Google appears to be taking advantage of its position as a platform provider and apps for Android in its mobile operating system in order to gain advantages for itself. The group is said to have evaluated data on the use of third-party apps and used it to work on its own apps.
As the US magazine The Information reports, Google has apparently evaluated usage data that was recorded via the lockbox service of Android and used it as a guide for decisions about its own product planning for services and apps such as Gmail and YouTube. This could lead to conflicts regarding competition law.
Lockbox data collector is fully accessible only for Google
With the Lockbox service, which runs on all current Android smartphones with an official version of the mobile operating system, Google collects a range of different information on how users use apps. The user expressly agrees to this when commissioning his device and no approval from third-party apps is required.
The Lockbox data is actually used, among other things, to prioritize frequently used apps and thus optimize battery management. According to sources on which the US report relies, Google also used the data to make business decisions about an originally planned introduction of an alternative to the popular TikTok app for the Indian market. Google is also said to have evaluated lockbox data on the use of third-party email apps that compete with its in-house email platform Gmail. This would affect Microsoft Outlook among others. In addition, the company allegedly also evaluated data from the Lockbox service for the use of Instagram and Facebook apps.
The problem is that Google also gives app providers access to lockbox data, but only provides developers with information about their own products. The internet company, on the other hand, can get a broad overview that covers the entire app ecosystem. From a competition law perspective, this basically results in the illegal exploitation of a monopoly position, but it remains to be seen whether the relevant authorities see it the same way.
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