Tag Archives: Android

Android Device Makers Are “Mutinying”

Android Robot. Français : le logo d'android 日本...

There is an interesting article that appeared on the MIT Technology Review which claims that manufactures are getting increasingly annoyed with Google’s limitations on what they can do.

Google doesn’t actually make its own smartphones, in the same way Apple does, the company just produces the software and lets handset makers use it for free. Google makes money off its Android operating system from advertising. By producing their own operating system and getting into the market, Google is securing they maintain a presence on mobile devices.

But now, according to the article, manufactures want to break free from Google’s restrictions on them. In order to be considered an official Android phone, device manufactures must satisfy very specific requirements and get permission from Google. They cannot uniquely alter the Android software in any way – if they do Google will not grant them license or consider their device compatible.

Manufactures are complaining that there is nothing that sets them apart from all the other device makers who have Google’s operating system running. They say it’s hurting their business in some areas and are fed-up with being mere vehicles for Google’s Android.

Some of these manufactures are planning to distinguish themselves from everybody else by altering the Android software to make it their own. It will not satisfy Google’s requirements or make them part of the official Android lineup, but it will make them stand out from the rest.

The manufactures seem to be emboldened by success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet which has its own custom operating system build on modified Android software.

Uh oh – the manufactures are mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore…

For more information:

Technology Review, “Android Device Makers Are Mutinying, Says Insider” – click here

Fudzilla, “Android makers tell Google to fork off” – click here

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Cell Phone Theft Crackdown

This is a good-to-know post about smartphone safety. I have been posting stuff about protecting your smartphone from online criminals, malicious apps, and intrusive Internet companies (ie. Google) that leave you vulnerable to identity theft.

But you also need to be careful not to get victimized by criminals who are disgusting enough to physically snatch your phone from you in broad daylight. Protect your property and know where all the threats are coming from. If you know better you do better.

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How To Keep Your Personal Data Private On Your Smartphone

Apple iPhone 3GS, Motorola Milestone and LG GW60

Yesterday I published a post on the Consumer Reports survey which found that majority of Internet users are concerned about apps gaining access to their personal information on their smartphones. This is actually a very serious problem and several companies have been caught collecting sensitive data off smartphones without the knowledge of the owners.

You need to take your online safety seriously, especially on those little devices most of us are carrying around everywhere nowadays. Many people say their life is in their smartphones – every little detail about themselves and it’s all so vulnerable.

There are important things you can do to protect yourself though. I always say that knowledge is power and if you know better you do better. USA Today republished an excellent article by Tecca - it warns you about some of the major threats to your smartphone and provides some useful tips to keep you safe.

If you’re an owner of a smartphone, it’s definitely something you should read – click here

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Wikipedia Announces That It Will Also Ditch Google Maps For OpenStreetMap

Image representing Wikipedia as depicted in Cr...

Earlier this month, I published a post about Apple and other companies ditching Google Maps for a free open source mapping project called OpenStreetMap – to catch up on that post, please click here.

Today, Wikipedia announced that it too will be ditching Google Maps and replacing it with OpenStreetMap. This is great news for the crowdsourced mapping project which is getting better by the day and gaining more support from major companies.

In updates it released today, Wikipedia says that it is releasing an all new application for the iPhone and it’s removing Google Maps to replace it with OpenStreetMap on the Android – which to me is a perfect match. Wikipedia is a high quality free crowdsourced site and OpenStreetMap functions in the same way but for maps. It’s a match that is meant to be and the Wikimedia Foundation acknowledged this in a statement:

“Previous versions of our application used Google Maps for the nearby view. This has now been replaced with OpenStreetMaps - an open and free source of Map Data that has been referred to as ‘Wikipedia for Maps.’ This closely aligns with our goal of making knowledge available in a free and open manner to everyone. This also means we no longer have to use proprietary Google APIs in our code, which helps it run on the millions of cheap Android handsets that are purely open source and do not have the proprietary Google applications.”

Their motivation for moving away from Google Maps doesn’t seem to be about price though, which was the reason other companies have ditched Google Maps. They say it’s more about reaching a greater number of people and making themselves more accessible.

For more information:

The Next Web, “Wikipedia updates iOS and Android apps, ditches Google Maps…” – click here

TPM, “Wikipedia Drops Google Maps For OpenStreetMap” – click here

TechCrunch, “Wikipedia’s Mobile Apps Drop Google Maps for OpenStreetMap” – click here

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Embarrassing, Apple Is Responsible For The Vast Majority Of Google’s Mobile Revenue

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

There are new revelations about the health of Google’s mobile business and it looks like Google is in really bad shape. Thanks to documents submitted in the legal battle between Google and Oracle over patents, the public gets a new look at exactly how well Google’s Android is performing.

