UC Browser application is no longer available for download from the Play Store. The browser is developed by UCWeb, which is owned by China’s Alibaba Group and particularly popular in India.
IT giant took this decision as Indian government’s scanner found that the application was reportedly sending data to remote servers in China. The application could even access user data after its removal from the phone. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in Hyderabad is doing further investigation.
The UC Browser has 420 million global users, and it topped around 500 million downloads on the Play Store last month.
In India, Google’s Chrome browser competes with UC browser, and the gap between the two is reducing. At the end of October 2017, Chrome had around 35% of browser market share, while UC Browser was at around 45%.
Back in June, UC browser became India’s favorite mobile browser and currently, it is the sixth most downloaded Android app in India.
This is not the not the first time UC Browser has come under scrutiny due to the user privacy concerns. In 2015, Canadian researchers claimed that the application was providing critical personal information, such as device number, search details, device details, and location, to third-party applications.
Citizen Lab said, “Such leaks represent a privacy risk for users because it allows anyone with access to data traffic to identify users and their devices, and collect their private search data.”
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that a lightweight version of the browser, UC Mini is still available in the Play Store.