UC Browser no longer available on the Google Play Store

UCWeb browser taken down from Google Play Store

If a user grants an app accessibility permission, they are allowing it to have a relatively invasive level of access to data on the phone and from within apps, which would generally be used to provide things such as text-to-speech. Hopefully Google release this solution before they begin pulling apps requiring Accessibility Services from the Play Store.

You can grab Google's new app from the Play Store right now, as long as you have a device running Android 5.0 or up.

Android's Accessibility Services are created to help developers make their apps easier to use for those with disabilities. Many popular apps using accessibility services in innovative ways may be impacted by the warning from Google. "Your app must comply with our Permissions policy and the Prominent Disclosure requirements of our User Data policy".

Google's new policy of only allowing the accessibility API for accessibility purposes definitely seems to be new, as many of these apps are years old and have existed in the Play Store without issue. For instance the "Building Accessibility Services" page suggests developers make apps for users "who may temporarily be unable to fully interact with a device". Clicking on a button and changing the focus are examples of AccessibilityEvents.

Android Masters is a collegiate inter-school Android app development challenge open to all universities and colleges across the Philippines. It can also be used to install a malicious information-stealing app-or even hijack the screen and lock the user out ala ransomware. The app is free to use, with no ads or in-app purchases, though Google is probably scanning all the data you share to serve better ads elsewhere online.

Enabling this for a malicious app can, of course, wreak a lot of havoc, which is probably Google's inspiration for cracking down on the accessibility API.

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