Google’s recent decision to start restricting third-party camera access in Android appears to be privacy-related.
Google made headlines when it was discovered that Android 11 would feature a major departure in how camera access was handled. Starting with that version, apps that want to take a photo or video will have to use the built-in camera, rather than any third-party camera. This would even apply when the user has selected a third-party camera as their default.
In a note on IssueTracker, Google’s engineering team confirmed this was intended behavior, saying “we believe it’s the right trade-off to protect the privacy and security of our users.”
According to The Verge’s Shawn Hollister, Google is specifically worried about EXIF location metadata, and this move is aimed at preventing third parties from abusing that information.
While this move will certainly impact a number of developers who make excellent third-party camera apps, it’s still nice to see Google taking additional steps to protect user privacy.