With Google entering the mobile phone marketplace with its new G1, powered by Google’s Android Software, they also have opened an online apps store called the Android Marketplace. similar to Apples’s iTunes app store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, the Android Store is loaded with tons of utilities, games, and other applications, many of them free. There is also a way in which users can flag an app as being offensive.
Hey guys, do you want to test your friends and see if they are straight or not? Just ask them to put their finger on a screen and our application will tell the truth. You can even do it yourself…just try it!!! NOTICE: don’t be serious – it’s just for FUN!!!”
Here’s how it works. You start the app and ask someone to place their finger on the phone. The app ostensibly scans their fingerprint and comes up with one of two possible results. One result could be this:
Or the other result could be this:
Calling someone gay as ridicule — a “sorry sweetie” ridicule at that — is not only offensive, it perpetuates the view that being gay is a negative thing. If you draw the affirming, high-fiving “you are the man” response, you’ve won the game. But with “sorry sweetie,” the app offers condolences for losing the game — losing, in this case, means being gay. It’s just another variation on the “that’s so gay” slur.
- We are very interested in seeing the discussions and issues regarding Android Market either taking place here or in our specific Android Market forum (which I am linking below).
- Though this is an unmoderated forum, we are monitoring and around. Our goal is to build a community where users can get and give answers to others interested in our products. You will see us Googlers chiming in on threads where we can be of more help.
- We definitely monitor the apps flagged on Android Market and take down apps that promote hate speech.
Regarding this specific case, though the app may be offensive to some, it is not in violation. Stereotypes in and of themselves do not constitute hate against a group.
This app has nothing to do with stereotypes and everything to do with perpetuating a slur, and possibly leading to taunting and bullying. Let’s see how well this app goes over in high school gymnasiums around the country. A lot of bullying has been defended as “just a little fun” before. Is that really Google’s position?
Update: The app’s developer has removed the app from the Android Marketplace and apologized.