Man discovers ex-girlfriend's pregnancy through Google Play

Google's Artificial Intelligence Win
Google's Artificial Intelligence Win

LONDON — When you're downloading a new app for your phone, the last thing you expect to find out is something as potentially life-changing as an ex-partner's pregnancy, but that's what recently happened to one British man.

Android user "Ben" told BBC Radio 4's consumer show You & Yourshe discovered his ex's big news in the Google Play store through a section that shows you what your friends are recommending, based on what they may have reviewed or +1'd.

SEE ALSO: Husband learns wife is pregnant from her Fitbit data

"I was downloading an app to my Android phone... and it basically showed me that my ex-girlfriend had rated a pregnancy app," Ben (whose last name was withheld), told the BBC programme.

"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," he said, adding that he was "surprised and "shocked" by the discovery.

His ex emailed him some time after, confirming the news.

Image: Screenshot

As well as Google Play telling him that his ex-girlfriend had downloaded a pregnancy app, he also learned that a friend had downloaded erotic novels — information, he doubted, this person wanted to share.

"Just by downloading and rating apps, you don't necessarily mean for that information to be shared, but it is," he said.

Google Play will only show other users your reviews and +1's. Information about whether or not you've downloaded something does not appear to be available.

The feature on Google Play that he's referring to — Play Better with Friends — can be found at the very end of the list of recommendations. If your email account you use for Google Play is the same one that's associated with your Google+ account, you'll see everything your connections have +1'd or reviewed.

Image: Screenshot

Image: Screenshot

On its Google Play Help site, Google says +1's and reviews on Google Play are "public and shared" with other users in the Play community.

If people want to delete reviews or +1's they can do so on the details page of the app.

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Originally published