standby mode to fulfill your request. The status indicator on your device lets you know when the Assistant is activated. And when it’s in standby mode, the Assistant won’t send what you are saying to Google or anyone else. To help keep you in control, we're constantly working to make the Assistant better at reducing unintended activations.

To better tailor Google Assistant to your environment, you can now adjust how sensitive your Assistant is to the activation phrase (like 'Hey Google') through the Google Home app for smart speakers and smart displays. We also provide controls to turn off cameras and mics, and when they’re active we’ll provide a clear visual indicator (like flashing dots on top of your device).

Deleting your Google Assistant activity is easy, by simply using your voice. Just say something like, “Hey Google, delete this week’s activity”, or “Hey Google, delete my last conversation”, and Google Assistant will delete your Assistant activity. This will reflect on your My Activity page, and you can also use this page to review and delete activity across the Google products you use. And if you have people coming over, you can also activate a “Guest Mode” on Google Assistant – Just say, “Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode,” and your Google Assistant interactions will not be saved to your account. 

Q. How does Google decide what ads it shows me? How can I control this?

The Ads you see can be based on a number of things, such as your previous searches, the sites you visit, ads clicked, and more.

For example, you may discover that you are seeing a camera ad because you’ve searched for cameras, visited photography websites or clicked on ads for cameras before. The 'Why this ad?' feature helps you understand why you are seeing a given ad. 

Data helps us personalise ads so that they're more useful to you, but we never use the content of your emails or documents, or sensitive information like health, race, religion or sexual orientation, to tailor ads to you.

It is also easy to personalize the kinds of ads that are shown to you, or even disable ads personalization completely. Visit your Ad Settings page.

Q. Are you building a profile of my personal information across your products, for targeting ads?

We do not sell your personal information — not to advertisers, not to anyone. And we don’t use information in apps where you primarily store personal content — such as Gmail, Drive, Calendar and Photos — for advertising purposes.

We use information to improve our products and services for you and for everyone. And we use anonymous, aggregated data to do so.

A small subset of information may be used to serve you relevant ads (for things you may actually want to hear about), but only with your consent. You can always turn these settings off.

It is also important to note that you can use most of Google’s products completely anonymously, without logging in -- you can Search in incognito mode, or clear your search history; you can watch YouTube videos and use Maps. However, when you share your data with us we can create a better experience with our products based on the information shared with us.

Q. Are you reading my emails to sell ads?

We do not scan or read your Gmail messages to show you ads. 

In fact, we have a host of products like Gmail, Drive and Photos that are  designed to store your personal content, and this content is never used to show ads. When you use your personal Google account and open the promotions or social tabs in Gmail, you'll see ads that were selected to be the most useful and relevant for you. The process of selecting and showing personalized ads in Gmail is fully automated. The ads you see in Gmail are based on data associated with your Google Account such as your activity in other Google services such as YouTube or Search, which could affect the types of ads that you see in Gmail. To remember which ads you've dismissed, avoid showing you the same ads, and show you ads you may like better, we save your past ad interactions, like which ads you've clicked or dismissed. Google does not use keywords or messages in your inbox to show you ads – nobody reads your email in order to show you ads.

Also, if you have a work or school account, you will never be shown ads in Gmail.

You can adjust your ad settings anytime. Learn more about Gmail ads.

Q. Why do you need location information on Maps?

If you want to get from A to B, it’s quicker to have your phone tell us where you are, than to have you figure out your address or location. Location information helps in many other ways too, like helping us figure out how busy traffic is. If you choose to enable location sharing, your phone will send anonymous bits of information back to Google. This is combined with anonymous data from people around you to recognise traffic patterns.

This only happens for people who turn location history on. It is off by default. If you turn it on, but then change your mind, you can visit Your Data in Maps -- a single place for people to manage Google account location settings.

Q. What information does Google know about me? How do I control it?

You can see a summary of what Google services you use and the data saved in your account from your Google Dashboard. There are also powerful privacy controls like Activity Controls and Ad Settings, which allow you to switch the collection and use of data on or off to decide how all of Google can work better for you.

We’ve made it easier for you to make decisions about your data directly within the Google services you use every day. For example, without ever leaving Search, you can review and delete your recent search activity, get quick access to relevant privacy controls from your Google Account, and learn more about how Search works with your data. You can quickly access these controls in Search, Maps, and the Assistant.

