The list of the best apps on Google Play is a bit like the Wild West: there are good apps that are trendy and others that are clearly scams. The one that has topped Google Play for several days and caught my eye is Blood Pressure, an app that tricks you into thinking it’s for measuring your blood pressure.

With over a million downloads and a near-perfect rating, either the app indicates a rebound in general population interest in blood pressure, or there may be a spade in the bag. After analyzing the evidence, meows can be heard quite loudly.

This is the “popular” blood pressure app

After seeing such a specific app at the top of Google Play, I decided to install it to see if it was really good enough to deserve such honors. After all, over a million users can’t be wrong. The truth is that Google Play’s bar is pretty low, so I expected to find anything from a trojan to any type of scam.

The surprise is that, in a way, the app isn’t bad. It has a nice design and lots and lots of blood pressure information, maybe too much. The application opens immediately in the Info tab, where there are no less than fifteen information sections such as How is hypotension diagnosed? o Learn about blood pressure. It’s kind of like going to the IMDB section about it and clicking on all the links.

Of course, there are occasional full-screen ads, in addition to the evergreen banner at the bottom, although the ads are less excessive than I expected. It is also true that some apps of the style are more benevolent in the first moments of using the app, waiting a few days to fry the user to advertisements. Some Google Play reviews say that every time you press a button, an ad skips.

The app isn’t bad and even lets you track your blood pressure with a nice graph, but it’s certainly rare for it to rank so high on Google Play with many 5-star reviews touting its virtues. When this happens there is usually a hidden interest, although in this case it is not too obvious.

It is a normal and current application whose presence at the top of Google Play is somewhat suspicious

The app doesn’t require any additional permissions, though its permissions include some permissions that don’t seem to make much sense for its purpose: skip battery optimization, run on startup, and run service in foreground. Being an application used in the foreground, this type of permission should not be necessary.

The app doesn’t require any additional permissions, although some of those granted automatically don’t appear to be closely related to its function

Perhaps something more worrying is its privacy policy, accessible from the app (and different from the one linked on Google Play). This includes that the application may collect data such as email, name, phone, gender, password (for the service), hardware version, unique identifiers, language, time zone, operator. If you link your account to Facebook or Google, data from those social networks such as your name, email address, activities or contact lists associated with that account may be collected.

The privacy policy states that if you use your Google or Facebook account, you can get your contact list

What use is given to this data? There is the typical “offer the service”, although others are included as simply to communicate special offers. Additionally, this information may be shared with affiliates, partners, and even other users. Although most of these privacy policies are in a model rarely applied to reality, the truth is that they are too much data to give to a company that does not have a website (it redirects to Google Play) and his email address. is a Gmail account.

Play arterial confusion

Now, how can such an app reach the top of Google Play? Playing ignorance and insinuating that he’s doing something he’s not really doing: measuring blood pressure from the app itself. This is obviously impossible, since mobile phones do not have sensors for this. Yes, it’s possible with smartwatches like the newer Galaxy Watch and Huawei with an inflatable wristband.

In Google Play, the app hides its interface in screenshots, but in ads where it’s promoted, it’s uncut, hinting that it can measure voltage

Apps can’t openly cheat Google Play about what they do or don’t do, but there’s nothing stopping them from lying on other sites, sending users to Google Play. Several reviewers refer to the fact that a misleading advertisement tricked them into installing the app, stating that the app measures blood pressure just by putting your finger on it.

On Google Play, the text plays a bit of an oversight, but never hints that the app can actually take your blood pressure. Of course, no actual app screenshot is included: instead, the app icon is repeated, with an app appearing that actually takes the strain.

Google’s guidelines regarding the presence of apps on Google Play have tightened over time, becoming more specific and restrictive. The specs for screenshots are lengthy and clearly state that they should show the actual experience of the app. However, this is not the first time that Google has failed to enforce its rules, even among apps that have achieved a large number of downloads.

The “confusion” over the function of the app would partly explain the number of downloads – if an app is promoted, it gets downloads, that’s normal – but not so much the number of positive reviews. We can see in SensorTower how the app went from having almost no reviews to, overnight, starting to receive hundreds.

After having one or no reviews, the app suddenly added around 100 positive reviews daily

The pattern is the same as we’ve seen with other fake or inflated reviews: negative reviews stay the same number, but positive ones increase. These reviews appear to be from real profiles, although many of them don’t make much sense, appearing to be literal translations or just weird constructions, for example:

Sensational ♡ great electronic tool I will be 64 years old and I have never been so enthusiastic about my disease. And they had never listened to me so quickly “Y” without pain, my congratulations and my confidence in such a successful technological program “HUMAN” thanks to the well-deserved fees they claim and that we breathe a lot of altruism in their job. CONGRATULATIONS.

Other reviews refer to taking voltage directly with the mobile, which as we know is simply not possible. It’s a common resource that when someone buys a review package for an app, they indicate the keywords or phrases they want to include.

Indispensable, the simple fact of having my smartphone in hand makes me the EXACT measurements an app that everyone should have

Of course, not everyone is convinced. The positive reviews bury the negative ones, but there are some. Several users report that the app is indeed a hoax and does not do what its advertisements promise:

It’s a very good app to learn about blood pressure and hypertension, but the propaganda is a fake hook… A phone can’t measure blood pressure, at least not like that, make no mistake about it not

Anyway, the app went from 153rd place on Google Play to 3rd a week later as can be seen on AppBrain, so whichever method you chose, it performed very well and Google still looked for another part.

In this case, it looks like an application that does not deliver on its promises, but is not harmful in itself, although there is no guarantee that this will happen all the time. It’s a good reminder that many downloads and a good rating on Google Play do not guarantee that an application is good. And that apps can’t measure voltage, that too.