While it is a story bubbling under the surface, Google could be getting entangle in a scandal. It all stems from user complaints last week regarding Mountain View remotely enabling battery saver on Android devices. At the time, the company apologized, and the subject seemed to be dropped.
However, a report by Thurrott raises an interesting question. How was Google able to enable a system setting remotely, or more specifically why is the company doing this?
The idea is users enjoy a private experience on Android. Of course, that’s a pipedream, but gathering data is one thing, actively accessing Android devices without permission is another.
In its apology, Google did little to explain its actions:
“Hi all, some of you may have noticed that battery saver turned on automatically today,” a pots on Reddit explains. “This was an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended. We have now rolled battery saver settings back to default. Please configure to your liking. Sorry for the confusion.”
If you are unfamiliar with Battery Saver, it does what it says on the tin. It is an Android feature that starts automatically when a battery runs low. This is usually around 15% and limits performance and system capabilities. The idea is it leaves essential-only functions, such as calls.
It is a feature I happen to hate, but that’s for another day. It is worth noting that it is possible to disable Battery Saver in Android settings. However, Google was remotely accessing devices and triggering the feature.
Yes, this was only for a select subsection of users running the latest Android 9 Pie. Still, this shows the company not only has the ability to access devices remotely (hardly a surprise), but actively does and make changes in the process.