Fake Siri App Fools Android Users [Updated]

An app called “Siri for Android” sneaked into the Android Market this week, drawing attention to the downsides of Google’s strategy in running the Android Market.

App publisher “Official App” released “Siri for Android” on earlier in the week, and it already has garnered between 1,000 – 5,000 installations because it copied the name of Apple’s speech recognition assistant.

The $0.99 app installs an icon – the Siri icon – onto the user’s device, which merely launches Google’s Voice Actions app. That’s it. While the publisher states this very clearly in the application’s description, The Next Web points out that inexperienced users may not know any better when purchasing this app. This can lead to a host of other issues.

Given that Google employs little-to-no checks on its marketplace, developers such as “Official App” do not have contend with application approvals and can launch copyright/trademark infringing applications in minutes. There is also nothing to say that a developer could have sideloaded malware into the app, using the brand name to ensure thousands of installs.

Siri for Android fake app

Many users who know better have given the app low ratings to dissuade others from wasting money on the app, while others have posted comments with a different interpretation and higher rankings:

You’ve got to understand what your adroid [sic] already has and have a sense of humor to underatand what this is. Its obviously a sarcastic parody. I LOL’d.

Regardless of the interpretation, the fact remains that the app is useless and should not have been allowed in the Android Market.

While Apple is heavily criticised for its “Big brother” attitude when it comes to policing apps in the App Store (sometimes warranted), we’re not sure if Google’s hands-off policy is right one as it exposes users to fraudulent and malware apps. It has also resulted in a five fold jump in Android malwares since July this year, while iOS has been untouched.

Do you think Google needs to change their policy? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Update:

Google has finally pulled the app!

[via TheNextWeb]