Ads go live October 5 -- Apple is offering $100 credit toward the first campaign.

After a beta period that began in June, Apple is now opening up Search Ads for the App Store to all publishers and developers. It’s currently available for the iPhone and iPad only in the US.

While Apple will certainly make money from this program, the main rationale appears to be app discovery. Google has had search ads in the Play store for well over a year.

Search Ads will be delineated with a blue background. Apple will generate the ad images and copy from the app metadata supplied by the publisher or developer, so there’s no ad copy per se. It appears there will only be one ad per search.

apple-rolls

Developers set a max daily budget and an overall campaign budget. Apple’s Search Ads use the familiar “second price auction” to set winning bid prices. Apple says that relevance and bid price will determine which ads show. (Developers will pay on a “cost per tap” basis.)

Search Ads allow for bidding on the iPhone or iPad individually. There’s a keyword suggestion tool, with popularity indicators and negative keyword capabilities. There are audience targeting features, including customer type (e.g., has not downloaded) gender, age and location. And of course there are analytics.

search ads

App store search is the dominant way that apps are discovered. However, other discovery channels are now growing in relative importance, according to comScore.

Beyond this, comScore says that roughly 50 percent of smartphone owners don’t download any new apps in a given month, while the average user downloads two apps per month.

app store

Search Ads will go live in the App Store on October 5. Developers also receive a $100 credit for the first campaign.

 

Source : Search Engine Land

Categorized in Science & Tech

THERE COMES A time in everyone’s life when they consider, for better or for worse, downloading Pokémon Go. Now it seems scammers are ready for that impulsive moment to arrive, and they’re just waiting to redirect unsuspecting players to an app store where they may catch more than Pikachus.

New research from the security firm Trend Micro indicates that bogus third-party stores—a long-running problem for Android—have now been surprisingly successful in targeting iPhone users, tricking them into installing ad-laced impostor apps on their devices. TrendMicro highlights two third-party app services: Haima, which is based in China, and the Vietnam-based HiStore. Both have achieved millions of downloads of their counterfeit Pokémon Go apps for iOS (an impressive and concerning 10 million in the case of HiStore) as well as other fake versions of popular apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Haima’s fake Minecraft app, by Trend Micro’s count, has been downloaded more than 68 million times. The companies promote their phony apps heavily on social media, luring people into clicking on them instead of searching in Apple’s App Store. And it’s working.

The Hack

In the new scheme, the adware distributors set up their app stores through Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program. The service is meant for companies that want to build and distribute proprietary internal apps to their employees. When a company tricks someone into downloading a repackaged version of an app, the software contains adware that starts evaluating information about the victim’s device and mobile network to serve more targeted ads. Then, as the victim uses the app, ad firms deliver ads to the phone, paying fees to the scammers for the privilege.

Apple has always been aggressive about policing its apps. The company just announced a massive cleanup of its App Store at the beginning of September. And the Developer Enterprise Program gets similar scrutiny. When an app is approved it receives a certificate that Apple can revoke at any time, rendering the app unusable wherever it has been downloaded. But making a new Developer Enterprise account and getting a new certificate costs only $299. So when Apple pulls the plug on one certificate, scammers just start using a new one. While investigating Haima, Trend Micro found that the service used five different certificates over just 15 days. Apple didn’t respond to WIRED’s request for comment.

The scheme is relatively simple. But the scammers still put serious effort into ensuring that their apps actually work, so customers will keep using them for as long as the fraudulently obtained certificates remain valid. When Pokémon Go was first released and limited to functioning in certain geographic areas, Trend Micro notes that Haima had a version of its fake app that spoofed location data to get around the legitimate app’s restrictions, allowing people who had unknowingly downloaded the scam version to continue using it from anywhere. As Pokémon Go eased these restrictions, Haima updated the app accordingly.

Who’s Affected?

If you’re sure that you always download your apps from the Apple AppStore or Google Play Store your apps are secure. On the rare occasion that a malicious app actually gets approved and is available for download from these legitimate app stores, Apple and Google are generally swift about removing it, revoking its certificate and notifying customers. If you don’t pay attention to where you get your apps or you’re prone to clicking on random links without considering their origin you could be at increased risk. The best way to protect yourself against downloading fake apps loaded with adware is to navigate to authentic app stores and search for the app you want within them, instead of using an outside search engine or social media.

Fake apps can put your phone’s data and even its hardware like its GPS or its microphone in the hands of bad actors. Christopher Budd, a global threat communications manager at Trend Micro notes that the latest research focused on adware, but scam apps downloaded from unaffiliated app stores put users at risk of being exposed to all sorts of malware. “The biggest thing is the importance of going only to the official app stores,” Budd says. “The mobile malware problem that we’ve seen is almost exclusively a problem with third-party locations.”

How Serious is This?

While repackaged, scammy apps are an old problem, Trend Micro’s research is a reminder that they remain pervasive, and reach Apple devices, too. “As far as iOS this is a fairly unusual and new thing,” Budd says, noting that the sheer number of the downloads—reaching tens of millions—is unprecedented for fake iOS apps. “It’s all about scale,” he says. The research didn’t reveal any evidence that scammers are using truly malicious malware that steals data or other cybercriminal behavior—at least for now. But Trend Micro notes that developers should still take steps to make their apps more difficult to hijack, like obfuscating code so it’s harder for bad actors to access.

