Everybody hates telemarketers, but the classic stranger on the line phone call has an important limiting factor: humans. Somebody has to get paid to make those calls, so there are big financial reasons for the spammers to knock it off.
Robocalls, on the other hand, require much less manpower so the bad actors have incentives to make a lot of them—even when rarely successful. With that in mind, Google, Samsung, Apple, and several other major tech corporations are getting together to try to protect consumers from predatory robocalls. Read More
There are about a half-dozen countries that have enacted some form of official "do not call" registry and many others that have signed in laws to prevent various types of spammy behavior from running rampant over the telephone system. Unfortunately, little to nothing is done to enforce these laws and the penalties usually aren't steep enough to discourage bad behavior. Google is taking matters into its own hands and giving users a way to fight back. Starting today, a new version of the Phone app is rolling out to Nexus and Android One devices with built-in spam warnings.
The warning feature comes as a part of the phone app's existing Caller ID capability, which already maintains a very thorough directory about various businesses. Read More
Cheetah Mobile, perhaps the least respected large-scale developer of mobile apps, is partnering with the truly world-class computer science and engineering programs at Carnegie Mellon University to show them how the pros shove ads into everything. Yep, this is not a drill, Cheetah Mobile is in fact teaching a course in mobile advertising at CMU's Silicon Valley campus to students paying over $40,000 per year in tuition to get graduate degrees in software development and related fields.
In the press announcement, Cheetah Mobile describes itself as "the leading developer of mission-critical mobile utility and security applications," which stretches the definition of more of those words than it would be worth listing. Read More
Update Wednesday is starting off with a new version of the Gmail app. There don't appear to be any grand changes with this release, but it does boast at least a couple minor improvements. The only obvious change in this update comes in the form of a new full screen workflow for adding email accounts. A quick teardown also reveals that users will have the option to add vacation responders to their Exchange accounts, and Gmail's Unsubscribe feature is coming soon.
Left x2: old version, Right x2: new version
The Gmail team has been cleaning up some of the leftover interface elements that didn't quite fit in with the design guidelines we all know and love. Read More
Google stands to make the most money if you're online using its search engine and viewing its ads, preferably in Chrome or on an Android device. But sometimes the internet can be a tricky place to navigate safely, and that's just not good for business. So the company is continuing its push to make the web a safer place to browse on PCs and mobile devices alike.
Before you visit a webpage that tries to trick you into downloading unwanted, potentially harmful software, Chrome will now stop you and dish out an intimidating, red warning.
The site ahead contains harmful programs. Attackers ... might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience (for example, by changing your homepage or showing extra ads on sites you visit).
See that email in the featured image of this post? It's junk. Several developers have received this and rightfully felt very nervous, but it is simply a scheme to get you to turn over your Google credentials to scammers. It isn't the cleverest phishing expedition we've ever seen, but it certainly is better than most. First of all, it is not filled with the kind of typographical and grammatical errors you often see. Also, the biggest giveaway of what is going on is obscured when viewing from Gmail. Read More
For weeks now, the vast majority of recent issues in Google's public Android issue tracker have been spam. This is no sophisticated attack, just a barrage of the most transparently useless bug submissions you can imagine. It is completely crowding out legitimate issues and it appears Google is not too concerned about that fact. We would file a bug report about it, but...
Nearly a hundred more posted just in the time I sifted through grabbing screenshots. I did see the number fluctuate a bit, suggesting that maybe Google has taken some measures to decrease it. If they have, though, they're doing a very poor job. Read More
Update, January 4th: Um, Google? Those mildly creepy spam posts are back, once again making the Android bug tracker nearly unusable with hundreds of flooded messages. Perhaps you'd like to consider putting a permanent block on the single phone number that's appearing on every post... unless you really do need a "Love Marriage Specialist in Jaipur."
Update, December 30th: It looks like Google has cleared all of the spam bug reports from the system. Well, that was fun while it lasted.
Take a look at the official bug tracking system for the Android Open Source Project this morning, and you're not going to like what you see. Read More