Privacy features and controls have always been built into our services, and we’re continuously working to make it even easier to control and manage your privacy and security. But we know that the web is a constantly evolving space, where new threats and bad actors will unfortunately emerge. There will always be more work to be done, and safeguarding people who use our products and services every day will remain our focus. 

For more on how we keep you and your information private, safe and secure visit the Google Safety Center.

Posted by the Google India Team


Our latest updates on Fully Homomorphic Encryption

Posted by Miguel Guevara, Product Manager, Privacy and Data Protection Office.

Privacy protection illustration

As developers, it’s our responsibility to help keep our users safe online and protect their data. This starts with building products that are secure by default, private by design, and put users in control. Everything we make at Google is underpinned by these principles, and we’re proud to be an industry leader in developing, deploying, and scaling new privacy-preserving technologies that make it possible to learn valuable insights and create helpful experiences while protecting our users’ privacy.

That’s why today, we are excited to announce that we’re open-sourcing a first-of-its-kind, general-purpose transpiler for Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE), which will enable developers to compute on encrypted data without being able to access any personally identifiable information.

A deeper look at the technology

With FHE, encrypted data can travel across the Internet to a server, where it can be processed without being decrypted. Google’s transpiler will enable developers to write code for any type of basic computation such as simple string processing or math, and run it on encrypted data. The transpiler will transform that code into a version that can run on encrypted data. This then allows developers to create new programming applications that don’t need unencrypted data. FHE can also be used to train machine learning models on sensitive data in a private manner.

For example, imagine you’re building an application for people with diabetes. This app might collect sensitive information from its users, and you need a way to keep this data private and protected while also sharing it with medical experts to learn valuable insights that could lead to important medical advancements. With Google’s transpiler for FHE, you can encrypt the data you collect and share it with medical experts who, in turn, can analyze the data without decrypting it - providing helpful information to the medical community, all while ensuring that no one can access the data’s underlying information.

In the next 10 years, FHE could even help researchers find associations between specific gene mutations by analyzing genetic information across thousands of encrypted samples and testing different hypotheses to identify the genes most strongly associated with the diseases they’re studying.

Making more products private by design

Our principle to make our products private by design drives us to build ground-breaking computing technologies that enable personalized experiences while protecting your private information. Privacy-preserving technologies are on the cutting-edge of Google’s innovations, and they have already shown great potential to help shape a more private internet.

In 2016, Google researchers invented Federated Learning, a technique that helps preserve privacy by keeping as much personal information on your device as possible. And in 2019, Google made its differential privacy library freely available to any organization or developer, an advanced anonymization technology that enables developers to learn from their data privately. No one has scaled the use of Differential Privacy more than we have.

We’ve been thrilled to see these technologies put to use across the globe; in France, for example, a startup called Arkhn has been able to accelerate scientific discovery using differential privacy to share data across hospitals.

We still have a ways to go before most computations happen with FHE -- but much as it took some time for HTTPS to take off and be widely adopted, today’s announcement is an important step towards bringing users helpful products that preserve their privacy and keep their data safe.

At Google, we know that open-sourcing our technologies with the developer community for feedback and use helps make them better. We will continue to invest and lead the privacy-preserving technology field by publishing new work, and open-sourcing it for everyone to use at scale - and we're excited to continue this practice by sharing this latest advancement with developers everywhere. We can't wait to see what you’ll build, and we look forward to collaborating on the journey towards a safer Internet.

Android 12 Beta 2 Update

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android 12 logo

Just a few weeks ago at Google I/O we unwrapped the first beta of Android 12, focusing on a new UI that adapts to you, improved performance, and privacy and security at the core. For developers, Android 12 gives you better tools to build delightful experiences for people on phones, laptops, tablets, wearables, TVs, and cars.

Today we’re releasing the second Beta of Android 12 for you to try. Beta 2 adds new privacy features like the Privacy Dashboard and continues our work of refining the release.

End-to-end there’s a lot for developers in Android 12 - from the redesigned UI and app widgets, to rich haptics, improved video and image quality, privacy features like approximate location, and much more. For a quick look at related Google I/O sessions, see Android 12 at Google I/O later in the post.

You can get Beta 2 today on your Pixel device by enrolling here for over-the-air updates, and if you previously enrolled for Beta 1, you’ll automatically get today’s update. Android 12 Beta is also available on select devices from several of our partners - learn more at android.com/beta.

