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Android Phones ‘Betray’ Users

Google has come under fire after revelations that Android smartphones still collect the user’s location data and sends it back to the firm – even when the phone’s location services used for apps has been switched off.

The system works by gathering information from nearby mobile phone masts and sharing the information with Google. The data can be used to calculate the user’s position.

The practice cannot be disabled.

A privacy advocate told a news website that the findings are a ‘betrayal’ of Android phone users.

The issue is with Google Play Services running in the background since this is required to access search functions and has been installed on most Android smartphones.

In response, Google says it does not retain the information though it has been collecting data for 11 months and its Android system will be updated shortly to stop the practice.

App helps turn phone into a ‘sonar’ detector

Biometric voice authentication has taken a step forward with a mouth app that turns a user’s smartphone into a ‘sonar’ detector.

The security app will check that the lip movement being monitored really is the phone’s owner speaking.

The app then enables the user’s voice to be recognised as a password for using other apps.

However, critics say it might be vulnerable to ‘replay’ attacks should an identity thief use a recording of the user’s voice.

In a bid to overcome this issue, the app will detect whether someone is using the phone ‘live’ or is misusing a recording.

The VoiceGesture app could, say its creators, help make smartphones more secure and Google is already said to be reviewing the technology which has been created by researchers at State University of Florida.

They say the app can also be extended to include various voice assists including Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Mobile gaming apps take-off in Asia-Pacific

There’s been a huge growth in mobile gaming users in the Asia Pacific region, according to research.

The findings from AppsFlyer and eMarketer point to mobile gaming becoming increasingly important for marketers in the region with the apps delivering strong revenues and audiences.

The researchers at AppsFlyer found that in 40 countries, there are 1,300 apps to choose from and 95 million apps have been installed to generate $150 million of revenue.

Meanwhile, a report from eMarketer is forecasting that around 55% of Chinese Internet users will be playing digital games by the end of this year which equates to 420 million people.

Also, they say that 54% of mobile phone users will be using a gaming app at least once a month.

EU privacy regulators to discuss Uber

The EU’s privacy regulators are to meet to discuss the massive Uber app hack.

The move follows last year’s data breach which saw the personal data from 57 million accounts being exposed.

Now, the regulators are to discuss creating a task force from various EU countries for undertaking the investigation.

The stolen data included the names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses of Uber users around the world and the firm says it paid hackers $100,000 to keep the data breach secret.

News of the data breach of its app only came after senior management were replaced.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Microsoft has revealed that it has pulled its Skype app from China’s Android and Apple app stores. Apple has also removed several Internet phone call apps after being informed that they did not comply with local laws.

Cyclists in the UK could benefit from a new app that will warn them of potholes in the road ahead. Using smart lights and Bluetooth technology, the lights will detect imperfections and alert the cyclist with data collected via Bluetooth of cyclists avoiding spots on the road to help create a virtual map of Manchester’s roads where the trial is underway.

Newcastle University has created an app that will help protect ancient rock art in Northumberland. Researchers say that the ‘cup and ring’ marks are under threat from climate change and agriculture. The app will help pinpoint the sites so users can add information about its surroundings and conditions.

New Bank App Will Push Deals to Customers

A new app from the bank First Direct will enable it to push personalised broadband and energy deals to its customers in a move that could see the end of price comparison websites.

The firm says the smartphone app will trawl thousands of deals from third-party providers and will recommend specific products to its customers.

First Direct says the app will allow consumers to hand over their saving and spending data from their financial accounts in return for notifications on money-saving deals.

Consumer groups say the move could lead to a revolution in the way consumers shop for deals and warned that banks that flog poor deals would damage their reputation.

Apple devices to be future ‘AI’ platform

Apple’s chief executive, Jeff Williams, says the new iPhone X offers developers a great platform for apps and those wanting to develop artificial reality functions.

The new phone will use facial recognition and users can pay for goods by simply glancing at their phone.

Mr Williams told a conference: “The neural engines we have in the phone and our watch are a huge piece of our future and we believe these frameworks will enable developers to create apps that will do more.

“I think we are the point with our devices and computing, and with AI’s potential, to really change the world.”

Zombie apps turn up on Google’s Play Store. Again.

According to a report, there’s been a big leap in the number of zombie apps that are generating fraudulent app clicks turning up on Google Play Store.

According to eZanga, they have found 43 fraudulent ‘live wallpaper’ apps which come from three developers but have had more than 1 million downloads.

