Google will limit third-party camera applications for security reasons on the Android 11 operating system
Third-Party Camera Apps will be limited by Android 11 OS – A change is being made to Android 11 by Google that will force apps that want to take photos or videos to use the phone’s built-in camera app – even if a user has made a different camera app, like OpenCamera, a standard choice for photos.
According to the Android engineering team, it was the right choice to protect users’ privacy and security, which they wrote on August 17, adding that each third-party camera app needs to be named explicitly, which calls the camera and which would be supported. Google’s reason for doing so is to prevent the user’s location from being tracked by evildoers.
This change is not drastic, the features of many cameras will still be the same. In this way, it is mirrored how the camera works on the iPhone. Alternative standards for third-party applications are allowed this year by Apple only for email and browser applications.
According to the two most popular developers of the third-party camera app, who said in a report that this move from Google is a disgrace. Business can be affected when third-party applications are given a low priority, according to one of the developers.
To understand what is being changed, what remains the same needs to be explained.
- A third-party camera app can still be opened and used directly when the icon is tapped on the home screen.
- Photos can still be taken with cameras in popular apps like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram.
- The power button can still be pressed twice (or similar shortcuts) to launch the camera application, based on the choice, which is confirmed by Google.
- The chosen camera application can still be started by the applications; photos and videos cannot be imported that way.
What’s changing: if the camera app needs to be used by Android apps – instead of roasting in its own camera app, it will be redirected to the phone’s built-in camera app instead of allowing the user to choose.
Now, the user’s location cannot be called home by the app. Its guidance was updated to developers by Google to explain what it is about, the company’s concern is with applications where photos can be requested so that the location can be tracked. When a photo is taken by a user: geotagging with the GPS coordinates, it occurs where the photo is taken by the user and that photo can be stolen by a non-camera application in a camera application, even if the location permission is not granted by the original application.
In 2019, GPS coordinates were collected from EXIF metadata by Shutterfly, for which it was accused and different tactics were tried by other apps to bypass Android’s permission system.
Originally, the author of the Android programming book, Mark Murphy, was so surprised by the new behavior that it was sent as a bug to Android engineers for confirming that it had been “intentional behavior”.
Before further explanation from Google, some of the biggest third-party application developers were asked about the change. According to the Camera FV-5 developer over 10 million downloads, this is the last battle that third-party camera application developers are facing, currently how to access the full complement of lenses or sophisticated features that are built into the New flashy phone for alternative apps is being allowed by OEMs like Samsung.
The application and third party applications will definitely be affected by the application, as visibility will be reduced and unnecessary friction will be added for the user who wants the third party application to be used, according to the FV-5 Camera developer, Flavio Gonzalez. In addition, Google’s workaround “made no sense”, according to the developer, since it is unlikely to be taken care of by most application developers in building support for third-party camera applications, similar to this one.
The restriction is no big deal, according to Footej Camera co-founder Stratos Karafotis. Furthermore, Google’s workaround made no sense to him. His favorite camera apps can still be used by his users, and he expects users to get used to it.
In the meantime, OpenCamera founder Mark Harman, a developer with over 10 million downloads, expects the camera app of his choice to be chosen directly by users on the Android home screen, rather than relying on the intention of another app. Unfortunately, this limits third-party camera apps and means that the built-in camera app cannot be completely replaced by that. It is a pity, in Mark Harman’s opinion, to take people’s choice. But, he didn’t seem concerned, earlier this week.
There is a curiosity as to whether Google needed to go this far. Why are not only bad camera apps repressed, those that share EXIF metadata, instead of repressing them all? Or developing an API to perhaps extract EXIF data? Why are the camera apps from Google, Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi more reliable than other apps from the Play Store? It may be another security or competition that Google is facing, but according to the search giant, the reason is to protect EXIF location metadata against abuse.
There is another initiative designed by Google to bring desirable features like Night Mode in the future to more camera applications, with OEMs like Samsung, LG, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Motorola being at least partially on board. ‘CameraX’ is its name, and perhaps third-party applications will feel more thirsty than the first in the future. Let’s see if the Android phone manufacturers are willing to borrow the most interesting camera features.