SwiftKey sharing users data with strangers

Swiftkey was an amazing keyboard that usurped swype as my default keyboard, I loved its predictions, its swiping to type tech and its overall layout and features. For a long time it worked great, then I grew enamored with other keyboards and moved on. Recently Microsoft bought the app for a cool $250 million. Awesome right? well it seems that SwiftKey sharing users data with strangers and just about anyone that asked… or didnt ask. Multiple swiftkey users found other people phone numbers and emails or text predictions in languages not used or installed by the user. Swiftkey has announced that this is due to a synchronization “feature”. they have now disabled this bug feature and are working on fixing it. This week, a few of our customers noticed unexpected predictions where unfamiliar terms, and in some rare cases emails, appeared when using their mobile phone. We are working quickly to resolve this inconvenience. While this did not pose a security issue for our customers, we have turned off the cloud sync service and have updated our applications to remove email address predictions. During this time, it will not be possible to back up your SwiftKey language model.   The vast majority of SwiftKey users are not affected by this issue. If you have any reason to believe you are seeing unfamiliar predictions, please contact [email protected]     We take users’ privacy and security very seriously and are committed to maintaining world-class standards for our community.    We will continue to post further updates on our blog.    The SwiftKey Team  users everywhere […]

Google improves Hangouts call quality via peer-to-peer connections

Google is making some changes to Hangouts when it comes to peer-to-peer calls. The mod will improve audio and video quality of your calls on the app because it will reduce the number of hoops the signal must pass through.     The downside to this change in Hangouts is that both IP addresses of the callers will be revealed. This will in turn make it easier for someone to know your location. For most users, this will not constitute a problem but some people may use their accounts on professional affairs and need their location to be kept secret.   There is the case when Hangouts will not be able to make a peer-to-peer connection, when the service will make a connection via servers. This is an internal change that will not affect your usual use of the app if all goes well, it may even improve your call quality overall.      

Google releases new platform distribution numbers

Google released the new platform distribution numbers and it appears that Marshmallow is heading on an upward direction (albeit extremely slowly). Froyo is not dead yet, if you were wondering, but it’s not far from its demise either.       The list for February 2016 Android distribution puts Marshmallow on 1.2% of devices, while Froyo is still keeping tabs on 0.1%. More devices should already be working with an official Marshmallow OS, especially since Lollipop’s later release put it at 1.6% in February, when it debuted on distribution charts.   February 2016 numbers keep KitKat on top of the list for 35.5% of the market, with Lollipop 5.1 on second place with 17.1%. Lollipop 5.0 lags behind on third place with 17% of the market, making Lollipop own 34.1% of Android devices. Jelly Bean runs on 23.9% of devices and then the numbers start to crumble. Ice Cram Sandwich lives on 2.5% of devices, while Gingerbread has 2.7%.   Source: Android Developers  

Cortana app gets update with quick homescreen widget and better load time

Cortana has been around for Android devices for about two months now and soon after its launch it received an update where the “Hey Cortana” hotword was removed in order to avoid conflicts with Google’s own “OK Google” trigger. The hotword is still available on CyanogenOS though.       The new update to version 1.4.0 brings about a homescreen widget that would make the app easier to use in a rush. You get a big ASK Cortana button that will launch a voice search immediately, a button for reminders and a list of upcoming events and reminders.   Cortana update 1.4.0 changelog:   new widget for quick launching Cortana and set reminders reduced app load time better loading experience for low speed and unstable network conditions more stable voice interactions.   Cortana app is free but it is limited to the US and China at the moment. If you are in one of the two areas and you want to try the app, you can do so via the widget below:      

Google Play Games reportedly give up on Google + permissions for its games

Google Play Games is giving up on Google +, as it will soon relinquish its Google+ account requirements to use. In order to get games and apps and use them, all you will need is a basic Google account. You will not be requested to give permissions and you will be signed in for all the games you have at once. This move should make your interaction with apps and games easier, especially if you don’t want your personal details to be linked to your games.   The transition to Google Play Games’ new policy should not interfere with users’ experience unless a game decides to use specific Google+ features extensively. For Google+ this means that it is finally reduced to a social network ( a barely successful one at that) and that its “catch-all internet service” days are over.   Source: Endgadget  

[The rumor mill] HTC to work on TWO Nexus devices for Google this year

HTC may be the manufacturer that brings us the next two Nexus devices! Reports from Weibo suggest that HTC will be in cahoots with Google again to make some new flagship devices in 2016. Instead of choosing two OEMs, it appears that Google will only make room for one team, and since HTC has not been in the best of situation lately financially speaking, maybe this will help them recover into becoming one of the best smartphone manufacturers in the world.       What does it take to be relevant in this business?   It appears that HTC’s bad strike may be ending, especially if their Nexus devices will be branded a success. But we are still a long long long way away. According to rumors, the HTC devices will have different display sizes: one will be a 5-inch and the other will have a 5.5-inch display. There is no news regarding any other specs and you should take this with a grain of salt, just in case. We can also assume that, if this news is accurate, the devices will run on the next Android OS version at launch.   HTC is not at its first rodeo with the Nexus program. They created the first Nexus devices and the most recent piece of tech made by them is the Nexus 9 tablet, which was received to mixed reviews a year and a half ago.   This time of the year is still pretty early for Nexus news, but considering 2015 flagships’ success, we […]