They work in a similar way to apps identified in July so the phone does not have to be touched before the app will generate a click for a fraudulent advert.

Critics say the issue is a growing problem with Play Store which, unlike Apple’s App Store, does not have the same review processes in place and removes fraudulent apps retrospectively.

Mobile devices are increasingly the choice for online activities

Research reveals that people today are increasingly preferring to use their mobile device for online activities rather than a computer.

The findings from Kaspersky Lab found that people are using their mobile devices more often, particularly for accessing email.

Users are also increasingly shopping online while the use of computers for both of these activities is in decline.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Irrespective of age and occupation, the focus of our digital lives is shifting increasingly onto our mobile devices; people are trusting them with their secrets, confidential information, money, files and other things.”

He added that cyber criminals are changing tactics to attack mobile platforms and says tablets and smartphones need to be effectively protected as a result.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Vodafone has unveiled passes to help users access apps when burning through their monthly data allowance. There are four passes available and are grouped by the type of app, for instance, the video pass is £9 a month and will cover Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube, among others.

After two massive earthquakes hit Mexico, the number of users of early warning app start-up SkyAlert has doubled to nearly six million, making it one of Mexico’s most downloaded apps.

Researchers in Norway have reveal some alarming security flaws in smart watches aimed at children. They say hackers can seize control of these watches to eavesdrop and track the young users. The issue comes with those watches that use a mobile phone function for parents to communicate with their child and stay up-to-date with their location via an app.

Fabric snapped-up by Google

Fabric, Twitter’s mobile app developer platform, has been snapped-up by Google.

The move will see the Fabric team being merged with Google’s Firebase app development arm.

The app developer platform was popular – particularly for its Crashlytics reporting system and Answers, the mobile app analytics function.

Since its launch in 2014, developers have used a suite of development tools to create around 2.5 billion apps created by 580,000 developers.

Staff banned from using messaging apps

Deutsche Bank has announced plans to ban the use of all mobile phone-based messaging services which it cannot monitor in a bid to improve security and compliance.

This means staff will be prevented from using messaging apps including iMessage and WhatsApp and sending text messages.

The ban extends to both bank-provided phones and personally-owned mobiles.

The top 10 app downloading nations revealed

According to an analytics firm, India has now leapfrogged the US and Brazil to become the country that downloads most apps from Google’s Play Store.

The news comes from App Annie and their annual study also claims that China is now the biggest earner for Apple’s iOS store.

The report also reveals that customers downloaded more than 90 billion apps from the two app stores in 2016 and India tops the Google store downloads since it is now, says the United Nations, the world’s second biggest market for smartphones.

Indians are apparently interested in shopping apps as well as messaging and social apps.

Meanwhile, other research has revealed that app consumers believe they are not getting the interactive and high-quality experience they demand.

The findings from developer Apadmi reveal that with Brits downloading more shopping apps in the past year than in the year previously, just 40% of them said they were satisfied.

The report also reveals that 20% of consumers want to see retailers spending more on innovation to improve their apps, while 30% said they would use the apps more often if they were able to do more than just browse and buy.

Another app sparks privacy concerns

A photo editing app that has gone viral is raising privacy concerns for Android users.

Meitu turns its user’s images into Japanese-style anime characters and has racked up more than one billion downloads.

However, it has been alleged that users are giving away lots of information to the Chinese tech firm that created the app.

In addition to accessing the user’s camera and storage, the app also has access to phone numbers and the user’s location.

The Chinese firm says it is not collecting information to sell onto third parties.

In other Miratrix mobile phone apps news …

The Chinese government is demanding that all app stores are registered so they can control apps that are ‘spreading false information’ and creating security risks.

The growing popularity of apps in Vietnam has led to motorcycle taxi drivers becoming angry over their loss of income with the increasing popularity of Uber and navigation apps.

Farmers in India are increasingly turning to mobile apps to help them with crops and weather prediction with start-ups and tech firms being supported by the government to help deliver what farmers are needing. Industry experts there say the use of apps and the internet is set to rocket in rural areas.

Mobile games are taking off in Southeast Asia with young gamers particularly spending more money on apps and boosting game company revenues as a result.

How Google Play Store Analyses Your Keywords | MTX51

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English Version
Spanish Version


Video Transcript:

How Google Play Store Analyses Your Keywords | MTX51

Hello, this week how Google Play handles app discovery for keywords.

How do you handle the initial keyword classification?

