Google can kill your phone whenever…


Most will remember a day not long ago when Apple fanboy’s rose up in viral protest about Apple’s disclosure of having a kill switch embedded in the iPhone to remotely disable malicious applications. Well while Apple hides behind its 10 foot wall of privacy, Google has decided on a much more forthright approach. “Hidden” yet perfectly viewable in the About Phone section of the Android software is a non to discreet statement that gives Google the right to remove applications that may be malicious in nature.

“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,'”

At first glance the immediate reaction is why does Google want to kill my phone? Privacy advocates are probably foaming at the mouth over this news but the reality is quite different. With the G1 being open source we will not only see the ingenunity of the open market but also the possibility of malicious designs. Props to Google for being straightforward and acting like a responsible parent who will take appropriate action when necessary.

The lack of oversight regarding approval for the Android market of course means these applications can make their way onto your phone before being discovered as trouble and that begs the question, then what? Google can remotely kill the application, but what about any lasting damage to the phone, if any? Google says it will do everything in its power to ensure a refund is awarded from a developer should the application be removed.

On the lighter side of Android market news today, Google also includes a notation about being able to try and refund an application within 24 hours. That is great news for applications that may come sans a trial version. I know with regards to applications from the iPhone App store I would have refunded nearly 90% of what I downloaded within 24 hours!

With the idea that the market will be free from oversight I would have to say that the killswitch isn’t all that troublesome. If I were Google developers I too would want a way to remotely disable an application that may be used to take control of G1’s across the world beginning the quick path to world domination by Robots.

Via Computer World

Tags: ,

  • Kevman420

    Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

  • SheShe

    I was worried when I saw the title but that’s good!

  • T1 Connect

    na son this is a good thing i asked a couple of posts back about how google would stop someone from putting a virus in the phone

  • Ezra

    This phone just gets better and better

  • g willi

    I just checked UPS and Tmo has submitted the shipping info to USP for my G1!!!!! No estimated delivery date yet, but I can’t wait!! I might have to ‘work from home’ the day it’s scheduled for delivery! :-)

  • MxYoung

    The demos are kool and the collaterall they sent us is pretty huge but we’ll have to wait to see it first hand in the store, maybe the marketings huge to make up for what the phone can’t do on its own?

  • ras8206

    i just got my g1 tattoo lastnight word

  • kujoe

    Am I the only one that noticed that Google says they’ll try to help get you a refund, even though the app store is currently free? I guess this means that they are indeed planning on monetizing the app store…

  • Alex

    I dont see this as a bad thing considering that the first thought I had in mind is that since it is “open source” there are going to be people out there that want to cause havok and this would be the operfect platform for it. I commend google on these efforts for perfection!

  • My G1 is scheduled for a Monday delivery. So excited!

  • david

    Personally – Having a UPS “Billing/Shipping” of 10/14/08 without a delivery date is VERY poor customer Service. Here it is 3 days later and still no update just a “round and round we go” as UPS points you to T-mobile and T-mobile points you to UPS…I know just letting of steam…I want my G1’s, yep two of them…I prefer NO information until shipping date known, hard to plan otherwise, as to what day to be HOME!!!!!!!!!!!


    Nice spin you put on that. I cant wait to ready all the positive comments about android and google when they want to stick a knife in your eye, I can see the posts now:

    Wow, this so cool now that google has poked my eye out, I thought having stereo vision was to much of a hassle anyway!

    Man, I sure am glad google poked my eye out, cause every one needs an eye poked out and google will do it for FREE!

    Come on everybody join me and get you eye poked out too, I mean why on earth you would want 2 eyes!

    google is evil, android in nothing but spyware itself, no need for a virus. All this is just to protect android from programs that would STOP android from spying on you. Get a clue folks, your being taken.

  • Alex

    Well, what part of, “you will have it by the 22nd” dont you understand?! Its your fault for getting so excited and thinking that you are going to get the phone earlier because you are some special dude to Tmobile. Give me a break, expectations like that only lead to disappointment.