Google is secretive about letting the public know about how much revenue Android brings in – but now we know that Android actually doesn’t make much money for Google at all. Google’s overall 2011 revenues totaled about $40 billion and much of that is from ads from search results on desktop computers. Very little of Google’s overall revenues is from mobile.

According to The Guardian, Android generated less than $550 million between 2008 and 2011 – pitiful. Google produces the Android software which it then gives away for free to handset makers to sell. Google makes its money from ad revenue on the mobile devices and from applications on Google Play (formerly known as Android Market), which is doing extremely poorly compared to Apple’s App store.

Here is where it gets particularly interesting – Google actually makes more money from Apple’s mobile devices than it does from its own Android powered smartphones! Now isn’t that hilarious, ha-ha, especially considering the recent bad blood between Google and Apple.

Apple is responsible for generating more than four times as much revenue for Google! This is because at least half of all smartphone owners use an Apple device and Google is the default search engine. Apple also extensively used Google Maps – but as recently told Google to get lost and is now using a mixture of its own acquired mapping technology and free crowdsourced mapping.

Who knew that Apple had such a big role in Google’s mobile business?

Majority of Google’s mobile traffic can be credited to Apple. Google should be grateful to Apple for being so helpful, but Google treats Apple like crap. Google expressed its gratitude to Apple by trying to impose itself into Apple’s territory, which infuriated Apple.

What did Apple do as payback?

Apple no longer extensively uses Google Maps, Apple added other search engines as alternative options to Google’s, and Apple appears to be ditching Google altogether in China (a huge and attractive market). And we all know about how Apple set its Safari Web browser default to automatically block third-party tracking cookies  - however, it was exposed last month that Google illegally circumvented this security feature, but is now facing countless lawsuits from Apple users.

Psst…hey Google…don’t bite that hand that feeds you.

For more information:

The Guardian, “Google’s Android has generated just $550m since 2008, figures suggest” – click here

AppleInsider, “Google earns 80% of its mobile revenue from iOS, just 20% from Android” – click here

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Users Sue Google At A Federal Court In New York

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Google’s customers are fighting back against the company for changing the way it does business without the full consent of its users. Consumers feel betrayed, disturbed, and wronged by Google when the company decided to consolidate its several privacy policies into one policy.

Google’s new more intrusive privacy policy took effect on March 1st, 2012. This policy now allows Google to combine your personal information from all of its products so that the company can figure you out better. The company wants to eliminate “the faceless Web”, which means that you have less privacy and Google has more of your personal data.

The new privacy policy (which many say equals to no privacy at all) allows Google to more easily sell your personal data to advertisers. Of course, the more Google knows about you the more valuable that data is to advertisers. Google makes over 90% of its revenues from advertising.

The potential class action lawsuit against Google was filed today in a federal court in New York. The persons who filed the lawsuit are seeking monetary damages from Google for deception and are complaining that their privacy has been violated by Google.

If you recall, back in late February 36 US attorneys general sent Google a strongly worded letter saying that they have strong concerns about Google’s new privacy policy. The attorneys general urged Google to reconsider implementing their “troubling” privacy policy, or at least give users an “opt-out” option. Google refused to let users opt-out of increased data harvesting and said that if users are really concerned they can commit the ultimate opt-out by not using any Google product at all.

But the attorneys general said that ditching Google’s products altogether is easier said than done. They wrote:

“This invasion of privacy will be costly for many users to escape. For users who rely on Google products for their business – a use that Google has actively promoted – avoiding this information sharing may mean moving their entire business over to different platforms, reprinting any business cards or letterhead that contained Gmail addresses, re-training employees on web-based sharing and calendar services, and more. The problem is compounded for the many federal, state, and local government agencies that have transitioned to Google Apps for Government at the encouragement of your company,and that now will need to spend taxpayer dollars determining how this change affects the security of their information and whether they need to switch to different platforms.”

Millions of people bought into the hype and lies Google sold us for many years. Many of us thought that Google wasn’t like other companies and that it could do no evil. But Google is far from being a good, altruistic, and ethical company. Google will say and do just about anything to maximize its profits – even if it disadvantages users.

Earlier this month – a British man named Alex Hanff sued Google at a small claims court to compensate him for a new smartphone. Mr. Hanff said that he no longer can use Google’s phone after the company changed its privacy policy. He said that the changes are a “significant infringement” to his rights and that he gave Google no consent to collect even more personal data about him.

Google is facing lawsuits from all sorts of different places and for a variety of reasons. It’s also facing increasing pressure from international regulators. This is all bad news for Google, but good news for the average consumer. Keep putting the pressures on Google.

For more information:

Financial Post – click here

googleexposed – click here

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Big Google Wants To Listen To Your Phone Calls Too

Android Robot. Français : le logo d'android 日本...

 Google is about to get a lot creepier.

