For a brief period Wednesday, some users reported seeing warnings from Google about the status of their apps.
“You should update this app,” the message said, according to Spencer Dailey, an editor at the website Techmeme. “The version you’re using doesn’t include the latest security features to keep you protected. Only continue if you understand the risks.”
On Thursday, a Google spokeswoman said the messages appeared because of a bug and the warnings have stopped showing up. The apps, however, still haven’t been updated.
Since December, Apple has required app developers on its iOS platform to provide “nutrition labels” that tell people what personal data their apps are collecting, like financial information, contacts or browsing history. Google, however, hasn’t provided labels for most of its apps. When asked if the lack of updates is related to Apple’s policy change, the Google spokeswoman didn’t respond.
In addition to Gmail, other Google apps that haven’t been updated in two months include the Chrome browser and Google Maps.
Apple’s privacy updates have caused other dustups in the tech industry. Another change by Apple, rolling out in the coming months, requires developers to ask people for permission to gather data and track them across apps and websites. The change has riled Facebook, prompting a war of words between CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“Apple may say that they’re doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track their competitive interests,” Zuckerberg said in January during an earnings call. Cook says the company believes that “users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used.”
Meanwhile, Google is considering a less “stringent” approach to giving users options about app tracking, according to a report last week by Bloomberg.