You may recall a small story last year involving Google, Huawei and the US government.
Truth be told that combination of companies were the face of many stories but we’re talking here about Huawei being added to the US government’s Entity List.
That list is rather important as it dictates whether a firm such as Google can do business with certain companies.
The crux of this affair is that Google can no longer do business with Huawei and that means no Google Mobile Services for Huawei devices.
While Huawei can still use Android, it cannot make use of Google Mobile Services. More than that however, Huawei is unable to make use of the Google Play Store and that’s a big deal.
“Play Protect certified devices go through a rigorous security review and compatibility testing process, performed by Google, to ensure user data and app information are kept safe. They also come from the factory with our Google Play Protect software, which provides protection against the device being compromised,” said legal director for Android and Play, Tristan Ostrowski in a statement.
The legal eagle goes on to say that because of Huawei’s inclusion on the Entity List, “device models made available to the public after May 16, 2019 have not been able to go through this security process nor will they have Play Protect preloaded.”
That means everything released before that date is “Play Protect Certified” but anything released after that date is not.
Now, while folks have been able to sideload certain applications and services in the past, Ostrowski has reiterated the dangers of doing this.
“Sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised. Sideloading Google’s apps also carries a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security,” said the legal director.
But Huawei hasn’t exactly been sitting on its hands waiting for the US government to change its mind. The Chinese behemoth has been hard at work developing Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) which our Robin-Leigh Chetty spoke to Huawei about recently.
With HMS coming down the pipeline, Huawei wouldn’t need Google to certify its apps are safe for users but whether folks would be willing to trust Huawei with their cyber-safety what with allegations of spying on the US government, remains to be seen.
For now though, we suggest following Google’s advice and avoiding side-loading apps where possible no matter what device you are using.