What We’ve Been Thinking
search, mobile, app marketing, events and some random stuff.
search, mobile, app marketing, events and some random stuff.
Facebook has unveiled a number of changes to its terms of service, including those that cover using its apps, in a bid to make its data policies clearer.
The firm also urges users to check regularly for updates.
The social network has enjoyed a torrid time in recent weeks with revelations that huge numbers of its users’ personal data was being harvested by app developers and the firm itself.
The data policy changes also extend to Instagram and Messenger with Facebook saying that these terms will make clear that it will personalise the service it offers to users by using the choices, connections and settings that the user’s select.
Skyscanner has unveiled that its iPhone app users are now not just able to access flights and hotel booking information but they can buy cheap rail tickets in the UK.
The firm’s mobile apps have been downloaded by more than 70 million users and these mobile devices account for 60% of the firm’s traffic. The new offering is only available in the UK currently.
Skyscanner says as an Android phone app is still in development.
Parents are being warned that there are 10 potentially dangerous mobile phone apps being used by children and they should ensure their offspring stay safe.
The warning comes amid growing fears that youngsters are being exposed to danger online and several regional newspapers have been highlighting the work of a US-based blogger.
In their research, it’s claimed that there are some apps that are ‘off-limits’ and parents should ensure that their child has not downloaded them.
The first is a calculator app and while it looks like a calculator, it’s really a secret photo vault.
This means a user can hide private videos and photos in plain sight with the app is also able to store private notes and surf with a private browser.
The Omegle app has also been highlighted since this gives children a chance to chat online to strangers and Yubo (formerly Yellow) which enables youngsters to swap photos and text with a stranger nearby.
Other apps highlighted include Ask.fm, Whisper, Burnbook, Hot or Not, Wishbone and Kik Messenger.
Sainsbury’s has revealed that it is developing an app for mobile phones to enable customers to pay without using the checkout.
The app follows in the steps of the Amazon Go stores in Seattle and other apps are also being developed by Budgens and the Co-op in the UK.
Now, an in-house team at Sainsbury’s is looking to deliver a faster and seamless shopping experience without the need to queue at checkouts.
It has already been trialled at the supermarket’s store at London Euston station for meal deal offers.
Meanwhile, queue management systems firm, Qmatic, has unveiled an app that enables shoppers to join a vertical queue while they are shopping without having to stand with other shoppers physically.
The customer uses an app to scan a QR code and they select a service from a menu including the option of virtually queueing.
Growing numbers of teachers say that mobile phones should be banned in school since pupils are using apps to take upskirt and down blouse shots to publish on social media websites. Some teachers have also had images posted on YouTube. One union says that teachers have been targeted on Facebook while others have had to endure threats online.
The popular battle shooter game Fortnite is now available on the iOS app store. However, the app is only available for those phones that aren’t older than the iPhone SE or 6S.
Popular dating app Grindr has hit the headlines after it was revealed that the app was sharing its users HIV status with outside companies. The firm says ‘these are standard practices’ for the mobile app ecosystem and no information is being sold.
Three Facebook Messenger app users have launched a lawsuit against the online giant over privacy concerns.
They claim that the social network violated their privacy by compiling phone call logs and their text messages.
The lawsuit follows Facebook’s acknowledgement that it has been accessing text and call logs from Android phones since 2015.
The firm says that only those users who gave permissions have been affected and it did not collect the contents of calls or messages and users can opt of data collection.
Meanwhile, while giving evidence to MPs, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie claimed that Facebook is using user’s mobile phone microphones to listen to their user’s conversations and tailor adverts to their needs when using the firm’s apps.
The BBC has responded to growing on-demand viewing habits by unveiling an app aimed at children.
The broadcaster says it is currently running the risk of ‘being overtaken by competitors’.
In its latest Annual Plan, it says that 82% of children are going to YouTube to enjoy on-demand content, around 50% head to Netflix and 29% use the BBC iPlayer.
Now, the BBC is launching an app aimed at 6 to 12-year-olds to provide a ‘daily diet of funny, inspiring and fascinating facts’.
The app will also help users build social communities around their passions.
In research, it’s been revealed that children aged between 5 to 15 are spending more time online than they do watching TV; it is 15 hours 18 minutes for online viewing and 14 hours for TV. Also, 43% of those aged between 12 and 15 are using their mobile phone for watching TV.
