If you're an Android user, Google has a scary amount of information on you, and matters get worse if you're deeply embedded in the company's app ecosystem — getting locked out of your Google account can have serious consequences then. Thankfully, Android is open source, so it's possible to evade Google without having to leave the platform altogether — just look at Amazon's tablets or Huawei's Google-less phones. But if you'd rather be completely independent from big corporations, going for a free and open-source custom ROM built on top of Android's core might be the best solution.
Some Google apps are failing to install on Android 11 when you try to sideload the latest versions from a trustworthy source like our sister site APK Mirror. Ever since Google released the new Android OS, an "The new package couldn't be installed because the verification did not succeed" (INSTALL_FAILED_VERIFICATION_FAILURE) error keeps popping up for some people who want to install the most recent version of the Google Camera or the Google Recorder, for example.
When the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G were released, Google also updated a few of its first-party apps — the Camera and the Recorder, to be specific. But when people with older Pixel phones tried to sideload these to their phones, some ran into an odd INSTALL_FAILED_VERIFICATION_FAILURE error message even though the cryptographic signature matched and there should've been nothing standing in the way. We quickly found a workaround, but we never really understood why the error was popping up in the first place. Thanks to an investigation by our friends over at XDA, we now have an idea of what causes the problem.
After buying an iPad Air a couple of months ago, I was curious about the Google services experience on iOS. Over the previous years, I've frequently heard about features that roll out to Google's apps on its rival platform before making it to its own OS, so I wanted to dig into the biggest Google apps and services to see if they offered anything new on iOS that we haven't seen on Android. My investigation turned up several examples, seven of which are quite significant, plus a few other less substantial ones.
Duo and Google Messages are among the best communication apps Google has ever released, so it's no surprise that they're incredibly popular even among people whose phones ship without Google apps. Unfortunately, it looks like those uncertified phones might soon not be able to run Duo and Messages anymore. XDA Developers and 9to5Google have uncovered strings that reveal that the apps will soon stop working on unsupported devices.
Huawei just announced the Mate 40, but like any other recent phone from the company, it's crippled by the lack of Google apps. It's possible to install these applications and the corresponding services on Huawei and Honor phones, but until now, the process was tedious and involved dozens of steps. The aptly called app Googlefieris looking to change that — it doesn't offer a one-step solution, but it makes the process much more approachable with limited automation and step-by-step guidance.
Incognito mode for Google Maps has been around since late last year, but if you haven't gone looking for it in recent months, you likely haven't noticed it was even there. For whatever reasons you may want to duck under the cloak of privacy, we'll show you exactly how to go incognito within Google Maps.
There are dozens of apps in the Google Play Store that purport to do the job when it comes to digitizing tangible, paper photos. But after poring through the reviews of different apps in the store, we concluded that Google's PhotoScan app remains one of the best and easiest to use for this tedious process. It also syncs up with Google Photos, so it's an ace choice if you're already deep into the ecosystem.
The Fairphone 3 is the perfect choice for somebody who values a repairable, environment-friendly phone, but just like most other handsets, it runs an Android version with Google apps out of the box — not ideal for someone who is additionally looking to take the Californian company out of the equation. That's where a new cooperation with /e/OS, the de-Googlefied Android version based on LineageOS and microG, comes in. The foundation behind it will start selling the Fairphone 3 equipped with its Android fork on May 6.
A month ago, Austrian Huawei manager Fred Wangfei said the company wouldn't return to Google's apps and services even if the US trade ban lifted. The Chinese conglomerate tried to backtrack on that statement, but it would still make sense for it to work on its independence in case it finds itself caught in the middle of another trade skirmish. For Google, this isn't the best situation as it could lose a lot of revenue if Huawei succeeds. That's why it has made a formal application to the US government seeking permission to trade with Huawei, as reported by the dpa via Heise.