Remember when major companies like Microsoft and consumer advocacy groups warned people that Google reads your emails to serve you ads? Well – now Google has plans to listen to your phone calls too on Google powered smartphones to serve you ads in real-time.

Google has new technology that will allow it to hear the background noise during your phone calls. If you’re making a call while it’s raining outside, Google will pick this up and will serve you ads for umbrellas. Creepy to the max!

Google will do anything to line its pockets with more advertising dollars and consumers will have more of their privacy diminished. Google makes over 90% of its revenues from advertising. You are not Google’s customer, you’re Google’s product. They sell your personal information to advertisers so that they can rake in about $40 billion every year.

Read more – click here

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A British Android Smartphone Owner Sues Google Over Privacy Policy Bait-And-Switch

 Google’s new company slogan should be: “Another Day – Another Lawsuit”

As more and more people start waking up from their blissful slumber, expect to see more legal nightmares for Google. After Google deliberately bypassed the privacy and security settings of Apple’s Safari web browser so that Google could spy on those users – several Apple Safari users filed a class-action lawsuit against Google for violating their privacy and intentionally exposing them to other potential threats.

Well now – a British man named Alex Hanff has filed a lawsuit at a small claims court to demand reimbursement from Google for about £400. That is how much it will cost him to replace his Google Android smartphone.

Mr. Hanff says that Google left him with no other option but to discard his phone completely when the company decided to go ahead and implement their new more intrusive privacy policy – despite public outcry asking the company to reconsider.

He says that because Google changed their privacy policy, they broke the contract terms he agreed to when he purchased his smartphone. He bought the phone under the understanding his personal information would be used in one way and now Google said they will use it in different way. Mr. Hanff isn’t going to let Google pull a bait-and-switch on him. He said,

“The changes are a significant infringement of my right to privacy and I do not consent to Google being able to use my data in such a way”

It’s an expensive change for Britain’s estimated 9.3 million Android users who are not allowed to opt-out of the new privacy policy. All they can do is either accept increased intrusion to their privacy or give up their phones altogether. If Google is going to force people to accept the new policy, then Google should be forced to pay people back the money they deceived them out of.

Last week, Attorneys General from 36 US states and territories sent a strongly worded letter to Google asking them to give consumers an opt-out option from Google’s new privacy policy. They said that Google’s privacy policy will lead to various violations of their privacy and it will be expensive for people to escape Google. They wrote:

“This invasion of privacy will be costly for many users to escape. For users who rely on Google products for their business – a use that Google has actively promoted – avoiding this information sharing may mean moving their entire business over to different platforms, reprinting any business cards or letterhead that contained Gmail addresses, re-training employees on web-based sharing and calendar services, and more. The problem is compounded for the many federal, state, and local government agencies that have transitioned to Google Apps for Government at the encouragement of your company, and that now will need to spend taxpayer dollars determining how this change affects the security of their information and whether they need to switch to different platforms”

Google refused to pay any attention to their concerns, though. Google has refused to listen to anybody but themselves and advertisers. Google’s business model depends on 90% of their revenues to come from advertising. Google wants to harvest more of our personal data so that it can sell it to advertisers.

This lack of respect for the concerns of others left Mr. Hanff shaking his head in disgust. He said,

“They’ve been asked to suspend the privacy policy changes several times, and Google keeps telling the regulators where to go. They’ve basically stuck two fingers up. Hopefully my case will open an avenue for other consumers to take similar action”

Pay up, Google! You neglected to respect your users; they will now neglect to do business with you. Good riddance!

To read my other post regarding the letter from the Attorneys General – click here

UPDATE

A commenter asked me to provide more details on this story, specifically the process Mr. Hanff took to file his lawsuit:

According to an interview between Mr. Hanff and The Inquirer, his choice to file his lawsuit at a small claims court was very deliberate. He said that small claims courts are much easier to get through, require minimal money to file a complaint, and you don’t need a lawyer to represent you. He encourages other Android owners to file a lawsuit with a small claims court for those reasons because he knows that many people don’t have the money and time to go through an extensive lawsuit – whereas, at a small claims court, there is little to lose and much to gain. Mr. Hanff said,

“The cost of filing in Small Claims Court is very low and the chance of having costs awarded against you should you lose are very slim, so from a risk mitigation perspective it is the safest route for consumers to take. The last thing I wanted to do was put people at risk of huge costs so I would advise the public to use the small claims route if they want to take action against Google on this issue.

I expect Google will offer a defense. I certainly don’t have any plans to accept an out of court settlement from Google unless that settlement can be made public and includes an admission from Google that the changes are prejudicial to privacy. So yes, I am expecting a fight but it is a fight I am more than prepared to undertake.”  

For more information:

The Telegraph, “Google sued for Android refund over privacy shakeup” – click here

The Telegraph, “Google Android users ‘must accept new privacy policy’” – click here

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