Here’s how Google is fixing the problem of fake apps with a minor tweak
In the name of installing apps, a lot of users download APK (Android PacKage) files from third-party platforms, risking harm to the phone and compromise to security. This has finally gotten the attention of Google which has come up with a simple solution to the problem.
The company is now adding a small string of metadata in apps’ APKs that will help Google ensure that the app is authentic and side-loaded on a phone sans the official Play Store. Essentially, it’s sort of digital rights management (DRM), a standard for restricting use of copyright content.
“In the future, for apps obtained through Play-approved distribution channels, we’ll be able to determine app authenticity while a device is offline, add those shared apps to a user’s Play Library, and manage app updates when the device comes back online. This will give people more confidence when using Play-approved peer-to-peer sharing apps,” said Google on its developers’ website.
“This also benefits you as a developer as it provides a Play-authorized offline distribution channel and, since the peer-to-peer shared app is added to your user’s Play library, your app will now be eligible for app updates from Play.”
But security is just one aspect of the update. Google is also helping developers expand the reach of their applications.
“One of the reasons we’re doing this is to help developers reach a wider audience, particularly in countries where peer-to-peer app sharing is common because of costly data plans and limited connectivity,” it further said.
Bonus: What is APK?
APK stands for Android PacKage. It is essentially a file format used for distribution and installation of mobile applications. APKs are the counterparts of APPX in Microsoft Windows or Deb packages in Ubuntu.