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Facebook has had a few security and privacy related incidents of late, with the newest one to come to light being that the Facebook for Android app sent your phone number back to Facebook's servers even if you didn't log in or didn't have an account. Facebook has said that all of these numbers have been deleted, but it still makes you wonder why they were ever collected in the first place.
The "bug," as Facebook calls it, was in the beta application that Facebook released yesterday. That bug has since been patched and Facebook has stated that the accidentally logged numbers have all been cleared from their servers. The bug came to light thanks to security firm Symantec. According to their researchers, a user's phone number would be sent to Facebook immediately upon opening the app.
It's unclear how many users were affected. This bug does not appear to be related to the other recent privacy snafu at Facebook. Still, you've got to wonder if this was something similar to the Google Street View Wi-Fi snooping issue that was settled not too long ago.
Apple users have their secure way of sending messages through iMessage, but right now Android users are a little left out. CyanogenMod hopefully have the answer to this, where the team are working on a new application called PushSMS.
Devleoper, Koushik Dutta said this week that he has constructed a secure push-based messaging plugin for CyanogenMod which encrypts messages between two CyanogenMod users from end-to-end and is sent over the Google Cloud Messaging service. Dutta adds that the feature is built directly into the CyanogenMod framework, and is compatible with third-party clients like GoSMS and Handcent.
PushSMS isn't quite available, and should arrive in a new iteration of CyanogenMod in the coming weeks.
Vine for Android has been updated to version 1.2, with the latest version of the application allowing front-facing camera support and more. We also have an upload manager for backlogged clips, settings tweaks and a bunch of performance tweaks.
Most users have switched over to Instagram, or like myself don't even use it, but for those who still prefer Vine, you can get the updated version from the Google Play Store.
Twitter's two-month-old music discovery app has been updated to help you better discover music you actually want to hear. The new feature "charts" helps you discover music from the genre you are interested in getting more music from. This way it's easier to discover music that you have the possibility of liking.
These new charts can be a genre or a specific type of chart such as "Popular." The Popular chart does what you think it would: it compiles a playlist of new music trending on Twitter. The other charts are generated in a similar manner, but are kept to the single genre that the chart is for.
It's not clear how well Twitter Music is doing as Twitter hasn't provided us any numbers. However, with Apple planning to incorporate Twitter Music into iRadio, it could become a lot more popular and valuable to the micro-blogging site.
Facebook's Android app is usually hit and miss on whether an update will be amazing and fix tons of issues or will just inject more bugs into the user experience. It appears that Facebook realizes this and has now opened a new beta testing program that all Android users are invited to join.
Facebook says that the creation of this beta tester pool is because of the sheer vastness and diversity of hardware and OS software in the Android ecosystem. This makes it very difficult for the software developers to find every bug and every issue that only appears on a specific device or version. This new program is organized by Google's new "Group for Beta Testers" service that was announced at Google I/O earlier this month.
To join the group, all you have to do is click the link at source #2 below, join the group, except the permissions, and head to the Android market and re-download the Facebook app. Facebook has created its own group (source #3) in which users can join and leave feedback, but that is not a requirement. Reporting bugs found in the application is as easy as clicking a new "report bug" button icon in the settings menu.
We know that Apple's iTunes Store and Google's Play Store are the dominant forces in digital offerings, but how are Microsoft doing in this front? The OS giant have unveiled that they're close to 100,000 apps, something they expressed at their BUILD 2013 conference this week.
Microsoft are hoping to break through 100,000 apps on the Windows Store sometime next month, and by the beginning of 2014 they hope to have around 175,000 apps available. Microsoft have told Engadget that "hundreds of millions" of apps have been downloaded, but no exact number was provided.
I'm a huge fan of Google Now, using it on the daily, but the app has just been updated with some fresh features. Google have introduced a live TV feature and Google Offers to Google Now.
The TV cards work with Internet-connected TV's, where they'll display more information about what is currently playing on your TV. Users need to connect their Android-powered device to the same network that the TV is on, and then tap "Listen for a TV Show" in Google Now. This feature will show things like factoids about the show and profiles of the actors within the show.
The second feature Google Now received was Google Offers, which will keep track of your saved offers. If you're near a store where you've got an offer available, the Offers Card will pop up with a notification alerting you of the nearby savings to be had.
Security firm Lookout have a new report which is pretty damning for US-based Android users, where they report that over one million Americans have download adware-infected Android applications, most of them without even knowing so.
Worse than that, is that 6.5% of free applications on the Google Play Store are infected with adware in some form. Lookout have noted that the most prevalent app-based mobile threat in the world today is adware, as it can take user privacy away and take things like personal information such as e-mail, location data and address lists, all without proper notification and modifying phone settings without users' consent.
Adware is a grey area of the market to explain, as there's no defined set of rules of what adware is exactly. What Lookout did instead, was provide some guidelines that they use to differentiate an innocent ad from an adware one. Lookout classify an app that is infected with adware if it displays advertising that's outside of the normal experience, if it contains unusual indentifiable information, or if it performs unexpected actions as a response to ad clicks.
Microsoft has announced a discount to its Windows Phone developer program. Microsoft is offering developers a discount on the fee normally paid to join the developer program. Instead of the yearly $99 fee, Microsoft is currently offering it for just $19. In the blog post detailing the discount, Microsoft also provided some interesting statistics regarding the Windows Phone platform.
These numbers are, of course, the good numbers as Microsoft would be unlikely to report the bad numbers. One of the most interesting and often tracked numbers is how many apps the platform has. In the blog post, Microsoft reported that the total number of apps on the Windows Platform is 160,000. Furthermore, Microsoft said that those apps drive 200 million app downloads each month.
For comparison, iOS has surpassed the 50 billion download mark. Windows 8 has around 100,000 apps available in its app store. Windows Phone also experienced the greatest year-over-year increase in marketshare, doubling its market penetration. To read the whole blog post, head over to Microsoft's site.
Instagram CEO: Windows Phone and BlackBerry app not coming 'anytime soon', Google Glass app sometime after that
It looks as though it could still be a long time before Instagram finds its way onto the Windows Phone and BlackBerry platforms. This fact comes courtesy of Instagram's CEO, who noted during an interview that Google Glass is towards the bottom of their list for new platforms. This is because Instagram considers where its users are and where the growth is.
Shortly after explaining that a Glass app is towards the bottom of their list, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom warned that BlackBerry and Windows Phone apps may not be coming anytime soon. "I'm just saying that in order of priority, the way we evaluate where to expand to is really simply where our users are, and where the growth is," the executive explained. "It took us a very long time to get to Android."
We're actually quite surprised that Instagram hasn't brought an app to the other mobile platforms as of yet. Instagram is owned by Facebook, a massive company that could easily afford to port the application to the other platforms. If you're planning on using Instagram on Google Glass just be warned that it could be a very long time until an app is released for the platform.