  • Alex


  • Yaniv

    I specifically asked this same question a few days ago, a number of people commented on how they thought it would be done, I guess T-Mobile understood that it was a necessity. With an open platform comes open territory….. for good …. and for bad. Remember…. we cant have TOTALLY open or we will have TOTAL chaos. I loooooooooooove the idea of getting a refund within 24 hours of purchase. I cant tell ya how many times I bought something just to realize it SUCKED.
    Fortunately Im a developer, so now …. Ill be writing my own apps! WOOT WOOT!
    Now….. if only UPS would update my delivery date…. Miami Beach here and still “Not Available” is showing up. Contacted TMo and they said not to worry, I ordered my phone on the 23rd (launch day) so I am GUARANTEED to have it by Wednesday she said :( WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ….. please update me.

  • david

    WOW Alex, did not try to upset you…I never said anything about 22nd only having a UPS Billing/Shipping date of 10/14/08 and three days go by without any update is VERY poor customer service. Having a date of 10/22/08 would have been wiser…was all I was saying…BTW, one now states Status: In Transit – Rescheduled
    Rescheduled Delivery: 10/21/2008
    Shipped To: PACIFICA, CA, US
    Shipped/Billed On: 10/14/2008
    Service: 3 DAY SELECT

    with the other still no update………

    Now I know one will be here…………!!!!!!!!!

  • SheShe

    @david I’m with u one of my lines is in transit the other has billing info recieved sine the 14th … I don’t want to miss work 2 days to stay and get the phones

  • Madison

    i was terrified when i saw that title, i wont lie.
    but this is genius, virus’ on my phone? NO thanks

    & just be patient, it takes awhile im sure to get it
    in the system. you know how many people preordered this
    along with all the other deliveries. patience.

  • g willi

    Hey, nogoogle, check your tin foil hat at the door, please.

  • Timmydale

    @ ras8206 You got a tattoo? I wanna see

  • T1 Connect

    yanno nogoogle sounds like iphone lover is back

  • Yaniv

    hey nogoogle, you’re totally wrong. And I CAN SAY THAT as a Microsoft AND Java developer. Apple has a closed software alliance with their developers. And with all due respect, THAT IS NOT ABNORMAL… Apple is in business to make money, not friends. TMo and Google are revolutionizing the way applications are made available to the end user. However, SOMEONE has to mitigate and oversee whats going on. Otherwise its just chaos. TMo is not doing anything out of the ordinary, in fact it has been AMAZING at what its currently offering its clients. Even the data usage cap was quasi lifted. No other provider comes close to what TMo is giving. But I forgot.. you dont mind paying for aphone plan + data plan + text messaging + your first born child for a sub par experience (which is EXACTLY what AT&T gives its clients).
    So with that said…… you smell funny!

  • Kevman420

    @T1 @DATCHYK @ WuttaCutie

    Gonna create a Forum Login..
    See you all in the Forums…
    It shows when online and more…

    Of course I will still be posting here I dont think we will ever reach over 500 comments again…


    Yes, I agree after reading more they need to have some control within so they can stop malicious bunk..

    I do want the lighter app though like I just saw on the iPhone!!! LOL Just a lighter.. you light up…

  • Don


    Data cap wasnt lifted, just raised to 10GB

  • SheShe

    Yay finally got the date on my line woot

  • Yaniv

    @Don, well 10 is still MUUUUCH better the 1…. even tho lord knows Ill be passing 10 too lol

  • T1 Connect

    ive never used the forums tho i have a user id and password for a couple of months i cant understand them.

  • Lance Romance

    i dont even wanna go to the forums man..

    @t1 how do you setup so they will email you notifications

    send the answer to if you will

  • Lance Romance

    for all those who were in the section that got closed to comments because there were too many… continue convos here :

    if you dont have an account make one please

  • D

    Got my G1 2 days ago and i love it.

  • Yaniv

    2 DAYS AGOO?!?!?!? 2 DAYS AGO?!?!?!?!
    ARGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! HELP MEEEEEEE!!! I Cant even get a UPS update and this person gets theirs 2 days ago!!!!

  • D

    There are a few minor things I had to adjust to but overall I loved it, I cant put it down, there are some cool applications for using songs on you SD card and making ring tones. the phone is super easy to use.

  • Kevman420

    It is hard to navigate and a blog chat like this is so much easier…gosh and everyone loves it…

  • T1 Connect

    @kevman son come to the forums there is information galore over here im learning right now but everyone is coming over slowly come look.