Visit the Android 12 developer site for details on how to get started.

What’s new in Beta 2?

Beta 2 includes several of the new privacy features we talked about at Google I/O, as well as various feature updates to improve functionality, stability, and performance. Here are a few highlights.

Privacy Dashboard - We’ve added a Privacy Dashboard to give users better visibility over the data that apps are accessing. The dashboard offers a simple and clear timeline view of all recent app accesses to microphone, camera, and location. Users can also request details from an app on why it has accessed sensitive data, and developers can provide this information in an activity by handling a new system intent, ACTION_VIEW_PERMISSION_USAGE_FOR_PERIOD. We recommend that apps take advantage of this intent to proactively help users understand accesses in the given time period. To help you track these accesses in your code and any third-party libraries, we recommend using the Data Auditing APIs. More here.

Privacy Dashboard and location access gif

Privacy dashboard and location access timeline.

Mic and camera indicators - We’ve added indicators to the status bar to let users know when apps are using the device camera or microphone. Users can go to Quick Settings to see which apps are accessing their camera or microphone data and manage permissions if needed. For developers, we recommend reviewing your app’s uses of the microphone and camera and removing any that users would not expect. More here.

Microphone & camera toggles - We’ve added Quick Settings toggles on supported devices that make it easy for users to instantly disable app access to the microphone and camera. When the toggles are turned off, an app accessing these sensors will receive blank camera and audio feeds, and the system handles notifying the user to enable access to use the app’s features. Developers can use a new API, SensorPrivacyManager, to check whether toggles are supported on the device. The microphone and camera controls apply to all apps regardless of their platform targeting. More here.

Clipboard read notification - To give users more transparency on when apps are reading from the clipboard, Android 12 now displays a toast at the bottom of the screen each time an app calls getPrimaryClip(). Android won’t show the toast if the clipboard was copied from the same app. We recommend minimizing your app’s reads from the clipboard, and making sure that you only access the clipboard when it will be expected by users. More here.

More intuitive connectivity experience - To help users understand and manage their network connections better, we’re introducing a simpler and more intuitive connectivity experience across the Status Bar, Quick Settings, and Settings. The new Internet Panel helps users switch between their Internet providers and troubleshoot network connectivity issues more easily. Let us know what you think!

Quick Settings controls

New Internet controls through Quick Settings.

Visit the Android 12 developer site to learn more about all of the new features in Android 12.

Android 12 at Google I/O

At Google I/O we talked about everything that’s new in Android for developers - from Android 12 to Modern Android Development tools, new form factors like Wear and foldables, and Google Play. Here are the top 3 things to know about Android 12 at Google I/O.

#1 A new UI for Android - Android 12 brings the biggest design change in Android's history. We rethought the entire experience, from the colors to the shapes, light and motion, making Android 12 more expressive, dynamic, and personal, under a single design language called Material You.

#2 Performance - With Android 12, we made significant and deep investments in performance, from foundational system performance and battery life to foreground service changes, media quality and performance, and new tools to optimize apps.

#3 Privacy and security - In Android 12 we’re continuing to give users more transparency and control while keeping their devices and data secure.

For an overview of Android 12 for developers, watch this year’s What's new in Android talk, and check out Top 12 tips to get ready for Android 12 for an overview of where to test your app for compatibility. The full list of Android content at Google I/O is here.

App compatibility

With more early-adopter users and developers getting Android 12 beta on Pixel and other devices, now is the time to make sure your apps are ready!

To test your app for compatibility, install the published version from Google Play or other source onto a device or emulator running Android 12 Beta. Work through all of the app’s flows and watch for functional or UI issues. Review the behavior changes to focus your testing. There’s no need to change your app’s targetSdkVersion at this time, so when you’ve resolved any issues, publish an update as soon as possible for your Android 12 Beta users.

timeline for Android 12

With Beta 2, Android 12 is closing in on Platform Stability in August 2021. Starting then, app-facing system behaviors, SDK/NDK APIs, and non-SDK lists will be finalized. At that time, you should finish up your final compatibility testing and release a fully compatible version of your app, SDK, or library. More on the timeline for developers is here.

Get started with Android 12!

Today’s Beta release has everything you need to try the latest Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. Just enroll any supported Pixel device to get the update over-the-air. To get started developing, set up the Android 12 SDK.