The crucial takeaway for consumers, though, is simpler: Use official app stores exclusively for finding and downloading apps. When it comes to mysterious software from untrusted Chinese purveyors, “gotta catch’ em all” is an ill-advised strategy.

Source : https://www.wired.com/2016/09/hack-brief-beware-spammy-pokemon-go-apps-pushed-millions-iphones/

Categorized in Others

It’s no secret that battery life on smartphones these days are not the best. Most will consider it mostly a hardware issue, seeing companies trading battery size for aesthetic design. But that’s not the entire reason, with a large part being attributed to the software used on our phones.

In the XDA Virtual Office, many of us writers will often find the biggest culprit behind our battery woes are attributed to certain processes running rampant. Namely, Google services.

googleapp

There are currently many ways to provide longer battery life cycles, methods such as: battery banks, battery cases, processor clocking, etc. A usual solution is to disable apps not being used, or apps that are taking up a lot of system utilities. What I wanted to do was disable all of Google’s apps and services on my device, to see if it might give my battery a shot at living longer. Instead of just using a debloater tool, or the stock settings disabler, I chose to go the extra mile, and install Android without any Google Apps, or any Google services.

19jqmv

Since my daily driver doesn’t have an unlockable bootloader (thanks Verizon), I decided to look into the old phones drawer, and chose one of my favorite devices to use. The Motorola Moto X 2014 was the device I had selected for this experiment. For a period of four days, I used the Moto X with CyanogenMod 13 installed, sans any Gapps packages. For comparison, I factory reset the device after the four days was up, installed the same CM 13 zip, and this time installed the Stock Gapps package from the Open Gapps repository.


While using each ROM as a daily driver for four days, I depended on them for many of my usual services. Being that I depend on Google Services on a daily basis, going about this experiment proved rather difficult. Below is a list of the Google Apps I used the most, as well as a list of all the alternatives I used.

appss

 

There are many alternative app stores and repositories on the internet, from the Amazon App Store, F-Droid, XDA Labs, APK Mirror, and plenty of others. To get my apps for this test, I stuck with two store/repositories that I was familiar with using, XDA Labs and APK Mirror.

Going without Google Services on a Google-based platform is no small feat. There was a noticeable lack of functionality across the operating system from day to day. While some services have a browser interface, a couple will only try and direct you to the Play Store… Or the browser site of the Play Store. With Hangouts being one of those without a mobile interface, I was left unable to communicate with a few colleagues and friends.

Speaking of communication errors, Hangouts wasn’t the only service I had trouble with. I may not be a fan of the app, but Snapchat was a complete no go without Gapps. The app requires Play Services to log in, and unfortunately I was left unable to communicate with my friends on two separate services.

Fortunately, my second communication service for my business colleagues was partially functioning. I was able to send and receive messages on Slack, but notifications would not work, as they relied on Google Cloud Messaging. Quite a few other apps had the same issue, meaning I only ever received notifications for calls, texts, and emails.

Trying to substitute google with Cortana was… just not something I subjectively enjoyed. Microsoft’s searching service is welcome competition and is continuing to get better, but it is not enough to compete with the original search engine. The only useful functionality I found with the Cortana app over the mobile page from Google was the option to have a voice search shortcut on my homescreen, which comes in handy more often.

 

Having to rely on the browser for services I couldn’t access otherwise was a bit frustrating. Being used to having YouTube Red, leaving the YouTube site would stop the audio. This was causing me to become irritated more and more often. As a big music fan, I like to listen to and discover all types of music on my phone. While CM’s baked in music app works, the lack of a streaming service caused me to have to resort to alternative, older methods of discovering music.

Using the phone for about a week both with and without Gapps concluded with interesting results. As you can see from the screen captures below, the average screen on time and total battery time on the No Gapps runs was no longer than that of the Gapps runs. However, do notice the steeper slopes in the (slightly shorter) asleep times.

Screenshot 5

These results are not what I expected going into the experiment. Looking at the battery graphs, you can tell that the runs with Gapps yielded more device wake ups, as expected. This is evident by the Gapps runs not only having more active indication on the bars below the graph. The Gapps graphs all have a much more gradual slope associated with them, whereas the No Gapps graphs seemed to level off a lot more often. But screen-on drain was about the same, with the main difference seen in idle drain as expected.

In terms of performance, there was a negligible difference. Apps certainly crashed more often on the Gapps run, with the main culprit being Hangouts (as usual). Running benchmarks on each run seemed redundant, given I was using the same exact processor and CPU and these processes amount to a negligible hit on the processor.

 

All in all, this experiment was fun. Despite the lack of functionality, it was interesting to challenge myself to work around such large limitations. So that brings us to our main inquiry, is it worth it to live sans Google Apps and Services to save a little on battery? To me, the short answer is no. While the battery life was consistent, it was not particularly longer in any way. It might be useful to live Sans Gapps if you are looking to limit yourself from using your phone on a vacation or something, but not much else. If I had to sum up the lack of functionality, I would say the experience is reminiscent of the feature phone days before the smartphone boom.

Source : http://www.xda-developers.com/comparing-battery-life-with-and-without-google-services-a-week-of-minimal-idle-drain/

Categorized in Science & Tech

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