Days after crossing millions of downloads in India, the popular Google Play Store app "Remove China Apps" has been taken down by the tech giant.
The app gained popularity in the last couple of weeks amid the apparent rising tensions between the Chinese and Indian troops along the Line of Actual Control or LAC. Following this #BoycottChina #BoycottChineseApps began trending on social media and the calls for giving up Chinese products were made by many including Sonam Wangchuk, whose work inspired Vidhu Vinod Chopra's 3 Idiots.
But now Google has taken it down from its app store. This was conveyed in a tweet by the Jaipur-based app developer "One Touch AppLabs" on Wednesday.
"Dear Friends, Google has suspended our #RemoveChinaApps from google play store. Thank you all for your support in past 2 weeks.
"You Are Awesome"," the account wrote.
Dear Friends,Google has suspended our #RemoveChinaApps from google play store.Thank you all for your support in past 2 weeks."You Are Awesome"TIPIts easy to find the origin of any app by searching on googleby typing < AppName > origin countryStay Tuned !! Stay Safe!!— onetouchapplabs (@onetouchapplabs) June 2, 2020
This was also pointed out by several Twitter users. Google suspends applications that violate its Play Store's policies. A report in Tech Crunch said the app was suspended as it violated Google Play Store’s Deceptive Behaviour Policy. The report further noted that under such a policy, the app cannot make changes to the user's device settings or features outside the app without the user's knowledge and consent nor it could "encourage" the app to remove or disable third-party apps.
Notably, Mitron App, India's answer to TikTok, was earlier suspended for violating the Spam and Minimum Functionality developer policies under the Google Play Store, reported CNBC-TV18.
INDIA: Viral mobile app with a 4.9 rating, called 'Remove China Apps', becomes unavailable on the Google Play Store. pic.twitter.com/pnsCJW8SBK— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) June 2, 2020
Upset by the app removal, Indians came out in numbers and questioned Google's move. Many others tagged Google's CEO Sundar Pichai to express their displeasure.
8 million negative reviews of @TikTok_IN deleted from @GooglePlay Store.#RemoveChinaApps removed from Play Store.@TikTok_IN rival app @Mitronapp removed from Play Store. Is @GooglePlay working under Chinese control??#BoycottChineseApp #BoycottChina #GooglePlayStore— Jagannath Nayak (@jagannath_nayak) June 3, 2020
Why Google cheating to india...https://t.co/upO00GFvUd removed nearly 8million ratings of tiktok. 2.remove china apps application is not visible in Google play store.3.what next ???@Google@GooglePlay https://t.co/h1ALVjgprL— Ramesh Nagireddy 🇮🇳 (@ram_nagireddy) June 3, 2020
Play store become puppet of China#RemoveChinaApps pic.twitter.com/wQ6oKFLmTJ— Prasad Kolage (@KolagePrasad) June 2, 2020
@googleplay @sundarpichai @GoogleIndia why you removed #RemoveChinaApps from Playstore? I can't understand the logic. You also managed the ratings of TikTok by removing 7million reviews. Why are so biased in favour of China?— Gaurav Kumar (@IndiGK1) June 2, 2020
Google play store is working for china only:1. Removed around 8M negative reviews to increase tik-tok review rating.2. Now deleted "remove china app" from play store.कितने में बिके हो बे!!!#GooglePlayStore— Diksha Jain (@Dikshaj20) June 2, 2020
Verify which policy is violated. Only a app which compiles list of apps is also fine and wont violate terms and conditions AFAIK. Bring up an alternative asap. Don't let this movement die.— Ishan Patel (@iatpatelishan) June 2, 2020
Just upload it with different name, specifing china is targetted harrasment and please share a link of apk.— पातालेश्वर (@Paataaleshwar) June 2, 2020
Upload with new name Remove Sugar Apps— 🇮🇳ना सम्मान का मोह, ना अपमान का भय (@rs_d_dissector) June 2, 2020
While several others shared apk links to get access to the app. As the name suggests, "Remove China Apps" did exactly what it was intended to do.
Once you opened the app, it scanned the apps on your device for their China origin and gave you an option to select and delete them as per your will.
The app gained popularity in the days that followed and Indians who used the app to dump out Chinese apps, shared screenshots on Twitter.