You can also get Android 12 Beta 2 on devices from some of our top device-maker partners like Sharp. Visit android.com/beta to see the full list of partners participating in Android 12 Beta. For even broader testing, you can try Android 12 Beta on Android GSI images, and if you don’t have a device you can test on the Android Emulator.

Beta 2 is also available for Android TV, so you can check out the latest TV features and test your apps on the all-new Google TV experience. Try it out with the ADT-3 developer kit. More here.

For complete details on Android 12 Beta, visit the Android 12 developer site.

What’s new in Android 12 Beta

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android 12 logo

Today at Google I/O we unveiled the first Beta of Android 12, one of our most ambitious releases ever. We focused on a new UI that adapts to you, improving performance, with privacy and security at the core. For developers, we’re giving you more tools to build delightful experiences for people on phones, laptops, tablets, wearables, TVs, and cars.

There’s a lot to explore in Beta 1, starting with the most significant UI update to Android yet, created with a design language that we call Material You. There are new privacy features to try too, like approximate location, and a new standard called Performance Class that lets apps and users identify high-performing devices.

Try Android 12 Beta today on Pixel devices by enrolling here. Thanks to our device-maker partners who are working to accelerate updates, you can now get the Beta on other devices as well, including select devices from ASUS, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, TCL, Transsion, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE, with others on the way. Visit android.com/beta to learn more.

Read on for more highlights of what’s new and visit the Android 12 developer site for details on everything in Android 12 and how to get started developing.

A new UI for Android

As we highlighted in our consumer blog post, Android 12 brings the biggest design change in Android's history. We rethought the entire experience, from the colors to the shapes, light and motion, making Android 12 more expressive, dynamic, and personal. This work is being done in deep collaboration between our software, hardware and Material Design teams, and we’re unifying our software and hardware ecosystems under a single design language called Material You.

Android 12 UI

We’ve extended the new design language across the platform and UI components, so your apps will get these upgrades automatically.

Redesigned widgets - Along with the design changes in Android 12 we’ve refreshed app widgets to make them more useful, beautiful, and discoverable. We added new interactive controls like checkboxes, switches, and radio buttons and made personalizing widgets easier. Android 12 widgets look great with our system UI and themes, with rounded corners and padding automatically adapted to every launcher and home screen. Responsive layouts let you adapt widgets to phones, tablets, foldables, and other screens. We also added dynamic color APIs so your widgets can use system colors to create a personalized but consistent look. And we’re making widgets easier to discover through an improved widget picker and an integration with the Assistant. Check out sample code and give the updated widgets a try. More here.

widgets in Android 12

Stretch overscroll - We’re also adding a new system-wide “stretch” overscroll effect to let users know they’ve scrolled past the end of the available content in your UI. The stretch effect provides a natural vertical and horizontal scroll-stop indicator that’s common across all apps, and it’s enabled by default for scrolling containers across the platform and AndroidX. The new stretch overscroll replaces the glow overscroll supported in previous versions. Make sure to test your apps and content with the new scrolling behavior, and if needed you can opt out. More here.

Smoother audio transitions - UI isn't just about the visuals. We've also improved the way that audio focus is handled. When an app loses audio focus, its audio is automatically faded out, providing a smoother transition between apps which play audio, and preventing apps from playing over each other. This is particularly relevant in foldable and multi-screen Android environments. More here.

Performance

With Android 12, we’ve made significant and deep investments in performance - from foundational performance that makes the system and apps faster and smoother, to a new standard for high-performing devices that helps developers deliver richer experiences on those devices.

Faster, more efficient system performance - We reduced the CPU time needed for core system services by 22%, so devices will be faster and more responsive. We also improved Android's power efficiency by reducing the use of big cores by the system server by 15% to help devices run longer before needing to charge.

Sampled rate , omn big core

We improved transitions and app startup times by reducing lock contention and latency variability, and we optimized I/O for faster app loading. In PackageManager, a read-only snapshot reduced lock contention by as much as 92%. In Binder, lightweight caching radically improved latencies up to 47x in targeted calls. In I/O, we accelerated dex/odex/vdex files to improve app load times, especially on low-memory phones. Our restriction on notification trampolines also helps reduce latency for apps started from a notification. For example, the Google Photos app now launches 34% faster after moving away from notification trampolines.

