Google's Message To U.S. Huawei Device Users: Do Not Use The Side Door To Install Google Apps

Google published a support article on Friday clarifying that was still working with Huawei to provide security and app updates to older devices. New devices, however, would not have access to Google apps and services. (Photo: Fred Dufour, AFP via Getty Images)

Google wants to clear things up for Huawei device users: Google’s apps and services cannot be preloaded on new Huawei devices and are not available in the U.S. due to government restrictions. If users try to download Google apps and services through a side door, or essentially download them from somewhere other than the Play Store, bad things can happen.

The company published this information in a support article for its Android Help Community, titled “Answering your questions on Huawei devices and Google,” on Friday. It said that it had continued to receive many questions on whether Google services could work on new Huawei devices, and therefore wanted to offer guidance. The U.S. government banned Google, and all American companies, from doing business with Huawei in May of last year due to national security concerns.

In the article, Google stated that it has continued to work with Huawei to provide security updates and updates to Google’s apps and services on Huawei device models available to the public on or before May 16, 2019. That’s when the company was placed on the Entity List, the U.S. government’s blacklist. The U.S. government has issued temporary general licenses that allow Google to collaborate with Huawei on these models.

Google said that it would continue to provide updates to the Huawei devices mentioned above “as long as it is permitted.”

The company cannot provide updates to new Huawei devices made available after May 16, 2019. These new models are not certified Play Protect devices, or devices that are vetted by Google to ensure they are secure, and they do not have the Play Protect software preloaded. Google’s Play Protect software is built-in malware protection for Android.

“To protect user data privacy, security and safeguard the overall experience, the Google Play Store, Google Play Protect and Google’s core apps (including Gmail, YouTube, Maps and others) are only available on Play Protect certified devices,” wrote Tristan Ostrowski, Android and Play legal director.

“Play Protect certified devices go through a rigorous security review and compatibility testing process, performed by Google, to ensure user data and app information are kept safe. They also come from the factory with our Google Play Protect software, which provides protection against the device being compromised.”

However, there is another way to get Google apps and services. This is called sideloading, or downloading an app from some place other than the Play Store. In the article, Google advises users not to do this, for their own security.

“In addition, sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised. Sideloading Google’s apps also carries a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.”

Unfortunately for Huawei device users, the situation between the U.S. and Huawei doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The U.S. government has recently claimed that it has proof that Huawei has “back doors” built-in that allow it to spy on mobile phone networks employing Huawei equipment. It also charged Huawei with three new crimes: conspiracy to steal trade secrets, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and racketeering conspiracy.

At least for now, it looks like new Huawei device users will have to get used to living life without Google.

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