Google Play Store

Facebook sends cease-and-desist letters to a pair of popular apps for Android

Facebook sends cease-and-desist letters to a pair of popular apps for Android

When it comes to using Facebook on Android devices, lots of people out there don't use the Facebook app. For many they prefer the interface offered by so-called wrapper apps such as Swipe and Simple Social. However, both of those apps recently disappeared from the Play Store.

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APKPure app store app infected with malware

APKPure app store app infected with malware

Although Google naturally advocates using only its blessed Google Play Store, there is technically nothing that prevents users from using other sources for their app needs. While those alternative stores sometimes offer legit benefits over Google Play Store for one reason or another, they are sometimes also more targeted by malware authors because of their less restrictive policies and systems. In some cases, however, it may be the store owner's own actions that led to a security compromise as was the case of APKPure's own app.

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Google Play Store ditches hamburger menu, moves things around

Google Play Store ditches hamburger menu, moves things around

Out of all of Google's major Android apps, the Play Store is the one that perhaps sees the most number of redesigns, most of them coming without warning. Long before even the likes of Gmail and Calendar embraced it, the premier Android app marketplace began toting Material Design elements and principles, sometimes not to users' satisfaction. Google Play Store is undergoing yet another redesign, perhaps in the name of cleanliness and visual simplicity. Unfortunately, it could actually end up being more cumbersome to use with everything hidden behind groups and menus.

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Google Play will limit apps that can see what apps are installed

Google Play will limit apps that can see what apps are installed

Every Android release has seen a refinement of what was once an overly broad app permissions system. Today, users can grant or deny permissions on a case-to-case basis and developers are required to be more upfront about the permissions they need and why they need them. There are still some cases, however, where even the fine-grained permissions can be abused, forcing Google to tighten the noose. One such case is the ability to see what apps are installed on a phone, and starting next month, Google will start culling apps that don't have any business doing that.

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Google Play Store crowdsources optimizing Android apps

Google Play Store crowdsources optimizing Android apps

Once upon a time, Android apps were these monolithic packages that contained almost all versions of the app for all architectures and languages that it supports. Recently, Google has been pushing for a new system that put Android packages on a diet to make downloading, installing, and running them faster. Its latest trick is to learn how to better optimize that process and it's pretty much roping in almost all Android users in a crowdsourced "study" on how apps are being used after they are installed.

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Android Nearby Share can share Google Play Store apps

Android Nearby Share can share Google Play Store apps

There has been a focus on device-to-device file sharing on Android recently, partly due to the revelation about popular app SHAREit's security flaws. The reason third-party apps like this proliferate is that Android itself hasn't had a reliable, long-term file-sharing system across different phone brands. Google has been slowly, very slowly, working on its Android Nearby framework and its latest trick is to let users share not just files between two phones but even apps from Google Play Store.

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Google Play opens the door to gambling apps in more countries

Google Play opens the door to gambling apps in more countries

If lawmakers and regulators were already up in arms about loot boxes, especially in mobile games, they might have a storm coming once real gambling and betting apps start arriving on Google Play Store. Such apps that involve the risk of losing large sums of money have always been a thorny subject, which is why they were limited to an extremely low number of markets. Starting March, however, that will no longer the case as Google Play adds 15 more countries to that list.

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Google Play mistakenly bans app over standard file format name

Google Play mistakenly bans app over standard file format name

Google Play Store boasts of thousands of apps that would take a large army of humans to review and scrutinize. Of course, that's exactly why there are thousands of apps on Google Play Store, as Google relies instead on AI-powered bots to crawl through these apps, sniffing for policy violations. While highly efficient, these bots are hardly infallible and one recent incident adds to the list of anecdotes showing that this system might not exactly be working in developers' favor.

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Google Play Hot Air Balloon offline game released to the masses

Google Play Hot Air Balloon offline game released to the masses

This week the Google Play Hot Air Balloon offline mini-game launched into the wild. This game was in development for quite a while now, appearing in testing for months back in 2020 - now it would appear that it's ready to roll. If you'd like to give this game a go, make sure you've got the latest version of the Google Play store on your Android device - then disconnect from the internet.

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Google names the best Android games and apps of 2020

Google names the best Android games and apps of 2020

Today Google released a list of games and apps for Android that they named "best" of the year 2020. Included in the mix were categories like Best Competitive, Indies, Pick Up & Play, Game Changers, Everyday Essentials, Personal Growth, Hidden Gems, "Best for Fun", and "Best Apps for Good". As it is each year, this list of lists makes for a good first place to look for the apps and games that have the best chance at allowing users to make the most of their smart device experience.

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Android App Bundles could have a drawback for developers, power users

Android App Bundles could have a drawback for developers, power users

Android app packages or APKs are a mixed bag, literally and figuratively. They are often large because a single APK may contain all the data applicable for all variants of the app, even if some variants or architectures don't need the other parts. At the same time, that kind of packaging makes it trivial to redistribute APKs and sideload them outside of Google Play Store. Things will be changing next year once Google starts to enforce its new Android App Bundles (AAB) format and while it's generally a win for most end users, it could give developers and some users headaches as well.

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Google Play Music Store shuts down in YouTube Music transition

Google Play Music Store shuts down in YouTube Music transition

If there's one thing Google has been consistent with over the decades is that nothing is really permanent. It often changes names and brands but is also notorious for switching products or even discontinuing projects rather abruptly. Google's messaging services and apps have become the dominant example but the most heated discussions of late have come from Google Play Music users who are now being told that they can no longer buy tunes now that the Play Music Store has closed its doors forever.

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