UC Browser disappears from Google Play Store for 'misleading promotions'

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UC Browser, which is a popular browser in India with over 500 million downloads globally, has disappeared from the Google Play Store.

A popular mobile application in India, UC Browser has been developed by the Alibaba Group-owned UC Web.

Meanwhile, a user who claims to be working for UC Browser says that the ban is temporary.

The browser, however, so far is still available for download on Apple's App Store. As well as being a hugely popular alternative to Google Chrome in its home region, UC Browser has an enormous base in India.

UCWeb has also claimed that Indian users make up 100 million of its total monthly active users from around the world, with the latter figure reportedly reaching 420 million, per reports from 2016.

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On Reddit, where I first came across this news a few hours ago, there seems to be some consensus that UC Browser might have been engaged in some shady practices. The app, which is particularly popular in India, has been delisted from the app store for misleading and unhealthy promotions.

While India is the second-largest market for UC Browser, an article in the Times of India back in August suggested the Indian government was looking to ban the browser for sending user information back to China.

The browser has landed in trouble for user data privacy concerns earlier in 2015 as well when a Canadian technology research group by the name of Citizen Lab reported that the application was shipping personal data like location, mobile number and other details to third-party applications.

Although UC Browser isn't available for download, UC Browser Mini is still up on the Play Store. The report also ranked the UC Browser as the sixth most-downloaded application on Android platform in India.

There's certainly more to this story and we'll be keeping an eye out for any official word on the matter.

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