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An interesting development is occurring, with Amazon's app quietly being removed, or disappearing from the Google Play Store. Why? Well, it should be pretty obvious: Google doesn't want to compete with Amazon in its own backyard.
Amazon has said that its updated app is the best way to experience its marketplace on Android, but in an official statement the company said its app had to be removed after an update was made to Google's Developer Distribution Agreement. The agreement now states that any app that "facilitates the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Store" cannot be approved for the Google Play Store.
The State of Iowa plans to release a smartphone app in 2015 that will allow residents to display their driver's licenses on mobile phones. The app will provide drivers a chance to prove they have a valid license, and is being described as a "modern form of identification," providing a rather interesting opportunity. The app can be secured by a PIN number, and a biometric authentication solution will be implemented in the future.
"It was an easy legislative change a couple years ago to allow that," said Mark Lowe, Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) director of motor vehicle division, in a statement to eWeek. "The market drove demand [for the capability]. To me, that's the reason you now look at this kind of mobile app. People really look at their mobile devices to do a lot of things nowadays."
The mobile app can be disabled by Iowa DOT when a smartphone is lost or stolen, and won't be a requirement for drivers.
Google has announced that it is updating Hangouts for Android with some nifty new features, which will have 16 pages of new stickers available, some new basic video filters, and more.
Hangouts for Android will be updated with some new smart features that will be baked directly into the chat, and while there may already be some location-based features, the updated version of Hangouts for Android will show users a map and pin when it detects a contact asking you where you are at that time.
Some other features that will be making their way into the new app will include a "last seen" timestamp, so you can see if that person has actually read your important messages, or not. There will also be a new importing feature that will let you shift all of your contacts from your smartphone, into Hangouts. We should see the updated version of Hangouts for Android rolled out in the coming days.
iHeart is a new tool tailored towards health conscious consumers. Coming out of Vancouver, BC - this product and app claims to measure your aortic stiffness, said to be able to give you a readout of your physiological age among other things.
'Vitalsines' is the Bio-Tech start-up company behind this venture. Their president Dr. Jess Goodman explained their goals in a recent press release as "[wanting] to provide people with a system that objectively shows how positive lifestyle choices extend lifespan". She goes on to explain their new development as "a product that is complimentary to other fitness tools on the market. iHeart is a window to the life sustaining world within. It gives people the positive reinforcement to continue with their positive lifestyle changes".
This product comes in two parts - a Bluetooth fingertip 'oximeter' and a paired iOS application. Explained as a 'non-invasive' technology, this device will conduce a 30 second scan on your arterial pulse signal, sending the information directly to your iOS device with the free application installed. You'll then be able to see the readout of your Aortic stiffness and physiological age immediately with this information being stored locally on your device and the http://www.iHeartalive.com webpage - allowing you to track progress.
A long-awaited feature has just been introduced to Facebook's mobile application - allowing you to search for specific posts alongside people, pages, groups and events.
We've been shown an example thanks to Gizmodo, the picture above shows that you can search specific keywords like "Jessica" and "Wedding", allowing the application to provide you with accurate results in all available fields, including post searches.
Google has removed The Pirate Bay Proxy, The Pirate Bay Mirror, PirateApp, and The Pirate Bay Premium from the Google Play Store, e-mailing the respective developers behind the apps telling them their precious applications had been removed.
Torrent Freak reported: "Another drastic move came today when Google began removing many Pirate Bay related apps from its Play store. The apps in question include "The Pirate Bay Proxy," "The Pirate Bay Premium," "The Pirate Bay Mirror" and "PirateApp"." The reason for the removal of these apps is a bit tricky, as there were not any DMCA takedown notices.
The apps themselves are described as providing mobile-optimized access to The Pirate Bay, with some of the applications including a proxy site to get around the various blocks put up by various service providers. Google adds that these apps are in violation of the IP provision of its content policy. One e-mail sent to a developer said: "REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of the intellectual property and impersonation or deceptive behavior provisions of the Content Policy. Please refer to the IP infringement and impersonation policy help article for more information".
If you've been using AirDroid: great, if not, you might want to check it out. AirDroid 3 is now out, a piece of software that allows you to access, and use your Android-powered devices from your desktop.
Sand Studio has announced that it has released AirDroid 3, its latest and greatest update to AirDroid that has one very big new trick up its sleeve: a native app. AirDroid can still be used from your web browser, but with a native application out now, you have a big choice. There are some features that you should know about, which might swing your decision-making process:
- Files: Transfer between a computer and an Android device.
- SMS: Receive and reply to SMS.
- Notification mirroring: Android app notifications are pushed to the desktop in real-time.
- Calls: Get incoming call alerts and reject calls with a message.
- Contacts: Manage contacts.
- Air Mirror (mirrors an Android device's display so any app can be used on a computer)
Lyft's co-founder John Zimmer has appeared in an interview with Bloomberg TV today, covering issues based around privacy questions on user data, their main competitor 'Uber' and plans for expansion throughout the new year.
As we see ride-share applications begin to hit the mainstream market, there have been reports on the downturn in the traditional Taxi business alongside some reasoning for people making the change to this new-age format.Ride-share services currently have the general reputation for being more timely and neat, this is coupled with reported issues in the past of Taxi drivers being unsafe and potentially harmful toward their customers - sparking of public outrage here in Australia and throughout other parts of the Western world.
Zimmer defended Lyft's privacy options today, stating that "We (Lyft) do not share, currently share information like this with any third party. So that's definitely something that we can talk about." He went on to mention that Lyft's user-base has skyrocketed, seeing their year-over-year rides rise by 6 times, alongside their year-to-days rides reaching a 5 times increase - which is mirrored by their revenue increase.
Snapchat has just rolled out location-based photo filters, which makes it a little easier to create, and share your own geofilters, in a way.
The new ability allows you to take a picture at a specific place, such as a beach, and then swiping to the right reveals the snapshot editing screen, showing the image overlay that reflects where you are at the time. The feature launched with support for locations like NYC and LA, but now Snapchat allows you to edit locations like weddings, street fairs,r and much more.
Mozilla has just updated Firefox for Android, providing a bunch of fixes and new features. The thing that will have Firefox for Android users talking, is that it now supports mirroring to Chromecast. The list of fixes and new features can be found below:
- Mirroring support for Chromecast
- Added support for Prefer:Safe HTTP header
- Wikipedia search now uses HTTPS (en-US only)
- Public key pinning support enabled
- Redesigned first run experience
- Device Storage API enabled
- ECMAScript 6 WeakSet
- CSS3 Font variants and features control
- MP4 video playback on Android L
- Flash does not work on Android L
- MP3 files do not play on Android L
You can grab Firefox for Android from the Google Play store, or here.