Google is taking another step towards better privacy although in a rather a weird way! Starting May 11, you won’t be seeing call recording apps listed on the Google Play Store. Google will be implementing new policies that prevents third-party apps from using the “Accessibility API”, which is required by these recording to apps to record the call. However, call recording will continue to stay on Android phones and this is how it will work.
While the call recording apps will go out of the Google Play Store, phones that continue to offer built-in call recording functionality will be able to do so as usual. Hence, if you use a Samsung phone, or a Xiaomi phone with their own custom diallers, you can continue to record calls the way you do. Even those phones using the Google dialler can continue to do so. Pre-installed systems app with access to the API won’t be affected.
Google Play takes a step against call recording apps
First reported by Android Authority, the change in the policies was spotted by Reddit user NLL Apps. In its revised policies, Google says that the Accessibility API “is not designed and cannot be requested for remote call audio recording.” In a developer webinar later, Google clarified the same as well.
“If the app is the default dialler on the phone and also pre-loaded, accessibility capability is not required to get access to the incoming audio stream, and hence, will not be in violation,” explained the presenter in the developer webinar discussing the Google Play policy updates.
Note that call recording was blocked on Android phones ever since the arrival of Android 10. This was done on the name of privacy and security. However, call recording apps could bypass the blockage by using the Accessibility API to keep recording calls. This essentially negated the block and Google now seems to take the next step to functionally prevent call recording.
With this policy in change, it becomes more important than ever for customers to choose their new phones wisely. The Google dialler allows call recording but it notifies the caller on the other side of the same. This is done to ensure maximum privacy and security. Dialler apps from Samsung, Xiaomi, and other brands have the call recording feature built in and they don’t notify of the same. Hence, how long before Google starts cracking down on them and forces OEMS to use its own dialler app? Only time can tell.