The Google Play Store has seemingly removed the UC Browser app from its online marketplace months after the Alibaba-owned browser was allegedly transmitting personal information of its users to a server located in China. Google, however, has yet to comment on the incident and it remains unclear whether or not UC Browser’s removal from the Play Store is related to the privacy issue facing the mobile browser.
A Twitter user who claims to be working for UC Browser posted what seemed like a clarifying statement, saying the browser’s dismissal from Google’s online marketplace is a temporary matter and will only last for a few days. The incident took place because of what the UCWeb employee claimed as deceptive ways of growing install stats by the browser. In a statement, the UC Browser developer also explained that the mobile browser’s expulsion from the Google Play Store is due to some settings of the mobile solution that did not conform with Google’s policy, adding that the removal is only for seven days starting on November 13. UCWeb also said it immediately addressed the problem following an internal probe it launched on the browser after receiving a notice from Google Play. The mobile browser has been sent back for review to Google Play's Developer Console, according to UCWeb, though it remains to be seen whether or not the issues raised by Google with the browser have been completely fixed.
Nonetheless, other UCWeb products such as the UC Browser Mini, an alternative version of the mobile browser, remains available to download from the Google Play Store. The official version of UC Browser is expected to be restored to the online marketplace next week, provided all of the problems found in its settings have been patched. Meanwhile, for users who want to download UC Browser, UCWeb has offered a link to a web page where the mobile browser can be sideloaded through an APK file. UC Browser was the subject of a controversy a few months ago after reports suggested that the app was being used to steal personal data of users in India, including location information, although UCWeb was quick to debunk the allegations.