TechCrunch: App Store shrank for first time in 2017 thanks to crackdowns on spam, clones and more. “The App Store shrank for the first time in 2017, according to a new report from Appfigures. The report found the App Store lost 5 percent of its total apps over the course of the year, dropping from 2.2 million published iOS apps in the beginning of the year to 2.1 million by year-end. Google Play, meanwhile, grew in 2017 — it was up 30 percent to more than 3.6 million apps.”
BetaNews: Less than half of Android security apps offer effective protection. “A new study from independent testing lab AV-Comparatives reveals that of over 200 Android security apps tested the majority are dubious, unsafe or ineffective. The company downloaded 204 apps from the Google Play store in January this year and found 84 of the apps detected over 30 percent of malicious samples, and had zero false alarms. 79 detected under 30 percent of malware samples and/or had a high false alarm rate.”
Naked Security: Crooks infiltrate Google Play with malware in QR reading utilities. “SophosLabs just alerted us to a malware family that had infiltrated Google Play by presenting itself as a bunch of handy utilities. Sophos detects this malware as Andr/HiddnAd-AJ, and the name gives you an inkling of what the rogue apps do: blast you with ads, but only after lying low for a while to lull you into a false sense of security.”
Digital Trends: Google is making it easier to manage your podcasts straight from the Google app. “Google is getting better at helping you keep track of your favorite podcasts. Google first brought podcast support to Google Play Music in 2016, at which point users were able to search for and play podcasts straight from Search. Now, it looks like Google will be both improving podcast support from the Google app, and bringing some of that functionality to Google Assistant — meaning you’ll be able to manage your podcasts using only your voice.”
Google Blog: Introducing the new Google Play Music. “Whether reminding you to leave to catch your flight, helping you find pictures of your daughter’s recital, or suggesting the right Smart Reply, Google builds tools that help you make the world of information more accessible and useful. And at Google Play Music, we strive for the same. Building on our commitment to help you find the right music for any moment, today we’re introducing the new Google Play Music — a fresh take on our music streaming service that is smarter, easier to use, and much more assistive.”
TechCrunch: Google says it removed 700K apps from the Play Store in 2017, up 70% from 2016. “The relatively open nature of Android has made it a target for malware authors and other bad actors of all stripes who often try to get their wares onto your phone through both the official Google Play Store, third-party app stores and any other way they can think of. For most users, though, the main Android app store is Google’s own Play Store and as the company announced today, the company removed 700,000 potentially harmful or deceiving apps from its store last year. That’s up 70 percent from 2016.”
CNN: Google launches audiobooks — with no monthly subscription fee. “Google Play Books rolls out in 45 countries and nine languages starting Tuesday. The audiobooks are available on Android, iOS, the web and with Google Assistant-enabled devices like Google Home smart speakers. No subscription is required, and audiobooks can be purchased individually.” I think I’ll be stickin’ with Audible.