  • BlurMagic

    Word To Your Mothhhhheerrrr

    My G1 Is on it’s wayyyy

    Package Progress
    Location Date Local Time Description
    KY, US 10/17/2008 3:41 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
    10/17/2008 12:08 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN

    Tracking results provided by UPS: 10/17/2008 4:01 P.M. ET

  • USCmed

    rock on blur, mine has been in transit after it departed hodgkin illinois since 4 am on the 16th and still no word. thats probably a good thing though since its coming all the way to cali. slowly but surely although im not getting it today, bummer.

  • Rccarroll1

    Why is everybody copy and pasting ups info like we care? The only info we care about is our own shipping info, and mine will be here Tuesday :)

  • Bsands

    Just checked UPS delivery on monday from ky. Now I am getting excited\anxious for it to be in my hands.

  • SiliconAddict

    Wow. Worst title evar. Google can’t kill your phone. They can kill apps ON your phone. Slight difference. *rolls eyes*

  • J

    Some of the apps will cost and some might be free. I believe it really depends on the developer. If you want to create an app and give it out, i believe you can do that. If you want to make a few bucks off it, then thats ok too.

  • JBLmobileG1

    So all the apps are free? Does this mean PacMan is on the phone already or is it a free download on the apps site? Same question for the barcode scanner. Anyone can answer please?

  • googlecankillmyphone

    So they can remotely go into your phone when ever they want too? That’s wack!! Thats like dell saying that they can remotley look into your computer to look for copy write infringments * yes thats right if you have a song or two from a p2p sight are they going to erase that. “”” seriously reconsidering the g1 “””” ebay here mine comes . . maybe

  • googlecanhackmyphone

    So am I the only person here that isnt carring water for t-mobile?? That article says that google at its discretion can delete apps off your phone!! So if they can go into you phone and delete apps what else can they do OR SEE Im sorry but im not selling my privacy away for 340 bucks!

  • googlecanhackmyphone

    Just wondering why my comment is taking so long to post and why my other one was deleted. If this site cannot be truely objective and pretty much not allow anyone to bad mouth t-mobile or this new development than you should say so

  • Iasthai

    My phone is sitting in Dallas as we speak. Scheduled for delievry Monday! So stoked!! This is the first time I’ve actually looked forward to a Monday in a while.

  • googlecanhackmyphone

    If Google thinks they can just go in my phone I have another thing to say about that! That is an invasion of my personal papers! Smart people tell me what constitutional right is that? I will not hesitate to file a class action lawsuit if Google thinks they can just hack into my phone ( personal papers)

  • proton_decay

    I can’t believe that the majority of the posts don’t address the subject, but are instead gushing about UPS delivery dates etc. I have a G1 ordered, and am looking forward to having it in hand, but this revelation disturbs me greatly. The remote kill switch goes against the core principles of the free software movement. It isn’t enough that Google’s theme is “Do no evil”, and that we should therefore trust them with that level of control because they are “good”. Even if we trust the good intentions of Google, the existence of a remote kill switch, or back door, is a security vulnerability in itself.

  • OK_WOW

    Ok, WOW if they can go into your phone and detect and remove a program, what else can they do?

    I do not think any one of us want to walk around with malware and viruses on our phones, but the real question is what all do they have access to? If I do not want someone scanning the data on my phone shouldn’t I be able to opt out? Are they going to be able to go through all of my photos, notes to my girl friend, music, links or whatever the heck else I have on the phone without my permission?

    Well we will look at the Android source and see, that is if this part of the source is open.

    If it turns out they are scanning the phone that is BAD.

    If it turns out they are just keeping track of what you downloaded and just sending a command to your phone to remove something bad based on their database, then that is not as bad.

    Just remember, if Google can scan, then someone else can as well!

  • googlecanhackmyphone

    Yeah I cant believe there is no uproar about this either. I will keep a close eye on this as I will just sell my phone on ebay ift they can just go into my phone. The people on this website are like sheep

  • cyberjr

    they all are setting in louisville and dallas and denver.

    NO SUCH KILL SWITCH EXISTS. AT least according to HTC rep that has been using the phone for weeks. he developed training programs for dealer, etc.

  • cyberjr

    they are liar’s if they got the phone already….