The UC Browser just Vanished from Google Play Store After Topping 500 Million
India’s most popular and most downloaded browser seems to have mysteriously vanished into thin air as it is nowhere to be seen on the Google Play Store. The app is known for its friendly and easy-to-use interface on its mobile version. The disappearance happened at peak time too, as it had just been a couple of weeks since the app crossed the 500 million global downloads milestone on Google’s Play Store.
A Success Story
For those who are new to the UC Browser, it was originally developed by UCWeb of China. It comes under the Alibaba Group founded famously by Chinese business magnate Jack Ma. The UC browser was a terrific alternative for Google Chrome in its native country and even had a great user base in India.
Google Chrome has regained some of its footing back in the mobile browser market — UC Browser had become India’s favorite mobile browser back in June. There was a time during that period when more than 50% of the market share was grabbed by the UC Browser. The UC Browser was recently dubbed the 6th most downloaded mobile app in India.
UCWeb had claimed back in the day that Indian users constituted 100 million of its total active users per month from around the world. Reports from 2016 quoted these figures to be somewhere over 420 million users. That is why, the sudden disappearance of the app at such a crucial stage, usage and download- wise, has taken many users aback. That begs the question, why was UC Browser removed after so many downloads and after so much time had passed?
Is there something we missed?
There has been much discussion and debate on the UC Browser disappearance on the popular discussion forum and website, Reddit. Reddit users have a weird but possible explanation behind why the UC Browser app was so suddenly removed.
Back in August, there were some reports stating that UC Browser was involved in stealing private user data to send back to remote Chinese servers to carry out suspicious surveillance activities, without the permission of users themselves. Indian government officials carried out some data security investigations, and later expressed deep concern that the UC Browser continues to steal the sensitive data of users even after the app itself had been uninstalled from the user’s phone according to The Times of India.
IUC browser has been targeted for such confidentiality breaches in the past as Canadian researchers claimed that the Chinese and English Language version of UC browser leaked information to third parties, including location, cellphone and device numbers (IMEIs), as well as search histories.
UCWeb and Google have not commented on the allegations thus far, so there is nothing to confirm or deny them. UCWeb has denied similar allegations, stating that they’ll do nothing to breach the trust of their users and that they take security very seriously.
For those still looking for an alternative browser to use in the meantime, Google Play Store still has the UC Browser Mini available to download.