Google reportedly taps data collected by Android to boost its own apps

From CNET: Google reportedly has an internal program that taps "sensitive" data collected by Android, the search giant's mobile operating system, on how people interact with non-Google apps. The company has used this to advance its own products and services over rival Android apps, according to a report Thursday from The Information.

The program, internally dubbed Android Lockbox, lets the company see things like how often non-Google apps are opened and how long they're in use, according to The Information. Google reportedly gathers some of this data after people agree to share information while setting up Android.

News of the program comes as Google CEO Sundar Pichai was scheduled to sit before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust on Monday along with the heads of Amazon, Apple and Facebook. While the hearing may now be postponed, it will focus on the subcommittee's "ongoing investigation of competition in the digital marketplace." Google is facing antitrust probes by the Justice Department and a coalition of state attorneys general.

Android is the most dominant mobile operating system in the world, powering almost nine out of 10 smartphones shipped globally. Google released the beta version of Android 11 in June, and it's expected to launch more widely later this year.

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