Over the last week or so, the popular SMS to Gmail backup application SMS Backup+ has finally stopped working as a result of Google's Gmail API changes. When messages regarding the app's impending loss of functionality were sent out a few months back, our readers were understandably upset. After all, over five million people use SMS Backup+, and not just for backups, but for moving messages between devices and the convenience of Gmail-based threaded conversation view. Thankfully, SMS Backup+ has an IMAP-based workaround which still works. Read More
Over the last year, Google has been instituting sweeping changes when it comes to app permissions to help protect user privacy. It imposed new restrictions when it came to SMS and phone permissions, and plenty of app makers found themselves caught in the Google support machine. Now developers found in violation of recent Gmail API changes are left out in the lurch, and the list of affected apps includes SMS Backup+, Nine, and even SwiftKey. Read More
Late last year, Google decided it was time to crack down on apps requesting SMS and call log permissions. Ostensibly, exceptions would be granted for categories including backups and automation, but as of now, there are still gaps which cover legitimate use cases. While some popular apps like Tasker have successfully secured exemptions, others like Cerberus have not. Instead, they've decided to strip out those permissions or risk facing the wrath of Google's upcoming January 9th banhammer, killing associated functionality and disappointing millions of long-time users to adhere to the Play Store's new policy. Read More
Since the beginning of the year, Google has worked on Project Strobe, an extensive review of third-party developer access to the data of your Google Account and Android device. The operation also analyzed the company’s underlying philosophy of how information is used by other apps. As part of its findings and changes, it determined that users give third-party access to their Gmail with only specific intentions. Consequently, limits will be implemented for which use cases will be permitted. Read More
The Play Store may be packed with content, but there are some pretty strict rules in place when it comes to the things apps distributed by Google can do, and once in a while those rules are refreshed or tweaked. Starting this month, Google has refined its Developer Program Policies to include limits to call log and SMS permission access, explicit prohibitions against surveillance and "commercial spyware apps," and new Android Contacts API restrictions. Read More
Shortly before the Facebook Home launch, some users noticed a new version of Facebook was available on their device, but it wasn't through the Play Store. Instead, the update came directly through the app, bypassing the Store altogether. Naturally, there was outrage, people were angry, felt violated, and whatnot. For Facebook, however, this was a way of getting a beta version of its app out to some users without having to give it to all users. It did a similar sort of update just last night, proving that this wasn't just a one-time thing.
Regardless of why Facebook has chosen to circumvent the Play Store for its own update mechanism, though, that didn't sit too well with Google. Read More