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.