While Android’s malware situation isn’t nearly as dire as some might want you to think, it is still important to pay attention to what apps your downloading and what permissions they require if you want to have the safest possible Android experience.
Of course, reading and understanding app permissions isn’t always a straightforward process. Thankfully, Google Play is making changes that are designed to further simplify this process. Basically, Google has done its best to remove long-winded technical explanations in order to provide descriptions that even an “average Joe” can understand.
You’ll also notice that there’s now a list of icons next to each permission type and a down arrow that allows you to expand the explanation a tiny bit. You’ll notice that every permission is pretty much in view by simply scrolling downward, but Google has now put the most crucial permission towards the top in order to “help you make an informed decision more easily on whether you would like to install the app.” Google has also removed the most common permissions away from the simplified view altogether.
What if you want a more detailed look at permissions? There’s two ways to do this. First, the Google Play web links in Chrome now have brought back “view permissions”. Secondly, you’ll find the same “Permissions: view details” link in the Google Play app’s listing by scrolling down towards the bottom.
For more details on Google’s changes to permissions, you’ll want to head on over to Google’s support page. For those that have yet to see the rollout of simplified permissions, you’ll want to make sure you’re on the latest version of Google Play store, which you can grab now by clicking on the following link and then manually install it.
What do you think of the latest change, a welcome one or not?
Update: As some have pointed out on Google+, this change isn’t new for everyone. In Google’s usual fashion, the simplified permissions were rolled out in stages with some lucky users getting this as early as a few weeks ago in version 4.8.19. Others were skipped when it came to the .19 rolllout, and these folks will instead get simplified permissions starting with 4.8.20 (the version found in the link above).