The award winning Starling Bank is the first UK licensed mobile only bank to unveil a business account for entrepreneurs and small firms.
The app is easy to use and enables small business owners to open their account in under 10 minutes, direct from their mobile phone.
The bank account carries no fees for running the account and there are no fees for making payments or withdrawing cash.
The bank says customers can manage their bank account from their mobile phone and can pay suppliers, including international payments, directly from the app.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been accused of spying on millions of voters using a mobile phone app that was downloaded more than 5 million times. The app apparently sent user’s personal data to third-party websites without permission.
Traders in the Shropshire town of Bridgnorth are using their WhatsApp messaging app to fight against a wave of shoplifting by communicating effectively between businesses warning them of shoplifters.
The TPS Protect app, launched last August, has been updated to help users block unwanted scam and nuisance calls – and now it helps protects against those selling cryptocurrency investments.
Google has unveiled a raft of new augmented reality apps and games for Android phones.
The tech giant has unveiled more than 60 ARCore apps that are now available in its Play Store.
ARCore is the platform that enables app developers to create augmented reality experiences for Android smartphones.
Essentially, by using the phone’s camera, and app will track the user’s position in real time and place them into digitally rendered worlds.
This week has also seen Google unveil its Instant Apps to attract game developers to use will allow its services.
Google Play Instant allows a game demo to be played on an Android device by simply clicking a link rather than the user installing a full game.
Google is also highlighting improvements to its gamepad ecosystem and an improved way to create multiplayer game servers.
A serious security flaw has been discovered in Siri which means it can read out private notifications even when the phone is locked.
Apple says it is working on an iPhone fix for the phone’s next software update.
While Siri will not read out notifications on iMessage, the flaw means that messages received via Signal, Slack and Facebook Messenger could be.
The world’s first Uber-style bill free app has been launched by Wagamama and diners will save around 12 minutes on every visit.
The restaurant app allows diners to order and pay automatically without having to deal with a waiter.
The restaurant chain says its app is the first ‘frictionless payment app’ in the world.
The new system is about to go live in all of their 129 restaurants.
With 3.7 million EU citizens, along with their non-EU partners, needing to apply for ‘settled status’ when the UK leaves the European Union next year will see a new app being created.
The Home Office has unveiled plans for the app to make the process easy since they will need to deal with 5,000 people every day over two years.
The aim is to create a hassle-free and simple system for those who want to remain in the UK.
The Home Office is now consulting widely to design a system that will help people pass the settled status test rather than rejecting them.
Behind the app will be a complex, interlinked database which will link the applicant’s submission to evidence of their current presence in the country.
Small firms wanting a digest of lots of data could use a new app called Ikoolo which brings together sales software, invoice and social media. It has been launched by a British entrepreneur.
Researchers have launched an app to help farmers in Africa combat the spread of a maize-eating pest, funded by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation.
A new mobile app from developers at the University of Turku in Finland will help smartphone users monitor their risk of suffering with a stroke.
After an update, Google Lens is now available on iOS. The app is a visual search engine and will provide information about a landmark or artwork when pointed at it. Also, Google’s Files Go app has had a search bar added.
Vodafone has unveiled an app called Get the Flow which helps those who suffer with stuttering deal with it with a rap. It’s available in the Netherlands and uses well-known Dutch rappers to help children who stutter practice with others to help boost their confidence.
Security experts have raised fears that some popular Android smartphones have malware preloaded on them.
The warning comes from Check Point who say that RottenSys is disguised as a tool to help users manage their wifi connections.
They say the ‘aggressive’ type of malware has infected nearly five million devices.
The malware asks for sensitive permissions and has entered devices from the supplier chain.
The phones infected have been made by Samsung, Honor, Huawei and Vivo, among others.
Checkpoint says that RottenSys is an aggressive ad network which has, over a 10-day period, created 13.2 million impressions and nearly 550,000 clicks.
It has been revealed that NHS staff have been disciplined because they have been relying on various apps to communicate with other staff members and also patients.
Among the apps being used include Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Apparently, around one in 50 of the NHS personnel who have been disciplined have been for issues including confidentiality threats and malicious uses.
However, around 43% of NHS staff say they rely on instant messaging apps while at work.
In a report, the staff are using consumer apps to communicate and for those staff aged between 18 and 24, the usage of apps to communicate was greatest.
