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Google Apes iPhone, Adds Kill Switch To G1 Android Smartphone

Google has inserted a controversial feature that allows applications on Android Marketplace to be removed from a smartphone on demand, something that could come back and bite Google and its partners in the future.

The fineprints, unearthed by Nancy Gohring of Computerworld (opens in new tab), points to the possibility that Google could if deemed necessary remove an application from the user phone.

It explicitly says "Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement ... in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion".

From Google's perspective, it does make sense to have a fully functional kill switch since, unlike Apple, Google does not vet applications that will be made available on Android marketplace.

And should an application be zapped by Google's switch of death, it will make it utmost to recover and give back the purchase price of the product.

How this will be done remains a mystery. It will be interesting to see what the first killed application will be and how Google will react to it especially as the company will use its own judgement.

Ultimately, the Kill switch, like the Atomic bomb, is a tool of last resort which will be used to protect the end users and prevent or limit damage in the case of some widespread attack.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.