Google cracks down on Mitron app popular in India – here's why

Google has cracked down on Mitron, the app that sought to own the made-in-India tag in the video creation and sharing space to compete with TikTok. The app, which got a lot of downloads, was pulled off Play Store because Google felt it was violating its spam and minimum functionality policy. 

According to Google's policy on apps, copying content from other apps without any changes or value addition is a violation. “We do not allow apps that merely provide the same experience as other apps already on Google Play. Apps should provide value to users through the creation of unique content or services,” the policy says. 

However, things went southwards from the time CNBC-TV18 reported that Mitron was a rebadged mobile application created using the source code purchased from a Pakistani software development company Qboxus for a mere $34 or approximately Rs.2,500. 

While there is nothing unethical about acquiring the script for an application and using in completely to build another product, the problem was that the users claimed that it was a Made in India app at a time when the popular TikTok was facing a backlash from Indian users over a conflict between two YouTubers. 

When TikTok bore the brunt

Things got out of hand as Indian users of TikTok started leaving the lowest ratings on Google Store which resulted in the app's overall ratings reducing from 4.5 to 1.5 for a brief while before Google once again stepped in. 

For three weeks, phrases like BanTikTok, DeleteTikTok, and BlockTikTok that were trending on Twitter in India against the Chinese giant ByteDance's app. Google's spokesperson said the company removed millions of negative TikTok reviews from Indian users after which the ratings reverted to where it used to be. 

Mitron hits the right notes

It was around this time that Mitron suddenly surfaced out of the blue and was presented as an app developed by an Indian engineer from IIT Roorkee in Uttarakhand state. The app quickly gained popularity as a possible competitor to TikTok, which was also being viewed as a Chinese app and therefore not acceptable in the wake of the ongoing Sino-Indian border skirmishes. 

Several influencers on social media had endorsed the Mitron app for its credentials as made in India, which unfortunately didn't hold to scrutiny. With Google now cracking down on the app, it looks like Mitron love story has ended disgracefully. 

What we found

At Techradar India, we had raised concerns about the Mitron app earlier as it did not have any security policy and the developer's webpage was blank. While the contact details of the domain owner appeared to be in sync, nothing else was. Which makes us wonder if Google's process to permit apps to their Play Store needs to be more rigid just as Apple has for its App Store. 

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