The mysterious behaviour of tech-giant Google over its arbitrary regulation of Android apps has yet again come to the fore as Play Store seems to have succumbed to Chinese pressure and has removed two rival apps which had posed a challenge to the Chinese apps.
‘Mitron’ – the popular alternative for TikTok, which was developed by a Pakistan-based software development company Qboxus and later purchased by an Indian student and another app – ‘Remove China Apps’ have been removed from the Google Play Store after the two apps became a direct threat to Chinese apps that were being used in the country.
Interestingly, the tech giant has not confirmed why the app was removed from the play store and whether it will be available again or not.
Mitron app’s source code issue
‘Mitron’, which was touted as the alternative for the controversial Chinese app – TikTok, had seen a large number of downloads in the last few days. However, it has been removed from the Google Play Store as it posed a threat to the Chinese app. At the time of removal, the app had over 5 million downloads.
It is being reported that the app was taken down for being repetitive and offering the same content and experience which is already being provided by another app.
In its spam and minimum functionality page, Google claimed, “We don’t allow apps that merely provide the same experience as other apps already on Google Play. Apps should provide value to users through the creation of unique content or services.”
Pakistan connection to Mitron app
Reportedly, Mitron app was first developed by a Lahore-based company named Qboxus. The Pakistan-based company had created an app called TicTac, similar to TikTok. Later, the app was later rebranded in India as ‘Mitron’ whose source code was purchased from a website called CodeCanyon.
According to Irfan Sheikh – the founder of Qboxus, the owners who purchased the source code from them have not made changes to the original app. Interestingly, Mitron has no customisations and is a direct copy of TikTok clone app called TicTac, said Sheikh.
The QBoxus team has claimed that the TicTac app was actually created by them before putting up the source code of the app on sale. The source code was reportedly purchased by an IIT Roorkee student, Shivank Agarwal, who rebranded the app into Mitron.
‘Remove China Apps’ also taken down from Play Store
Another application ‘Remove China Apps’, which had gained popularity in India in recent weeks has also been removed from the Google Play Store. The app allowed users to detect and easily delete apps developed by Chinese firms.
More than one million people in India had installed the application on their phone to delete Chinese apps present on their smartphone.
The app, developed by Indian firm OneTouch AppLabs, had gained popularity in the country at a time when there is a rising anti-China sentiment among many citizens as tensions between two countries has escalated in recent days over border stand-off.
However, the Google intervened on Tuesday to remove the app from its Play Store after millions of Indians had downloaded the app.
The developer of the app – Jaipur based OneTouchAppLabs announced on Twiter that their app has been suspended from Play store. The firm are not aware of why Google removed the app from Play Store.
If a user has already downloaded the ‘Remove China Apps’ application on their phone it will still work for you, but new downloads cannot be made.
Google bats in favour of Chinese app – ‘TikTok’
Earlier, the tech-giant Google had come to the rescue of controversial Chinese social media platform TikTok by deleting millions of negative reviews from its Play Store, in an attempt to improve the rating of the application.
Google had removed nearly than 7 million negative reviews for TikTok which has ultimately improved its rating. On May 20, the ratings of the controversial app had plunged to 1.3 stars after millions of social media users had massively downrated the Chinese app for enabling its users to promote and glorify various horrific crimes and anti-Hindu propaganda.
However, a week later on May 28, the app had only 20 million reviews on the Play Store, indicating that Google had removed close to 7 million negative reviews reported against the Chinese app. The ratings of the app were upgraded to 4.4 stars from 1.3 stars a week before.