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.
Wired: Android Users: To Avoid Malware, Ditch Google’s App Store. “Yale Privacy Lab is now collaborating with Exodus Privacy to detect and expose trackers with the help of the F-Droid app store. F-Droid is the best substitute for Google Play, because it only offers FOSS apps without tracking, has a strict auditing process, and may be installed on most Android devices without any hassles or restrictions. Of course, it can be used alongside Google Play, as well. It’s true that Google does screen apps submitted to the Play store to filter out malware, but the process is still mostly automated and very quick— too quick to detect Android malware before it’s published, as we’ve seen.”
TechRadar: Audiobooks are coming very soon to Google Play. “If you like having your literature read out to you, keep your eyes on the Google Play Store, as it looks like a dedicated audiobook section is on the way – and if you’re quick you might be able to get a hefty discount on your first purchase when the changes go live.”
Reuters: Researchers find pop-up porn malware on Google game apps. “Security firm Check Point on Friday said it had discovered new malicious software on 60 gaming apps available to both children and adults at Google Play Store that displayed pornographic ads and tried to trick users into buying premium services.”
SC Magazine: 36 malicious apps advertised as security tools spotted in Google Play. “Trend Micro researchers notified Google that 36 malicious apps on Google Play are posing as security tools. The malicious apps were advertised under names such as Security Defender, Security Keeper, Smart Security, Advanced Boost, and other cyber-security sounding names, but their true purpose was to steal user information and bombard them with ads, according to a 3 January blog post.”