Those who admitted to using communication apps said they did so because the NHS channels provided were unsatisfactory and patient care has not suffered.
Research has revealed that more than a quarter of Americans admit to being almost ‘constantly online’.
The Pew Research Center says numbers have risen since 2015 by 4%.
However, internet habits are affected by age, race and income level and only 11% of Americans say they never go online.
Of those going online most often, their use of apps is a major attraction, say researchers.
While tech giants have grabbed the headlines for making paying for groceries easier, for instance Amazon Go’s checkoutless stores, the Co-op has unveiled its own plans.
The six largest supermarket in the UK has launched its Pay in Aisle technology.
The app will enable customers to pay for purchases on their phone without needing to visit the till. The app utilises MasterCard’s secure digital payments platform.
It’s currently under trial in Manchester with a roll-out starting in the summer.
It’s likely to be one of the biggest games apps of the year, and Fortnite will, this week, go live on smartphones after its maker Epic Games began sending out invites to players.
The next step for Australia’s Department of Defence after they barred staff from using Chinese-made smartphones is to ban them from using the WeChat app. The move follows a warning to the US Senate Intelligence Committee, from the FBI, over issues of firms that are run by, or are close to, foreign governments.
A security flaw on Facebook Messenger enables fraudsters to exploit the opportunity to impersonate users of the app to target friends and family. While it is possible to use Messenger with just a mobile phone number, users cannot report another person for impersonating them on Facebook and must sign up and do so via their profile. Facebook says it is aware of the issue and is looking to fix it.
A day of silence was ordered in the Indonesian city of Bali where social media was shut down for a day of silence to mark New Year. Phone companies agreed with the request, for the first time, to turn off the island’s mobile internet connection.
Venmo says Millennials are increasingly signing up to their app because they want to watch their money more carefully after experiencing a recession.
A row has broken out in Leeds after it was revealed that motorists are forced to pay more to park if they use an app for doing so. Motorists say they are unhappy given there aren’t enough cash machines available.
Google has released a beta of the tool designed to make programmers’ lives easier when writing apps for iPhones, Android and the tech giant’s new Fuchsia OS.
The firm says its tool will help programmers to easily bridge the divide for iPhones and Android smartphones.
Flutter will now give apps a native look for either of the two platforms, the firm announced this week.
The beta will receive new updates every few weeks so those who contribute to the open source project can complete the final version which has no scheduled release date yet.
Google points out that Flutter could lead to a raft of fresh looking apps as most apps currently use native components including text boxes and buttons styled by the developer to match the core software offering from Google or Apple.
However, the interface widgets on Flutter will enable styling to go in different directions.
A report has revealed that apps for North American retailers have dominated ecommerce transactions in the final quarter of 2017.
The findings from Criteo reveal that 44% of all ecommerce transaction were by retailers’ apps. The mobile web accounted for 23% and desktop users accounted for 33%.
Apps could now, say the firm’s researchers, lead the way for a boom in mobile sales as these have a better conversion rate than the mobile web and desktop.
Malware researchers say that RedDrop has the potential to blackmail smartphone users and also run up big bills on Android phones. The malware can also listen to user’s conversations.
The researchers at Wandera say that once the malware is installed it can collect huge amounts of personal data including files, contacts, photos and live recordings.
The malware also submits expensive text messages to premium services without the victim knowing.
The firm says that there are more than 53 innocent looking apps that are acting as a front-end for the malware and it is one of the most sophisticated yet aimed Android they have ever seen.
The use of malicious apps by cyber-criminals has rocketed with growing use of banking apps and other mobile phone apps.
This is despite Google and Apple introducing security patches that have reduced firmware flaws.
Trend Micro say that after hackers successfully targeted enterprise IT systems and also personal desktop last year, they have now modified their malware for infecting modern smartphones.
In their report the firm states that the number of ransomware attacks on mobile phones rocketed from 120,000 in 2016 to nearly 469,000 last year.
Smartphone users at the Fat Boar pub in Wrexham could earn 25% off their bills by leaving their phone at the door and not using apps while dining so they engage in conversation. More than 92,000 viewers have watched a video that explains the challenge.
The Land Rover Explore is a new Android smartphone that will survive underwater, including salt water, endure vibration and deal with extreme temperatures. It has been developed by the carmaker and Bullitt.
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