Apple busts Google, Facebook enterprise apps for flouting privacy rules

Apple blocked Facebook and Google from running their internal iOS applications after the two technology giants were found to be flouting privacy norms. Facebook was reportedly tracking iPhone usage data of teenagers through its Facebook Research app, while Google was misusing iOS certificates and inviting its users to download an app called Screenwise Meter, which is not on the Apple store.

The companies have taken advantage of Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program, which helps certain partners of the company to test and distribute apps – but only to test new features before releasing the final version to the public. Apple had revoked the certificates given to Facebook when it was revealed that Mark Zuckerberg-owned Facebook allegedly paid people, who were not its employees, to test out its research app.

Enterprise certificates were restored for both tech firms later, but Apple has sent a strong message to them about respecting user privacy.

In a statement, Facebook said: “People participating in the Research app were asked for their permission, less than 5 percent of whom were teens  – in which cases, they were allowed to participate with parental consent forms.”

Reportedly, Facebook paid people about $20 a month to install and use the research app. While Facebook says this was done with permission, the company has a history of defining ‘permission’ loosely and obscuring what data it collects.

“I don’t think they make it very clear to users precisely what level of access they were granting when they gave permission,” mobile app security researcher Will Strafach said. “There is simply no way the users understood this.”

He said Facebook’s claim that users understood the scope of data collection was ‘muddying the waters’. This revelation is yet another blemish on Facebook’s track record on privacy and could invite further regulatory scrutiny.

For now, the app appears to be available for Android phones, though not through Google’s main app store.

When asked about its issues with Apple, Google said it had disabled the app on Apple devices and apologised for its ‘mistake’.

The company said Google had always been ‘upfront with users’ about how it used data collected by the app, which offered users points that could be accrued for gift cards. In contrast to the Facebook Research app, Google said its Screenwise Meter app never asked users to let the company circumvent network encryption, meaning it is far less intrusive.

[“source=moneycontrol”]

Google Play’s New Subscription Center Starts Rolling Out, Lets Users Easily Manage Their Subscriptions

Google Play's New Subscription Center Starts Rolling Out, Lets Users Easily Manage Their Subscriptions

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google Play is rolling out the new Subscription Center
  • The new center opens each of subscriptions in a full page
  • Developers will get a chance to add deep links

Google Play has started widely rolling out the new Subscription Center that was announced at I/O 2018earlier this year. The newest development is designed to make it easier for Android users to manage their recurring payments from apps and services. Notably, the new hub comes as a one-stop shop to manage subscriptions on Google Play. The search giant is also adding a list of tools to uplift the app listing experience for developers. These are heading to developers using the Google Play Billing Library that received an updated version at I/O.

Among other developments, Google Play has added the redesigned Subscription Center that lets Android users easily view all their subscriptions, including the subscriptions of apps and services, and see their details and status. Each subscription in the main list comes with a larger icon, and the text listed on the Subscription Center is clearer over what was available in the past. Subscriptions listed on the new center also show their monthly/ yearly rate and their next renewal dates.

Unlike the previous version that was overlaying a menu to manage subscriptions, the redesigned Subscription Center opens each of the subscriptions in a new page once tapped. The fresh full page view includes options to let users easily update their primary payment method and add a back up of their existing payment method. Similarly, there is a larger Cancel Subscription button over the original Cancel button. Google has also added a cancellation survey that emerges once a user cancels a subscription. This survey will give developers feedback as to why the user is cancelling the subscription.google play subscription center Google Play Subscription Center

The new Subscription Center also has a “Get Started” link for all those users who are yet to begin with the subscriptions on Google Play. Once tapping the link, the screen shows apps and services through curated and localised collections. Google has also added deep links to direct users to manage their subscriptions directly from the app, over email or via the Web.