To improve database query performance we’ve optimized CursorWindow by inlining results in Binder transactions. For small windows, CursorWindow is 36% faster, and for windows over 1000 rows the improvements are as high as 49x.

Performance class - Starting with Android 12 and working together with our ecosystem partners, we’re introducing a common standard for high-performing Android devices.

This standard, called performance class, defines a set of capabilities that go beyond Android's baseline requirements. Devices that meet the performance class requirements can support more demanding use-cases and deliver higher quality content. Developers can check for performance class at runtime and then reliably deliver enhanced experiences that take full advantage of the device’s performance.

Initially, we’re focusing performance class capabilities on media use-cases, with requirements including camera startup latency, codec availability and encoding quality, as well as minimum memory size, screen resolution and read/write performance. More here.

Private by design

Privacy is at the heart of everything we do, and in Android 12 we’re continuing to give people more transparency and control while keeping their devices and data secure. Today we announced several new privacy features that will be coming in Beta 2 - Privacy Dashboard, microphone and camera indicators, and microphone and camera toggles. Stay tuned for more on these features. Here’s what’s new in Beta 1.

App hibernation - Last year we launched permissions auto-reset, and over the last two weeks, Android has reset permissions for over 8.5 million apps that weren’t being used - so apps that people have forgotten about can’t still access their data. In Android 12 we’re building on permissions auto-reset by intelligently hibernating apps that have gone unused for an extended period - optimizing for device storage, performance and safety. Hibernation not only revokes permissions granted previously by the user, but it also force-stops the app and reclaims memory, storage and other temporary resources. In this state the system also prevents apps from running jobs in the background or receiving push notifications, helping to keep users safe. Hibernation should be transparent for most apps, but if needed, direct users to Settings to turn off this feature for your app. More here.

Android 12 device location

Nearby device permissions - Previously, Bluetooth scanning required apps to have the location permission, which was a challenge for apps that needed to pair with nearby devices but didn’t actually need the device location. We’re now allowing apps to scan for nearby devices without needing location permission. Apps targeting Android 12 can scan using the new BLUETOOTH_SCAN permission with the usesPermissionFlags="neverForLocation" attribute. After pairing with a device, use the BLUETOOTH_CONNECT permission to interact with it. These permissions promote privacy-friendly app design while reducing friction for apps. More here.

Approximate location - Recently we’ve given people better ways to manage access to location, such as through separate permissions for foreground and background access and an “only this time” option. Now for apps targeting Android 12, we’re offering even more control with a new “approximate location” option. When apps request precise location data, users can now choose to grant either precise or approximate location. Users can also change an app’s location precision at any time from Settings. If your app requests precise location data (ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION), keep these changes in mind and make sure your app functions properly with approximate location only. For almost all general uses of location, we recommend asking for approximate location (ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION) only. More here.

App compatibility

If you haven’t tested your app for compatibility with Android 12 yet, now is the time to do it! With Android 12 in Beta, we’re opening up access to early-adopter users as well as developers, on Pixel and other devices. This means that in the weeks ahead, expect many more users to be trying your app on Android 12 and raising any issues that they find.

To test for compatibility, install your published app from Google Play or other source on a device or emulator running Android 12 Beta and work through all of the app’s flows. Review the behavior changes to focus your testing. After you’ve resolved any issues, publish an update as soon as possible.

With Beta we’re getting closer to Platform Stability in August 2021. Starting then, app-facing system behaviors, SDK/NDK APIs, and non-SDK lists will be finalized. At that time, finish up your final compatibility testing and release a fully compatible version of your app, SDK, or library. More on the timeline for developers is here.

timeline

Get started with Android 12!

Today’s Beta release has everything you need to try the Android 12 features, test your apps, and give us feedback. Just enroll any supported Pixel device here to get the update over-the-air. If you’ve already installed a preview build, you’ll automatically get Beta updates. To get started developing, set up the SDK.

You can also get Android 12 Beta on devices from some of our top device-maker partners who are participating in the Android 12 Developer Preview program. Visit android.com/beta to see the full list of partners, with links to their sites with details on their supported devices. Each partner will handle their own enrollments and support, and provide the Beta updates to you directly.

For even broader testing on supported devices, try Android 12 Beta on Android GSI images, and if you don’t have a device you can test on the Android Emulator -- just download the latest emulator system images via the SDK Manager in Android Studio.

For complete details on how to get the Beta, visit the Android 12 developer site.