Not necessarily in the keyword itself but the language used around the keyword.

How this can benefit you?

They are the top ranking apps.

They’re using the language around the keywords that they use to predict that if keyword should rank on that category where you’re striking out.

If you look at all the top competitors and how they form their description, look for a pattern, build that pattern into your description, you will have a better chance at ranking.

Only one thing is copy the big guys and make sure you keywords are in the description.

You’re giving the right signal to the algorithm based on what they’re telling us.

Obviously, it’s not going to be entirely that simple.

Another little marginal gain to help make life a little bit easier when you’re trying to rank in Google Play.

That’s this week’s video.

Don’t forget to like and subscribe.


ES Transcription:

How Google Play Store Analyses Your Keywords | MTX51

Hola, esta semana en cómo Google Play maneja descubrir aplicaciones con palabras clave.

¿Cómo manejan la clasificación inicial?

No necesariamente en la palabra en sí pero en el lenguaje usado alrededor de la palabra clave.

¿Cómo te puede beneficiar esto?

Son listados de aplicaciones populares.

Usan el lenguaje alrededor de las palabras clave que usan para predecir si la palabra debería estar en esa categoría al buscarla.

Si observan a todos los competidores populares y cómo forman su descripción, busquen un patrón, construyan ese patrón en su descripción, tendrán mejor oportunidad en el listado.

Basicamente es copiar lo que hacen los grandes y asegúrense que sus palabras clave estén en la descripción.

Darán la señal correcta al algoritmo basado en lo qué nos está diciendo.

Obviamente, no será enteramente tan simple.

Otra pequeña ganancia marginal para ayudar para hacer la vida un poco más sencilla al usar el rank en Google Play.

Es todo por el vídeo de la semana.

No olviden darle me gusta y suscribirse.

Apps in Google Play Store Spy on Users

Researchers have revealed that there were four mobile phone apps available in Google’s Play Store which spied on the user’s phones in secret.

Lookout says the apps are running malicious code, it has given it the name of ‘Overseer’, which enable the app to track the user’s longitude and latitude and also collect details of who they have been emailing and when.

A spokesman for the firm said: “This information is valuable to anyone wanting to find out where someone is and who they are talking with.”

Lookout also says that while they don’t know who created Overseer, it is using a novel technique to avoid being detected.

Google says it has now remove the apps from its Play Store and refused further comment.

Thousands hit by a Pokemon Go malicious app

Users of Android phones have also been hit by a malicious app from Google Play Store which seizes the phone’s root access rights to install and uninstall other apps as well as displaying unsolicited adverts.

The app is a guide to using Pokemon Go and has been downloaded more than 500,000 times, according to Kaspersky Lab experts who found the malicious software.

At least 6,000 of those downloads have been successful infections.

Anyone concerned that they have downloaded what could be an infected mobile phone app is being urged to scan their device with a mobile antivirus which have the tools to help remove the rerouting software though this can be a complex procedure.

English use the Internet more than those in Scotland and Wales

A report from telecoms watchdog Ofcom has revealed that Internet users in England are online more than people in Scotland and Wales.

People in England are online for around 22 hours every week whereas in Scotland the average use is 20.8 hours and in Wales it is 17.8 hours.

For 95% of users in England, they are browsing the web, 93% are using their online time for email and 82% buy goods online.

People in Wales also use their smartphones less often, just 51% download apps compared to 70% of Scottish smartphone owners who download the most.

Facebook app go back to the future

Industry watchers are predicting that Facebook’s Messenger app is going to revive the traditional chat room so users can chat with strangers and friends without leaving their app.

The move is set to be announced shortly though some have already been able to launch chat rooms with friends and strangers – the rooms have a number of features not found in the normal Messenger.

Facebook closed down its chat rooms in October 2014 with app experts stating the firm’s app was not performing well enough for them.

In other mobile phone app news …

The RAC has flagged up a worrying number of drivers using their mobile phones while behind the wheel of a car and is urging the government to act with stiffer penalties for those who are caught. The organisation says there’s been a ‘significant increase’ in the numbers who admit to using a phone while driving, including using apps.

The Daily Mail has featured a young hacker who claims to use the internet Speedtest app on his mobile phone for accessing free data for his pre-paid T-mobile sim card. The article reveals that it is not yet known whether the method can be replicated on other mobile phone networks around the world.

Customers of T-Mobile in the US have been warned not to upgrade to iOS10 for their iPhone. The firm says there are connectivity issues.