back to article Google wants to look like it cares about your privacy with Android 12 Beta 2, but note that's not how Google works

Android 12 Beta 2 is here and contains many of the features that were teased during May's Google I/O shindig including an overhauled control panel and additional privacy tools. The company's feted Privacy Dashboard has made an appearance: designed to give end users an overview of how apps interact with the more sensitive …

  1. Youngone Silver badge

    Still, it's this or iOS...

    I'm hoping one of the Linux phone OS' mature to the point they become competition, but I don't know if it will ever happen.

    I have ubports installed on a Nexus 6p I own, and it is at the point where it can make calls and send texts and do several other useful things quite well, but it is lacking several apps I need. It may always lack those apps, which is a shame.

    Still, I am going to buy a Pinephone at some point, even if it is just to give them some money and encouragement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still, it's this or iOS...

      I bought a Pinephone. The software is mostly not too bad (and will improve), but the hardware is severely underpowered. They need to use a SoC with at least 4x the raw speed.

      1. Kettle3D

        Re: Still, it's this or iOS...

        Pricewise, if you compare it to other phones...

    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      It's all about the apps, stupid

      We all learnt, some years ago, that it is all about the apps. I was heavily involved in the Maemo, MeeGo and Sailfish communities, and I watched Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone closely. I have even tried, and contributed to, Replicant and /e/. All of those have failed because we don't choose phones on openness, security, privacy and software architecture or even on price, size or features. We choose based on apps. Or, at least, thousands of apps are a minimum buying consideration for all users, wherever they are in the world.

      I, personally, would probably still be using Sailfish as my daily driver if Jolla had not decided to only support Sony devices (I have not done any business with Sony after the rootkit). But that would have been because I am in a tiny minority of people who value openness higher than functionality and I would be willing to live without my banking app, etc.

      But, around a year ago, I admitted defeat and bought an iPhone as my daily driver. I am willing to trust Apple's privacy much, much more than Google's - mainly because they use it as a competitive differentiator so have a strong incentive to keep it reasonably strong. Of course, that doesn't mean I trust it very far - I only have a small number of apps installed and I certainly don't store anything in iCloud. But it means that I can, and do, install some useful apps (like my bank's app).

      And I use /e/ on some other devices I use for special purposes (DLNA media controllers, Ordnance Survey app, etc). The problem will be when apps insist on upgrades to the latest version which only works on the latest Android.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: It's all about the apps, stupid

        Agree with every single point you made. Like many other things in life, for phones the realistic choices available to us are determined by the weight of choices made by others.

  2. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Another feature introduced at Google I/O, Material You automatically customises the colour palette used throughout the operating system based on the wallpaper used

    I hope you can turn it off. It's annoying AF on Windows.

    1. Kettle3D

      Didn't windows 8 change that? Or am I a little behind on the windows updates? Has Cupertino gone for a Windows 7 look again?

  3. Chris G

    Do not track

    I am much more interested in Cannot track.

    When will they be introducing that feature?

    NB: Won't be holding my breath waiting for it.

  4. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C
    Big Brother

    Location Services

    Does Big Brother still require that Location Services is switched on to access Bluetooth?

    1. AIBailey

      Re: Location Services

      As I sit here listening to music on Bluetooth headphones, with location services switched off, I must admit I'm confused by your comment.

      1. PTW

        Re: Location Services

        Android requires location services to be enabled to "scan for" [read connect to] BLE devices, cos "reasons" - mainly being BLE beacons in shops, etc.

        Obvs. icon for that whole can of spying, tracking, BS

      2. Kettle3D

        Re: Location Services

        NZ's covid tracer app says it needs Location Services for Bluetooth contact tracing, I think it has to do with what you're using Bluetooth for, but audio output is not a case that needs location services.

        1. Chris G

          Re: Location Services

          My Android 10 phone requires location services to be on whenever I turn on Bluetooth, something I only ever use to interrogate my solar PV system. Next time I use it I will try disabling location after turning bluetooth on, just to see what happens.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iOS or Android. It really is a choice between one shit sandwich or the other, where the only difference is between artisan spelt bread or ordinary bread.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still, it's this or iOS

    or, in my case, 6.0.1. But hey, why should I care about updates, if the brand don't care? I'm VERY happy with my handset and I'm pretty sure it will last a good few more years, as long as battery holds :)

    1. Kettle3D

      Re: Still, it's this or iOS

      Or you could start a new phone brand that uses Linux and KDE mobile, I'd like to see that.

      Maybe it would be able to run off a bootable SD card...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still, it's this or iOS

        You mean something like ?

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: Still, it's this or iOS

          That's AN0M, isn't it? Feature for feature -- right down to the Made Wholly in USA (by FBI).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    your privacy is important to us

    Google aren't lying; they care very much about your privacy. If you stopped giving it to them, how would they make money?

  8. adfh

    They talk of advertising ID block, but what about phone info?

    I read that they were talking about blocking the advertising ID as allegedly being a privacy improvement...

    Meanwhile, how many apps ask for access to phone information to use handset identifiers and subscriber numbers instead?

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