Google has launched a Data Safety feature for apps that are on the Google Play store. This was announced on Google’s The Keyword blog in a post titled: “Get more information about your apps in Google Play”. It was written by Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy Suzanne Frey.
Google’s Data Safety features are likely a response to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency. It gives iOS users the ability to not only see what each app on their devices is tracking, but also to stop the apps from doing that. The Keyword blog includes information about what their Data Safety feature does:
We heard from users and app developers that displaying the data an app collects, without additional context, is not enough. Users want to know for what purpose their data is being collected and whether the developer is sharing user data with third parties. In addition, users want to understand how app developers are securing user data after an app is downloaded.
Here is the information developers can show in the Data safety section:
- Whether the developer is collecting data and for what purpose.
- Whether the developer is sharing data with third parties.
- The app’s security practices, like encryption of data in transit and whether users can ask for data to be deleted.
- Whether a qualifying app has committed to following Google Play’s Families Policy to better protect children in the Play store.
- Whether the developer has validated their security practices against a global security standard (more specifically, the MASVS).
TechCrunch reported that both sets of labels focus on informing users about how apps collect and manage data and user privacy. There are some key differences. Apple’s largely focuses on what data is being collected, including data used for tracking purposes, and on informing the user what’s linked to them. According to TechCrunch, Google’s labels put a bigger focus on whether you can trust the data that’s collected is being handled responsibly by allowing developers to disclose if they follow best practices around data security.
TechCrunch also reported that the labels give Android developers a way to make their case as to why they collect the data on the label, so users can understand how the data is used. This helps inform the user’s decision to download the app. They can also see if the data collection is required or optional.
Personally, I’m in favor of labels that let people know what an app is going to track and/or collect from them if they decide to download an app. The labels require app developers to be more ethical about why they want to grab a user’s data.
Before going any further, I want to wish all of the GNC readers a happy New Year! To celebrate, many services are holding sales and even offering free options on this first day of 2014.
If you are an Android user, or simply a customer of Google Music, then you’ll want to head into the Play store today. The search giant has, not only unveiled its favorite 20 songs of the year that has passed, but is willing to give them away. Every single tune on the list is completely free today.
Songs include tracks CHVRCHES, Kanye West, Arcade Fire Bob Marley (not exactly new this past year) and many others. Aside from the music, the company also offers a few deals of apps and other items, but you’ll need to take advantage of the deals today, so don’t hesitate.
One of the biggest frustrations for cord cutters is they cannot get premium TV shows from HBO or Showtime. Well, HBO has changed that (in a way). Shows like Game of Thrones, the Newsroom, True Blood and more will be found on Google Play starting at $1.99 per episode. You can even get full seasons at $19.
HBO said this was just the beginning of their partnership with Google Play. According to an article on Engadget, they plan to put more content up soon – including older shows and documentaries.
A la carte options are very similar to what iTunes does. I used to get all my episodes of Mad Men and Breaking Bad for $35. Only downfall is I would have to wait 24 hours for the shows to be uploaded and cataloged in iTunes.
This also doesn’t void any contracts with cable companies.
HBO will be rolling this out in the coming months.
The Clash did not start the Punk music movement, but the band helped define it in conjunction with others such as The Jam, Sex Pistols and The Damned. More than 30 years later, much of this music has survived the test of time and today Google Play is commemorating one of the most popular bands of the era.
As Google points out, “from the reggae-inspired social commentary of tracks like “White Man in Hammersmith Palais,” to hip-hop infused cuts like “Magnificent Seven” and even Top 40 hits such as “Rock the Casbah,” their songs gave a generation a lifelong connection not just to the Clash, but to music in general”.
In celebration of the re-release of some of The Clash’s most popular work, Google Play has teamed with the surviving members (Joe Strummer passed away in 2002) to produce a series titled Audio Ammunition and featuring unseen footage of the late Joe Strummer discussing the arc of the band’s career.
Part one of this five-part series can been seen on Google Play, and you can check out the other four parts on Play YouTube channel at youtube.com/googleplay. Digging out your London Calling album is optional.
I remember when Google launched Checkout almost 7 years ago (June 29, 2006). The idea of combining checkout with search and advertising so you could online shop faster (and possibly buy more stuff) was an intriguing idea. I guess it just didn’t work too well.
Google announced they will retire Checkout payment processing tool on Nov. 20, and warned retailers they will need to move to a different payment processing platform.
Of course, we saw the writing on the wall as Checkout merged with Wallet back in November. Google hoped it would take on Paypal – which dominates online payment services at this time. Wallet is not going away – in fact it will become the focus of its Google Play store. Merchants will also be able to apply for Wallet’s “Instant Buy” feature.
Justin Lawyer, Senior Product Manager of Wallet posted on the blog that “shoppers can continue to use Google Wallet to make purchases on merchant apps and sites (such as Priceline, Uber, and Rue La La), as well as on Google properties, such as Google Play and Chrome Web Store. Just look for the Google Wallet button to make safer and more secure payments.”
Google regularly slips out updates to it’s Play Store for Android and sometimes those updates bring some major changes. Then again, sometimes the update is a boring behind-the-scenes little fix that takes care of bugs. Version 3.10.10, which showed up in the download channel today, seems to be the latter.
The latest Google Play download is all of 1.5 KB bigger than the previous version and, after installing it, I was hard-pressed to find a single cosmetic change. I did see one report that said “there are some tweaks to the in-app billing, checkout, and authentication code”.
With that said, any update to the Play store is certainly worth downloading and installing. You can do so right from your phone or tablet, but I find it easiest to download to my PC, plug in my phone, move the file over and then use an installer app like Easy Installer to get the app up and running. You can grab the .APK file from here.
Google is at it again. The company has begun rolling out version 3.10.9 of their Play store for Android. This updates comes closely on the heels of recent updates to versions 3.9.16 and 3.9.17. Version 3.9.16 brought a number of new features, while the following update seemed to be more of a bug fix.
The new 3.10.9 has also brought along a number of new features including a new screen that pops up after you start installing a new app. This screen is different than the one we become accustomed to seeing during an app installation as it now displays a “Users Also Installed” list that makes for easier discovery. There is also a “Keep shopping” button that pops up at the end.
The update also a “Remove” icon that has been added to the Wishlist feature that was added back in 3.9.16. Finally there is now a “Translate” button next to any app that includes a description that is not in your native language.
The update is rolling out gradually, but if you can’t wait then you can grab the .APK file now.