So I was just on the can, flipping through my sweet Google Reader client, and I ran into something interesting on the Android Developers Blog. Basically, though noting that this wasn’t the first time, they discovered a few applications on the market made by some sort of security researchers who were using the Android market as some kind of social experiment maybe just to see how many downloads they could attract. There wasn’t anything malicious about the applications but they were useless, as most users who downloaded them concluded when they summarily deleted them.

These researches voluntarily removed the applications but in a noble and valiant effort of quality control Google decided to do something I didn’t know they could do (though I’m glad they can) and that was remotely uninstalling the software from the phones of anyone else who had installed the programs but hadn’t yet gotten rid of them. This wasn’t exactly an emergency (they note that they set this mechanism up to zap a proliferation of any malware that slipped through the cracks, not do-nothing software like this); maybe they just did it as a public fire drill.

So, either be lame and freak out that this is yet another example of Google invading everyone’s privacy or take comfort knowing that Google’s got your back. And they’ve got your back transparently. Fortunately for copycats, Microsoft still has time to steal this mechanism before they unveil the first device with the renamed and slightly redecorated OS already on the Kin.

Doug Simmons


  1. Oh really? I got another fifty bucks if you want to double up that there will be an ample amount of piracy and it will emerge within a few weeks if not days of the first phone’s release.

  2. “Fortunately for copycats, Microsoft still has time to steal this mechanism before they unveil the first device with the renamed and slightly redecorated OS already on the Kin.”

    This was posted in 2008.


  3. MS and Apple both have this ability. When MS discussed the ability to remotely wipe apps everyone went nuts. It will exist on WP7 and it’s part of the infrastructure. When looking for push notifications the phone will share the installed apps with the server where they can be wiped if they’re unauthorized. So there’s no stealing apps on WP7 either.

  4. Well when you have a focused, driven community of talented developers (XDA) it is a pretty safe bet they’ll crack the OS. Still, people did go hog wild when MS said this feature was in the OS. I guess thats the benefit you get when you spew “do no evil” as your tagline.

  5. haha yeah it was only like a week or two that matt posted that article. it was quite funny though how ape-shit everyone went over this. get over itttt

  6. Remote wipe = no bueno. I don’t care how high and mighty you’re feeling, stay the hell out of my phone. If I’m stupid enough to ruin my phone with useless apps I should at least be smart enough to hard reset my shit on my own and reload a back up like any user. As with any product there is a certain amount of knowledge expected of the user, like turning it on and off, as well as other proper usage. I swear electronics are the only things that people expect them to teach them for free. Everything else people expect to pay for. You don’t expect a car dealership to teach you to drive do you?

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