Although Google knows best how people use the internet, it also wants to dig a little deeper and monitor the app usage as well. It appears that the company is developing a new mobile apps that compensate users if they allow their mobile behavior to be monitored. From what we know, the project is called “Mobile Meter” and uses iOS and Android apps that intelligently monitor app usage and web browsing habits and send the data back to Google.
Google confirmed the development of the new apps later on, which it says are part of its Screenwise market research project that began rolling out last year. The Mobile Meter apps will replace an older method that allowed panelists to participate, helping Google measure media consumption across all screens but with more accurate results on mobile. Both the Android and iOS apps will be submitted to their relevant app stores in the near future, although only panelists will be able to actually use them. The company states that while there isn’t an open call for volunteers right now, it recruits for panels on an ongoing basis and compensation varies based on the panels people participate in.
The company already passively collects data to improve its apps and resources. The Google Maps app for example, regularly feeds back location metrics to enhance the service. Since Google won’t comment, we don’t know exactly which app and web metrics it intends to track with Mobile Meter. However, it will presumably enable the company to evaluate the different habits of Android and iOS users, gaining an important insight into Apple’s ecosystem. Google will anonymize all of the information it collects to ensure the privacy of its panelists. Given Facebook and Google’s previous mistakes, where private information was made public, Google will need to be transparent over how the opt-in service uses the data it gathers.
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