GOOGLE HAS confirmed that it isn’t going to stop developers from using the Android Accessibility Service, at least for now.
The tech giant had previously announced that it would be limiting the use of the service to actual needs of people with special access needs and blocking the many apps that use it to add functionality for the general population.
However, after users and developers kicked off, primarily because some of the biggest apps on the market would lose their functionality, Google has confirmed a moratorium of 30 days while it considers “responsible and innovative uses of accessibility services.”
This doesn’t mean that it’s open season, but instead told developers, “If you believe your app uses the Accessibility API for a responsible, innovative purpose that isn’t related to accessibility, please respond to this email and tell us more about how your app benefits users. This kind of feedback may be helpful to us as we complete our evaluation of accessibility services.”
Really this all comes down to Google being slow at equipping other APIs with the same functionality to do this job. Accessibility has the ability to turn off apps if they’re proving power hungry for example. There’s no workaround for that but its a perfectly legitimate thing to want to be able to do.
Although the decision to change the rules was, we assume, made for security reasons, which no one can argue with, the lack of alternatives has given Google some negative feedback it simply wasn’t geared for.
Thing is, what might end up happening is that when Google adds this functionality, it may go the whole hog and write a replacement for some of the more popular apps like Join, LastPass and Tasker.
This is all well and good, but any new APIs will probably won’t be retro-added to existing versions of Android and as we all know, Android doesn’t get updated that quickly.
As such these apps will be needed for some considerable time to come, so Google needs to find a way of appeasing those developers before it continues with the crackdown.