For developers, there is an enhanced billing experience through which the deep link can be added as a button or link from anywhere within their app. Google Play Console will also soon receive the ability to let developers easily ask users to accept a price change without having to set up a completely new SKU. Users will be notified about the change via emails, push notifications, and in-app messaging. Google also at the I/O revealed that there will be the ability to upgrade a subscription without changing the user’s expiration date. Additionally, developers will be able to issue a partial refund from the Play Console or refund specific subscription renewals instead of refunding just the one. Developers will also get the option to use their order IDs with the server-side API and use the Refund API with the Google Play Developer API. These features require the Google Play Billing Library version 1.1.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Google Chrome for Android Now Auto-Downloads Articles for Offline Reading

Google Chrome for Android Now Auto-Downloads Articles for Offline Reading

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google Chrome for Android has now received an offline-focused feature
  • It enables the browser to automatically download relevant articles
  • The feature is available in India and more than 100 other countries

Google Chrome for Android has received the ability to start making content offline for you. The browser essentially downloads relevant articles automatically when connected to an umetered Wi-Fi network, based on the popularity of any particular content in your location or your browsing history. Once downloaded, the content is available for access even if you don’t have a connection. The new offline-specific feature is available in the latest version of Chrome for Android. Early this month, Googlereleased Chrome 67 for Android with a horizontal tab switcher. The update also brought new augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) APIs, including WebXR Device API and Generic Sensor API, to bring Web-based AR and VR experiences to mobile devices.

The new feature, which has been launched for Chrome for Android users in India and more than 100 other countries including Nigeria, Indonesia, and Brazil, offers a way to surf the Web even when you’re not connected to a constant Internet connection. “When you’re connected to free, unmetered Wi-Fi, Chrome will automatically download relevant articles, based on what content is most popular in your location,” writes Amanda Boss, Product Manager, Offline Chrome for Android, in a press statement.

If you’re signed into Chrome, the new feature will push articles that are based on your history. The downloaded content is available for access alongside all your downloaded content through the Downloads section. You can visit the section by tapping the three-dot button from the top-right segment and then selecting the Downloads option.

Back in December 2016, Chrome for Android received the feature to let users download content for viewing offline. The browser at that time added the ability to download music, videos, and full webpages. But in May 2017, Chrome received a dedicated ‘Download Page Later’ option that made it more convenient to download and view webpages for offline use. That update also brought a ‘Download Link’ option that made downloading of content easier than its original version.

Having said that, the latest feature takes Chrome to next levels by automatically downloading relevant articles on the basis of their popularity in your location or using your browsing history logs. There isn’t any workaround to enable the new experience. However, you need to have the latest Chrome version on your Android device to start receiving articles for offline read. The app is available for download via Google Play.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Google ‘App Maker’ Low-Code Tool for Building Business Apps Now Generally Available

Google 'App Maker' Low-Code Tool for Building Business Apps Now Generally Available

HIGHLIGHTS

  • App Maker is G Suite’s low-code application development environment
  • Google first launched the App Maker in November 2016
  • App building tool would allow developers access to 40 Google services

Google has made App Maker, its low-code tool for building business apps, generally available and open to all developers, a year and a half after the launch of its beta version.

“Today, we’re making App Maker generally available to help you rethink how your teams operate,” Geva Rechav, Product Manager, App Maker, wrote in a blog post late on Thursday.

“App Maker is G Suite’s low-code application development environment that makes it easy for teams to build custom apps to speed up workflows and make processes better,” Rechav added.

Google first launched the App Maker in November 2016 and made it available through its Early Adopter Program for G Suite Business at that time.

It was created with the idea of enabling line-of-business teams to create bigger apps, revamp company processes, resolve help desk tickets and more.

The new features include a built-in support for Cloud Structured Query Language (SQL), responsive templates, a drag-and-drop user interface design and declarative data modelling.

It would also come with Expanded OAuth Whitelisting controls to let administrators prevent apps from running without their approval.

In addition, the app building tool would allow developers access to 40 Google services including Gmail, Google Calendar, Sheets and other data sources, Rechav said.

The App Maker is now available to all G Suite Business and Enterprise customers, as well as G Suite for Education customers.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]