Man Learns About Ex’s Pregnancy & Friends’ Erotic Reading Habits Via Google Play

Image courtesy of (Joshua Leners)

Sharing your review of an app — for good or bad — can help others decide if they should spend the money to add the service to their smartphone or assist developers in fixing bugs and otherwise improving their product. While these are all commendable and expected consequences, there are some ramifications to sharing that info you might not think about: that the products you review will be showcased to your friends, and that can sometimes provide unexpected or unwanted details of your private life. 

Mashable, citing a BBC Radio show You & Yours, reports that one man inadvertently found out that a friend was into erotic novels and that his ex-girlfriend was pregnant while perusing the Google Play store for a new app when he stumbled upon a section that shows what his friends are recommending based what they’ve review or +1’d.

“I was downloading an app to my Android phone… and it basically showed me that my ex-girlfriend had rated a pregnancy app,” the man says. “I don’t think she would have wanted anyone to have found out through that route. I think she would have preferred to have said it via an email of face to face.”

The shocking news, which was later confirmed by the ex, came courtesy of Google Play’s Play Better with Friends feature that can be found at the end of the list of recommendations.

The feature works when the email account used for Google Play is the same associated with your Google+ account. If that’s the case, you’ll be able to see everything your connections on the social site have +1’d or reviewed.

“Just by downloading and rating apps, you don’t necessarily mean for that information to be shared, but it is,” the man said.

While the Google Play Help page notes that any apps reviewed are “public and shared” with other users, whether or not the user actually downloaded or used the app is not available, Mashable points out. Users can delete their reviews and +1’s.

This of course isn’t the first time that a company’s analytics have resulted in unwanted information being shared with others.

Back in 2012, Target employees got an earful after an angry father stormed a store yelling at them for sending his daughter coupons for baby clothes and cribs. Turns out, she was pregnant, and hadn’t told her father yet.

In Target’s case, it all comes down to your Guest ID number tied your credit card, name, and other info, which saves all kinds of data about what you buy. A statistician for the retailer mined that data and saw patterns in it, for example — women on baby registries buy larger amounts of unscented lotion around the beginning of their second trimester. Bam! Send’em some coupons for other baby items.

Target learned they shouldn’t creep people out by knowing too much about them, so they switched up their coupon booklets.

Man discovers ex-girlfriend’s pregnancy through Google Play [Mashable]