Just days after UC Browser surpassed Google Chrome to become the leading mobile browser in India with over 100 million user base, it has mysteriously disappeared from Play Store. There is no confirmation about why the browser was taken down days after it topped 500 million downloads overall on Google’s mobile store. UC Browser is developed by UCWeb, which is owned by China’s Alibaba Group. As well as being a hugely popular alternative to Google Chrome in its home region, UC Browser has an enormous base in India.
According to a report by Android Authority, despite Chrome’s massive dominance, UC Browser remains the sixth most downloaded Android app in India, with over 50 pct market share. If you search UC Browser in Google Play Store now, only the mini version of the app is listed. So far, no official statement has been released from Google or UC Web. However, Android Police’s founder Artem Russakovskii posted about an email from UC Union (which is the company’s network affiliate) which talks about UC Browser using ‘Malicious Promotion’ methods.
According to a report on Android Central, which has shared contents of the mail, the reason for the takedown could be “malicious redirect ads served up by UC Web’s affiliates to inflate installs.” The entire email has been shared on Reddit. Also, a Twitter user named Mike Ross, who works with UC Browser posted a tweet explaining the app was taken down for a similar reason.
“I work for UC Browser, I got mail today morning it said that UC Browser was temporarily removed from play store for 30 days because it used “Misleading” and “Unhealthy” methods of promotion to increase installs,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, another report suggests that the app was taken down as it incorporates ad-blocking features, in built which was leading to a massive impact on Google’s core business. However, Google is itself planning to launch a version of Chrome with ad filtering.