Alibaba-owned mobile browser, UC Browser has disappeared from the Google Play store after fetching more than 500 million downloads last month and has over 100 million users in India.
Browser is no longer visible on search and though other UCWeb applications UC Browser Mini and UC News still are. The development emerges months after the Chinese app had been accused of sending personal data of its Indian users to a server in China, and it’s unclear for now what the reason for the removal is.
The removal of UC Browser from Google Play was spotted by users and reported late on Tuesday. Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii also posted the text of an email that he received from UC Union (UCWeb’s affiliate network) that suggests some conflict between Google and UCWeb. The UC Union email, which was said to be circulated on November 9, warns partners to abandon “all misleading/malicious advertising” ways that are being used to procure new users.
Twitter user Mike Ross, who claims to work for UC Browser, tweeted that the browser is “temporarily removed” from the Play Store for 30 days due to adopting “misleading” and “unhealthy” methods of increasing installs. We’ve reached out to Google and UCWeb for clarity and will update this space accordingly.
Presently, searching for UC Browser on Google Play brings UC Browser Mini, which is the lightweight mobile browser by UCWeb. The official UCWeb site has provided a link to sideload the UC Browser app through its APK file, though.