Google Updates Play Store Policies to Protect Android Users

Google has updated its developer Play Store policies with an aim toward tamping down intrusive ads and other unpleasant consumer experiences, such as VPN abuse and brand impersonation on Android. Full-screen interstitial ads of all formats (video, GIF, static, etc.) that display unexpectedly — that often lead to users engaging with something else — are forbidden effective September 22. Likewise, apps that allow ads at the beginning of a game level or during the beginning of a game content segment are on the robust list of infractions the Play Store will no longer tolerate. Continue reading Google Updates Play Store Policies to Protect Android Users

Google Says Android TV at 110 Million, Adds Central Casting

Google TV is working on an app that will let users cast content from multiple streaming services to a central TV or display. A new “central casting” button announced at the Google I/O developer conference will later this year allow the Google TV app on Android phones or tablets to send content from a variety of different streaming services to your TV through a single app. The Alphabet unit also updated statistics for its Android TV ecosystem, detailing 110 million monthly active devices using the Android TV OS, which includes Google TV. That’s an increase from 2021’s 80 million monthly active devices. Continue reading Google Says Android TV at 110 Million, Adds Central Casting

Spotify Debuts Live Streaming In-App, Rebrands Greenroom

Spotify is integrating live audio capabilities from its Spotify Greenroom app into the flagship Spotify service and rebranding the feature as “Spotify Live.” The company says the change “reflects our belief in the future of live-audio creators and live experiences being provided to all 406 million Spotify listeners around the globe.” Spotify Live will continue to live as a standalone app, as well as providing live-stream functionality within Spotify for music and podcasts. Beginning this week, Spotify will enable in-app live streaming for its original programming while independent creators can stream live using the separate app. Continue reading Spotify Debuts Live Streaming In-App, Rebrands Greenroom

Reddit Integrates Dubsmash Video Features into Its Own App

Reddit is shutting down its short-form video platform, Dubsmash, on February 22, 2022. As a result, Dubsmash will no longer be available to download from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store, and the downloaded app will cease to function. After acquiring Dubsmash in 2020, Reddit has been working on integrating its own video-sharing functions with Dubsmash. The integrated version will add several new features, including creative video editing, voice-over, and multiple filters for users to apply to their short clips. In addition, a new video streaming feature was added to the app exclusively for iOS users back in August. Continue reading Reddit Integrates Dubsmash Video Features into Its Own App

Netflix Continues Games Push with Purchase of Night School

Netflix continues its push into video games with the acquisition of Night School Studio, best known for developing narrative titles like “Oxenfree.” The move is part of a plan to expand the Netflix membership library to include “exclusive games designed for every kind of gamer and any level of play,” said vice president of game development Mike Verdu in a statement announcing the purchase. Within the past month the streaming service released two “Stranger Things” games globally and issued three Android mobile games in Poland, Italy and Spain. Netflix games have no ads or in-app purchases. Continue reading Netflix Continues Games Push with Purchase of Night School

Latest Multi-State Antitrust Lawsuit Targets Google Play Store

Alphabet’s Google is being sued by a group of 36 states and the District of Columbia that claim the Big Tech company abuses its market dominance with the Google Play Store. Although it is the fourth such state or federal antitrust lawsuit filed against Google since October, this lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is the first to take aim directly at the tech giant’s app store. The other suits have focused on search and advertising. California, Utah, North Carolina, New York and Tennessee lead this suit. Continue reading Latest Multi-State Antitrust Lawsuit Targets Google Play Store

Google Reduces Developer Fees via Its Play Media Experience

Google has unveiled the Play Media Experience Program, offering app developers “additional discovery and engagement opportunities across devices” and a “service fee of 15 percent for all applicable earnings.” The company said the program is the global expansion of a previous invite-only program that it had never publicly revealed. Amazon and Apple apparently had similar programs that they’ve expanded, but Google’s program is distinct in that it asks developers to support Google TV, Wear OS, Android Auto and its other platforms. Continue reading Google Reduces Developer Fees via Its Play Media Experience

