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Google restricts app that alerts parents when their kids’ blood sugar falls dangerously low

Google's control over the Play Store allows it to dictate the rules.
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An app for managing Type 1 diabetes that is recommended by the UK’s National Health Service has been restricted from sending essential text messages to parents of kids using the app.

For two years, the app was not even allowed in the Play Store because of the text message feature.

CamAps FX was in development for 15 years by Cambridge University experts. It integrates with an insulin pump and glucose monitor, meaning it monitors the sugar levels and uses AI technology to determine the right amount of insulin to administer.

It was the first app of its kind to be recommended by the NHS for use by kids as young as one and pregnant women, the BBC reported.

The app can transmit alerts to parents and caregivers via Bluetooth, but only to devices in close proximity. The text message function was designed to remotely alert parents and caregivers that their kid’s glucose levels get too low.

It was only available to Android devices via the Amazon app store, because Google does not allow apps, other than text message apps, to send SMS messages.

Now it is available on the Play Store, but the text messages have to be sent separately. The company behind the app, Camdiab, said that it is being forced to use a cloud service to send text messages, and having to pay for each text separately.

“Quite often we see people with a young child on the app sending texts to two, three or four adults – to grandmas and others,” Professor Roman Hovorka from Cambridge University told the BBC.

“It’s highly popular. People really appreciate it.”

Google’s stranglehold over what people are allowed to do with their phones is a topic that is currently being highlighted through various anti-trust bills around the world.

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