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Home News Google using app data to build competing apps is dirty

Google using app data to build competing apps is dirty


Google can deal with the backlash. Our focus should be on our privacy.

Google was recently accused of using data it collects from us about the way we use apps to further its own business. Using what was called an Android Lockbox, details about what apps we use, when we use them, and how long we use them were collected so Google could allegedly use this information to build competing services for things like TikTok.

This isn’t hard to believe, and it’s not very different from what we see any tech company doing. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon all collect data about everything possible under the guise of improving user experience. Google also didn’t violate any specific terms with us as customers because we agree with this sort of thing when we first log on to an Android phone. This is a case of Google abusing its market share against its competition, not its customers.

Regulators are still likely to take issue as will software companies trying to compete against Google. Good. This practice needs to be investigated whenever any company does it, and whatever penalties may come from it are Google’s to face. What we should be concerned about, though, is another matter.

You have no real choice but to hand over your data to someone.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t lean towards the side of a competing developer whenever I hear about something like this. It’s not fair when the 800-pound gorilla in the room flexes against a company that has no way to fight against it. Android is everywhere and isn’t technically a monopoly, but it’s darn close. Google can’t be left to do whatever it likes when so many depend on its product.


More importantly, this shows how Google can take something that seems trivial, like how long we use an app, and turn it into something of value. Google benefits by knowing that we will spend X number of minutes watching TikTok videos, for example, so it knows how much time and money to spend on a similar service of its own. We’re unwittingly used as market research just because we enjoy the phone we spent our money buying.

I mentioned above that Google isn’t alone when it comes to this. How far over the line it went — or where the line even is — is something that hearings will likely decide. But from our point of view, this is no different than the way Windows 10 phones every action back to Microsoft or the way Amazon tracks our shopping time. Since there’s no way to stop it, we’re being used as cattle to feed big tech.

Regulators should be looking out for us, but are they really?

This is the price of using technology today. The apps and services you use, the company you pay for your internet service itself, and the companies that make your phone and its software know that user data is more valuable than cash. All we can do, and what we really need to start caring about, is that they treat it like it’s that valuable.


Apple, Google, and Microsoft all have a pretty good track record when it comes to protecting our data. They may use an “any means necessary” approach when it comes to collecting it, but the three have all become more transparent about what is done with user data. So far, there have been no reports of it being intentionally mishandled. It needs to stay this way if we’re continually forced to feed the data in.

When the E.U. and U.S. governments look into the anti-competitive practices of these companies, I hope they also think of our best interests. I’m doubtful based on the path that allowed us to get here, but I still continue to hope.

Android’s permissions are better than ever but still need a lot of work


Take your Linux skills to the next level with this 12-course training bundle, just $69

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Galaxy Tab S7 5G, S7+ 5G now available at T-Mobile

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Ampere Cell Wireless Charger and UV Sanitizer review

If you’re like us, you take your phone everywhere. Like, everywhere.We tend to get our handset out while eating, traveling, and even in the bathroom. Indeed, the more you think about it, the more gross it seems. And in a world impacted by a global pandemic, it’s even dangerous.If you are one of those people who takes their phone with them and never bothers to clean it — and let’s face it, that’s you — Ampere has a device that will change your life. While that sounds a tad drastic, it’s not really a reach.The Ampere Cell Phone Sanitizer, available for pre-order at just $79.95, is actually two devices in one. Part wireless charger, part phone sanitizer, it’s 100% vital in today’s world.What is the Ampere Cell?An expandable UV santizer and wireless charger hybrid device, it has four UVC LEDs inside and two 15W Qi charging coils on the outside.Open it up and place your phone inside and the Cell uses UV rays to kill bacteria off the surface of your phone. It kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in only one minute. Or, place your phone on top of it and it will wireless charge any modern handset.UsageThere’s practically zero setup to consider with the Ampere Cell. All you have to do to get started is separate the base from the cover, place your item on the base, and press the red circle.When it turns green, it’s sanitizing, and after a minute when it turns red again, it’s done. It’s extremely quick and easy.We appreciate that the cover itself can be expanded and shaped to provide an angle. Whether portrait or landscape, it can be used as a prop to watch streaming video or keep an eye on notifications.Our only complaint is a minor one and that it does not actually come with the USB Type-C cable needed to power it. Understanding it was likely going to replace the charger we had on the desk, we were fine using our existing one. Ampere Cell 1 of 8 The Cell is slick, thin and small, so it is easy to carry around in a purse or bag. If you’re feeling stylish it comes in different colors, too. Because of its size and expandability we’ve used the Cell to sanitize jewelry, wearables, and other small items.The Ampere Cell is available to pre-order from Ampere’s website and is expected to ship in late October/November. Choose from red, black, and glow-in-the-dark.

LG Wing hands-on: A new kind of dual-screen (Video!)

The LG Wing is a new dual-screen device from LG. Can this take on dual-screen devices make it to the