Google is apparently cracking down on third-party apps in the Play Store that allow users to save Snapchat photos without alerting the sender their snap was saved. While some of these apps are still listed in Google Play, many popular options have been removed, angering developers.
Snapchat’s usefulness comes from its ability to share photos and videos securely and ephemerally. Third-party Snapchat apps that save photos defy Snapchat’s mission and one can see why Snapchat would like these apps removed. But looking at Google Play’s terms of service reveals that these third-party apps have been violating the Play Store’s policies by accessing another app “in an unauthorized manner.”
“You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Market to sell or distribute Products outside of the Market.”
Snapchat may be pressuring Google to remove these types of apps after 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers were exposed last month. The company has been under scrutiny for its poor security practices since. New security measures like a ghost-based captcha system were implemented but proved ineffective after a programmer created a program to thwart the system in 30 minutes.
Still, it doesn’t explain why some Snapchat photo saving apps are still listed in the Play Store. Perhaps this marks the beginning Google’s crackdown on these types of apps. It also appears that iOS users are safe from this crackdown as third-party Snapchat apps have been left alone in the App Store.