Arizona Bill Curbing Apple, Google App Stores Passes House

Last week, the Arizona House of Representatives voted 31-29 to pass HB 2005, requiring app stores to allow app developers to use their own payment processing systems. Apple and Google, which have banned developers from doing so, have reaped 15-30 percent from every purchase made from an app in their stores. The bill’s House passage is considered a victory for the non-profit Coalition for App Fairness (CAF). To become law, the Arizona Senate has to approve the proposed legislation. Arizona governor Doug Ducey still has the option to veto it. Continue reading Arizona Bill Curbing Apple, Google App Stores Passes House

App Developers Team to Oppose Apple, Google Store Rules

Thirteen app developers including Basecamp, Epic, Match Group and Spotify formed the nonprofit Coalition for App Fairness to oppose some of the policies of Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. Coalition spokeswoman Sarah Maxwell said the impetus for forming the group was to recognize “we’re not alone in this, and maybe what we should do is advocate on behalf of everybody.” Apple and Google have been scrutinized by regulators in the U.S. and the European Union; the Justice Department is expected to file an antitrust suit against Google shortly.

Continue reading App Developers Team to Oppose Apple, Google Store Rules

App Store Battle: Epic Sues Apple, Google for Pulling ‘Fortnite’

In an ongoing dispute over Apple’s 30 percent commissions in its App Store, Epic Games, maker of “Fortnite,” threw down the gauntlet by openly encouraging players to pay the company directly, rather than through Apple and Google’s app stores. But within hours of the announcement, Apple removed “Fortnite” from its App Store, noting Epic’s “express intent of violating App Store guidelines.” Google also pulled the game from its Play Store. Epic Games responded by suing the two tech giants in federal court, claiming antitrust violations. Continue reading App Store Battle: Epic Sues Apple, Google for Pulling ‘Fortnite’

Google Ramps Up Online Shopping, Faces Scrutiny in Europe

Google has tried to compete with Amazon in online shopping four times since 2013. But, with shoppers stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company now sees another opportunity. To lure sellers, Google said it would waive sales commissions, which range from 5 percent to 15 percent, and let retailers use third-party payment and order management services like Shopify. In the European Union, meanwhile, Google is facing the demand that it “make major concessions” related to its $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit, including how it uses customer data for search and advertising. Continue reading Google Ramps Up Online Shopping, Faces Scrutiny in Europe

Google Stadia Code Reveals Plans to Debut Free Tier, More

When Google debuted its Stadia cloud gaming service in November of last year, players had one choice: Stadia Pro, priced at $10 per month. But the company had stated it would unveil two tiers of service, and it appears to be on the verge of introducing its free tier, as well as a player limit and YouTube live streaming. Google Stadia has not revealed a launch date for the potential free tier, which was found in the code of its version 2.7 update. Also revealed in the code is a new option to sign up without a paid code. Continue reading Google Stadia Code Reveals Plans to Debut Free Tier, More

Chinese Mobile Giants Join Forces to Develop App Platform

In China, four major mobile companies have teamed up to replace Google Play, which cannot operate there. Xiaomi, Huawei Technologies, Oppo and Vivo have revealed plans to debut what they’ve dubbed the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA), to make it easier for game, music, movie and other app developers to sell their wares in overseas markets. According to sources, GDSA was originally going to launch in March, but it’s unknown whether that might be delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. Continue reading Chinese Mobile Giants Join Forces to Develop App Platform

Microsoft Targets Phone Market with Foldable Surface Duo

Having exited the smartphone market in 2017, Microsoft will rejoin it by the 2020 holiday season with the Surface Duo, a foldable, dual-screen device. Developed in collaboration with Alphabet, Microsoft’s Surface Duo will run on the Android operating system and feature the Google Play Store. Microsoft stated its intent to develop its own software for the device. The company also announced its Surface Pro X, a thinner version of its Surface Pro laptop, which features a custom-designed chip co-developed with Qualcomm. Continue reading Microsoft Targets Phone Market with Foldable Surface Duo

Why Adware Is the Most Intrusive Malware on Our Devices

Adware is the flavor of malware that the ordinary person is most likely to encounter on a smartphone or browser. Aimed at generating profits, adware sneaks ads into apps and browsers, with advertisers paying developers based on the number of people who load them. The smartphone is the ideal environment for this version of malware, via apps sold in Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store. Ad malware largely goes unnoticed because its main impact (besides relentlessly serving ads) is to slow down the device. Continue reading Why Adware Is the Most Intrusive Malware on Our Devices