Google may soon start blocking app downloads from sources outside the Play Store

Google’s Advanced Protection Program (APP) is a new initiative by tech giant to protect the Accounts of those who are most at risk and this new program is expected to soon get a new protection feature specifically on Android devices that could block the sideloading apps as revealed by the latest update from Play Store.

According to 9to5Google blog, Google’s APP is expected to block sideloaded apps from the platform. 9to5Google spotted this new protection feature by decompiling the latest version of the application that Google recently updated to the Play Store. When various apps are decompiled, they display various lines of code that can give the viewers a hint about some new future features but these new features spotted may not ever be released by Google at all. So the insight developers get by decompiling these files is maybe imperfect but it provide the closest future features that are expected to be finished soon.

New feature of Google’s Advanced Protection Program

Here’s some insight on the Advanced Protection Program feature on how they’ll work and look just in case they ever launch in the future. The users of Google Account who also signed up for the Advanced Protection Program are provided some high level of security for their Google accounts and devices associated with them as well. In case of physical security, users are given protection by using a Titan Security Key and Digital security is considered the main priority for the Advanced Protection Program signed accounts and the members of this program are always warned before downloading any sort of risky files.

This week, Google Play Store was updated to version 17.8.14 and this new update revealed about the new safety feature that the APP will be adding soon and that is the app blocking feature. According to Kyle Bradshaw, APP will be adding a new feature that would block the apps from outside the Google Play Store to prevent the users from downloading malicious content on their devices. Well, this new feature sounds like that the users of the Play Store will be prevented by the Google Play Store from sideloading apps with this Advanced Protection Program new feature. After Digging into the code, this sideloading protection feature can be enforced on devices that have even one Advanced Protection account signed in. The blocking of new installs from unknown sources will be a feature for Advanced Protection Program users and users without this program will be allowed to install apps from sources outside the Play Store. The advanced protection feature requires additional scans from apps that are downloaded from outside the Play Store and the members of the Advanced Protection Program will be notified about any potential security threat from apps outside the Play Store.

Bottom Line

This feature of blocking sideloading apps seems somehow heavy-handed to us and we expect that Google should also provide some alternative methods for users that really need to download the Android apps not available in the Play Store. We think Google should require a scan of apps with Play Protect before allowing the install from outside sources instead of completely blocking the sideloaded apps. We are not sure when this new sideload blocking feature will go live but we are looking forward to it.

Big news: Google may soon start blocking app downloads from sources outside the Play Store
Photo: Stephen Lam / Reuters

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