Story 2015-12-27 YVWF Google play forces updates like Windows 10

Google play forces updates like Windows 10

Anonymous Coward
in security on (#YVWF)
Microsoft recently copped flak over forcing users to accept Windows 10 updates. Some users have reported serious problems from Windows 10 updates which included system failure. Now Google is following the same path. Google Play now has a term in the licencing agreement which allows Google to force update any software on Android devices. Without root access most users will be SOL to block or fix problems.

The relevant text reads:
Updates. You may need to install updates to Google Play or related Google software that we introduce from time to time to use Google Play and to access or download Content. Content originating from Google may communicate with Google servers from time to time to check for available updates to the Content and to the functionality of Google Play, such as bug fixes, patches, enhanced functions, missing plug-ins and new versions (collectively, "Updates"). Your use of the Content you have installed requires that you have agreed to receive such automatically requested Updates. If you do not agree to such automatically requested and received Updates then please do not use the Google Play store or install this Content.

Full terms at:
Reply 11 comments

Ownership (Score: 1)

by on 2015-12-27 08:12 (#YW99)

Welcome to the world where you don't own your device. Your device is merely a convenient way for companies to sell more products to you. If it needs updating, they will do that for you, as, after all, it is really their device.

Re: Ownership (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-12-27 20:43 (#YXMT)

That is just depressing. Relying on someone else to patch my device? No.

Not really the same. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2015-12-28 17:35 (#Z02A)

I don't like Microsoft having that ability, because they screwed up the design of the operating system to allow crazy things to work that never should have worked, and are committed to maintaining that crazyness to keep old apps working on new versions of the OS. The problem with auto updates, is that Micrsoft isn't perfect in testing against all of the crazy workarounds they have in the OS, so each company really needs to be able to test and verify the updates first, to make sure it doesn't bork their computers.

Google doesn't have nearly as much craziness going on. Nothing on the scale of Microsoft. So, there is much less of a likely hood that they'll screw up my phone.

But conceptually, yes, giving a third party ( even the OS vendor) root access to update anything on the device is scary for security and privacy, I get that. I guess if you are already thinking you shouldn't trust google, you probably shouldn't be running Google Play Services in the first place, Stick to AOSP + Freedroid.

Re: Not really the same. (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-01-10 14:58 (#107NR)

What troubles me is the bait-and-switch nature of EULAs these days. I'm a big fan of Android and have a lot of time invested in the platform (curating my music and apps, for a start). If they introduce a term in the EULA that I object to at some point in the future, along with a "please don't use the platform if you don't want to comply" clause, my choices are either suck it up or stand by my value and abandon the platform - not an easy choice to make.
See also: "How to boil a frog"

Re: Not really the same. (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-01-11 11:09 (#10A25)

At a cost of hundreds of dollars. At least with Android you could switch to Cyan...

Re: Not really the same. (Score: 1)

by on 2016-01-11 11:58 (#10A6P)

Android doesn't have an EULA. You may have to agree to terms when linking your gmail account and first using the Play Store, but those things are optional. You can choose to use non-gmail accounts, and a 3rd party app store, without Google being involved at all, and never agreeing to their terms. The more intrusive part is OEM terms, which you can't always avoid. But since several companies make Android phones and tablets, you can shop around for the license you dislike the least.

On the other hand... (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2015-12-30 14:01 (#Z57B)

I'm no fan of Google taking this action, but I wonder if this is a "shot across the bow" aimed not at users but at the carriers, a first step towards Google becoming the provider of system updates rather Verizon, T-Mobile, et al. Android is suffering because the carriers almost never update the OS for a phone. This results in an extremely fragmented platform, and one that is extremely vulnerable to security issues. Apple products do not suffer from this because Apple is the provider of the system updates: if your hardware supports the new OS, you can install it, regardless of your carrier. It may be that the action described in TFA is Google is attempting to put themselves in that same position.

Re: On the other hand... (Score: 1)

by on 2015-12-31 14:41 (#Z8EM)

Well, updates on android are really done by a combination of the OEM and the carrier right now. OEM's share just as much blame. Apple somehow gets around this, but I'm not exactly sure how.

Just the Other Day (Score: 1)

by on 2016-01-22 18:24 (#11HHK)

I hate forced updates but, up until now, have only had to deal with that on my Playstations. This happened to me just the other day. I had long resisted giving out my personal information in order to use the Google Play app, for as long as I've had the Android phone, but I wanted a particular app, and could find no other way to get it on my phone. The minute I plugged my email address into Google Play, I got hit with a number of updates, and could do nothing about it. To top it off, I couldn't get the stupid app to work. By now, Google has undoubtedly scooped up all my contacts, and god knows what else. I swear, it's becoming very difficult to keep Google's tentacles out of all your shit. Do we really have to jailbreak Android now, too?

Re: Just the Other Day (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-01-28 23:10 (#126D6)

Every time I have purchased a new phone I have created a new gmail account. I then load the software I need from the google marketplace. Numbers get added as they are needed.

We should not have to jailbreak or crack anything. I purchased this device. I own this hardware. I can do what I want with it. If I do not have root access to my own device then something is seriously wrong.

Re: Just the Other Day (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-01-28 23:48 (#126FV)

My friend's kids got a PS4 and an Xbox for Christmas. They were so happy. Well. They were happy at the start of it. Neither of the machines worked when they pulled them out of the box and plugged them in. The xbox would not work. It required to be plugged into the internet just to start. At this point the excitement had died down a little. Half an hour later there were still issues trying to get the xbox connected to the internet. Then it connected but didn't do anything. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Eventually it was given up as a no go and they moved onto the PS4. From what I could tell, they eventually realised that the PS4 needed to connect to the internet. Right. Connected. Hooked up. Downloading started. Stopped. The machine died. The xbox never worked. Both were taken back to the shop for new ones. I am just really glad I wasn't there to experience seven kids finding out that their new games machines did not work. The new machines were taken out of the box at the shop by the techy who patched fixed or whatever was needed to get them working. Heck of a way to spend christmas day. Now the parents are leery of buying new games which require updates as they just do not want to deal with it again.