Google’s in hot water right now thanks to a change it made to a number of users’ Android-powered smartphones, all without ever telling them that it was happening.
The whole furor started when a number of Android users started to report on Reddit that they handset’s battery saving feature had been activated without their knowledge, seemingly remotely.
The impacted phones were all using Google’s latest Android 9 Pie update and were either Pixel or Essential devices, and in some cases, even a OnePlus 6, Xiaomi Mi 6, and Nokia 7.1. Users reported that their battery saving setting was enabled without their knowledge, even if they had definitely disabled it themselves.
It now appears that the whole thing was caused by Google carrying out one of its experiments, although as the company said in a reply to the Reddit thread, the issue occurred when the change was rolled out to a number of devices by mistake, saying “This was an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended.” The company apologized for the confusion and was on its way.
Hi all, some of you may have noticed that battery saver turned on automatically today. This was an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended. We have now rolled battery saver settings back to default. Please configure to your liking. Sorry for the confusion.
However, as you might imagine, that hasn’t settled well with users. A number have questioned why Google is able to dip into their phones and make changes, while others are just as concerned with the fact that there was no warning message to say that it was happening.
Google hasn’t yet responded to these concerns, but with the company saying this was an experimental thing it’s possible that something went wrong, making the whole change possible. That being said, we suspect Google’s ability to remotely enable features is no accident, and something the company is going to have to explain.
As of right now, Google hasn’t done that. Whether it will, remains to be seen.
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