Google released a support article on Friday evening, intended to explain the current situation with Huawei. The US government banned US companies from dealing with the Chinese hardware maker last year. “Google is prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google’s apps including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, the Play Store and others for preload or download on these devices,” wrote Tristan Ostrowski, legal director for Android and Google Play, in a post spotted by 9to5Google.
Google says there’s still plenty of uncertainty around what’s going on — and specifically which apps are subject to Google’s services ban. “We have continued to receive a number of questions about new Huawei devices (e.g., new models launching now, or earlier models launched after May 16, 2019, but now becoming available in new regions of the world) and whether Google’s apps and services can be used on these devices. We wanted to provide clear guidance to those asking these important questions.”
The report also includes some of the most specific comments from Google on the Huawei saga. The company is trying to get rid of weighing in on whether Huawei presents any threat to US national security, which is the case with the insistence of intelligence agencies and policymakers. “Our focus has been protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei devices around the world.”
Ostrowski wrote. We have continued to work with Huawei, in compliance with government regulations, to provide security updates and updates to Google’s apps and services on existing devices, and we will continue to do so as long as it is permitted. To be clear: US law currently allows Google to only work with Huawei on-device models available to the public on or before May 16, 2019. ”
Huawei products released on or before May 16, 2019, may continue to receive such updates — for the moment. So, anything that came later is deemed “uncertified” because Google was unable to bring those devices through its “rigorous” security checks or preload them with Google Play Protect software, which can monitor when hardware has been infected.
But for consumers with newer Huawei mobile phones, Google does have an alert: don’t try to sideload YouTube, Gmail, and other Google Play Store apps on those unapproved phones and other devices. Since the company can’t promise they’re the real deal or malware-free.
Having said that, “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 carry a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.”
Google is trying to prevent this side of politics, while curtly preventing people from leaving a backdoor to retain access to popular services. Ostrowski ends the support article by explaining how to see if the Android device you’re using is Google Play Protect certified. “To check if your device is certified, open the Google Play Store app on your Android phone, tap “Menu” and look for “Settings.” You will see if your device is certified under “Play Protect certification.”