We asked Google for a comment.
While the app’s side-loading option does sweeten the blow, it won’t exactly thrill the community. Several governments (including the US, UK, France, and Germany) use Element and the Matrix network alongside universities and businesses – losing easy access to the app could be a major problem.
The move comes as tech giants have become increasingly sensitive to the content of the applications they provide or host. Apple and Google at the same time repressed Speaking after the US Capitol riot, for example. However, if Google removed Element for content that was not on the app creator’s servers, that would be a problem – effectively requiring the team to filter an entire online platform, not just the section that ‘she can moderate.