We all know by now that Apple periodically purges the App Store of iPhone apps it deems inappropriate. But now Google recently admitted that it went one step beyond even that, when they quietly zapped some suspect Android apps right off the phones onto which they'd been installed.
Writing in the Android Developer's Blog, Android Security Lead Rich Cannings explained, "In cases where users may have installed a malicious application that poses a threat, we've also developed technologies and processes to remotely remove an installed application from devices. If an application is removed in this way, users will receive a notification on their phone."
The issue arose when Google discovered two free App market offerings that (in Google's eyes) deliberately misrepresented themselves to boost download counts. Though neither of the apps were determined to be real or potential malware — and the coder personally yanked the apps from the Market — Google still felt it prudent to perform a remote wipe of phones bearing the apps.
And unlike the Apple purges, which tend to be more, ahem, "moralistic" than anything else, Google's long-distant zapping had nothing to do with program content — and everything to do with perceived safety of the Android environment.