Google’s iOS apps might finally be starting to see updates after an unusually long break. The company’s YouTube app has received an update over the weekend, two months after the previous version. A lot of Google’s apps have been due updates for some time, with some Gmail users experiencing errors because Google had stopped updating its iOS apps.
Google’s App Store update log isn’t massively helpful about what fixes it has included in version 15.49.6 of the YouTube app. It simply states that the update “fixed bugs, improved performance, drank way too much coffee”. Not the most helpful of information. However it does suggest that Google is working on updates for its large suite of popular apps.
It had previously been suggested that Google was in crisis over Apple’s app store changes which require it to clearly state what apps use your personal data for. It’s not much of a secret that Google’s entire business model is selling ads that are highly personalised for users. The timing was suspicious with apps not getting updates after the new rules came into effect on December 8.
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However shutting down app updates before the Christmas holiday season isn’t unusual. With so many people off over the period, pushing out a potentially feature-breaking update just doesn’t make any sense. But the lack of updates throughout January was still a bit weird. The Gmail app, for example, still hasn’t been updated and the App Store has an alert stating the next version will need to be clear on app privacy.
There certainly is something weird going on over at Google though. The error messages seen by Gmail users suggest that the email app is way overdue for an update. Google ended up patching the servers to remove the “this app is out of date” message that some users saw when opening it. If nothing else, it suggests that the delay in updates is unusual, and unexpected from Google’s side. We’ll have to wait and see if other apps, like Gmail start to see updates soon.
Google published a blog post in January that reiterates its commitment to letting users control their privacy. And while it certainly does make money from your data, it also offers some of the clearest and simplest tools to manage what it stores.