WIRED: You Need to Update iOS, Android, and Chrome Right Now

WIRED: You Need to Update iOS, Android, and Chrome Right Now. “APRIL HAS BEEN a big month for security updates, including emergency patches for Apple’s iOS and Google Chrome to fix vulnerabilities already being used by attackers. Microsoft has released important fixes as part of its mid-April Patch Tuesday, while Android users across multiple devices need to make sure they are applying the latest update when it becomes available. Here are all the April updates you need to know about.”

TechCrunch: Google quietly launches its awaited ‘Switch to Android’ app on iOS

TechCrunch: Google quietly launches its awaited ‘Switch to Android’ app on iOS. “Last year, reports began circulating that Google was developing a ‘Switch to Android’ app for iOS users looking to make the jump from iPhone to a smartphone running Google’s Android OS. Now that app has arrived. On Monday, Google quietly launched the Switch to Android app on the App Store in a number of global markets, including the U.S. As expected, the app promises to make the transition between mobile platforms easier to manage by helping users import their contacts, calendar, photos, and videos to their new Android phone.”

Protocol: Google bans popular Android apps that were secretly harvesting data

Protocol: Google bans popular Android apps that were secretly harvesting data. “Google has booted dozens of Android apps from the Google Play store after finding the apps included a line of code that was discreetly harvesting user data. According to the Wall Street Journal, some of the now-banned apps were Muslim prayer apps downloaded more than 10 million times. A popular highway speed trap detection app and a QR-code-reading app were also found to include the data-scraping code.”

Bleeping Computer: Russian-linked Android malware records audio, tracks your location

Bleeping Computer: Russian-linked Android malware records audio, tracks your location. “A previously unknown Android malware has been linked to the Turla hacking group after discovering the app used infrastructure previously attributed to the threat actors. Turla is a Russian state-supported hacking group known for using custom malware to target European and American systems, primarily for espionage.”

The Verge: Global science project links Android phones with satellites to improve weather forecasts

The Verge: Global science project links Android phones with satellites to improve weather forecasts. “Collecting satellite data for research is a group effort thanks to this app developed for Android users. Camaliot is a campaign funded by the European Space Agency, and its first project focuses on making smartphone owners around the world part of a project that can help improve weather forecasts by using your phone’s GPS receiver.”

CBS News: Google will send air raid alerts to Ukrainian Android users

CBS News: Google will send air raid alerts to Ukrainian Android users. “Google will immediately start rolling out alerts for incoming air raids to Ukrainian Android phone users in an effort to help them get to safety, the company announced. In a company blog post Thursday, Kent Walker, president of global affairs for Google, said the Air Raid Alert system will work in conjunction with the Ukrainian government.”

The Verge: Google details its latest big Android feature drop

The Verge: Google details its latest big Android feature drop. “Google Photos’ portrait blur feature on Android will soon be able to blur backgrounds in a wider range of photos, including pictures of pets, food, and — my personal favorite — plants. It’s one of a host of updates coming to Google’s apps and services on Android, which also includes tweaks to Google TV, a new screen time widget, and wider deployment of a Gboard feature that helps improve your grammar.”

Comment: With Assistant Snapshot going away, Google Now’s radical vision is dead for a generation (9to5 Google)

9to5 Google: Comment: With Assistant Snapshot going away, Google Now’s radical vision is dead for a generation . “It’s been clear for some time now that Assistant Snapshot ‘does not have the same level of vision, central on-phone placement, or wide backing’ as Google Now. It was never going to be game changing, but its upcoming demise officially closes the chapter on what could have been a radically different way to use smartphones.”

The Verge: Google is ditching Chrome’s data saver mode on Android

The Verge: Google is ditching Chrome’s data saver mode on Android. “Google has announced it will soon remove a feature of Chrome for Android that for years helped people cut down on their mobile data usage. Per 9to5Google, Chrome’s ‘Lite mode’ will go away with the release of Chrome version M100 in late March. Lite mode was originally known as Data Saver when Google first introduced it on Android back in 2014.”

Google Blog: Introducing the Privacy Sandbox on Android

Google Blog: Introducing the Privacy Sandbox on Android. “Today, we’re announcing a multi-year initiative to build the Privacy Sandbox on Android, with the goal of introducing new, more private advertising solutions. Specifically, these solutions will limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers, including advertising ID. We’re also exploring technologies that reduce the potential for covert data collection, including safer ways for apps to integrate with advertising SDKs.”

New York Times: Fine-Tune and Prune Your Phone’s Contacts List

New York Times: Fine-Tune and Prune Your Phone’s Contacts List. “Your phone’s contacts app can be easy to treat as a simple address book. But the default versions usually included in Apple’s iOS 15 and Google’s Android 12 can be much more useful — providing specific ringtones, travel directions, birthday reminders and more — if you take the time to flesh out the entries for your favorite people. Here’s a quick guide.”