Google is banning the availability of third-party call recording apps in the Google Play Store, according to a new report.
The Play Store has been full of apps that have been capable of doing just that for years, although changes to Android have made it harder for apps to access the audio they crave.
To do it, they’ve been using workarounds that have involved repurposing an API designed for accessibility purposes.
Now, The Register reports that Google is telling developers that they can no longer do that — the accessibility API is for just that, accessibility uses.
Accessibility Service APIs are tools that offer additional services that can help those with disabilities overcome challenges. Using these services against their designed intentions, i.e. to achieve a goal not geared at overcoming disabilities, remains the only way for third-party apps to record calls.
But with the forthcoming policy, the workaround will no longer be available – at least through the Google Play Store version of the Accessibility Service.
However, some developers have suggested that by banning these call recording apps from the Play Store, users will simply side-load them and risk installing “dodgy” apps as a result.
That’s the risk side-loading capabilities bring, something Apple has long been vocal about when told that it should allow apps to be installed onto iPhones without the requirement of App Store availability.
The Register notes that the new rule comes into effect on May 11. That just so happens to be the first day of Google I/O — could Google be set to announce a new API that offers the same functionality without the need to bastardize one built for accessibility?
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