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At Google’s developer jamboree, Google I/O, last week the search giant paraded a host of big name case studies and compelling stats to herald its success with two initiatives to make the mobile web better and faster: Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

Progressive Web Apps are a Google innovation designed to combine the best features of mobile apps and the mobile web: speed, app-like interaction, offline usage, and no need to download anything.

Google spotlighted this relatively new web product at last year’s Google I/O, where the Washington Post showed off a newly-built Progressive Web App to enhance its mobile experience.

Whether companies believe in or plan to adopt Progressive Web Apps, the initiative (along with AMP) has done a fantastic job of highlighting a) the importance of making websites and apps lean and mean so they perform better on mobile and b) how ridiculously bloated, slow and inefficient websites and apps have become.

PWA and AMP are not the only answers to mobile bloat, but being led and backed by Google, they bring the potential for 1) broad adoption, 2) lots of resources, and 3) favorable treatment from Android, Chrome and Google Search.

What’s so great about Progressive Web Apps?

PWAs bring native app-like functions and features to websites. They should (depending on the quality of the build) work on all smart devices, adapting the performance to the ability of the device, browser and connection.

The key features that get people excited about PWAs are:

  • The ability to send push notifications
  • Option to save to the device (home screen and – now – app launcher), so it loads even faster next time
  • Ability to work offline (when there is no internet connection)
  • Make payments. One of the most significant PWA announcements at Google I/O was that PWAs can now integrate with native/web payment apps, to allow one tap payment with the users preferred provider, including Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Alipay and PayPal
  • Closer integration with device functions and native apps.

The margin of what native apps can do compared with a web-based app (N.B. PWAs do not have a monopoly over mobile web apps) is disappearing rapidly.

The last year has seen a remarkable 215 new APIs, allowing web apps to access even more of the native phone features and apps, announced Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, VP, product management at Google, in his Mobile Web State of Union keynote.

He pointed out that you could even build a web-based virtual reality (VR) app (if you wanted to), citing Within and Sketchfab, which showcase creations from developers around the world.

Who ate all the pies?

But the most compelling thing about Progressive Web Apps is their download size, compared with iOS apps and Android apps. Check out the size comparisons in the image below for two case studies featured at Google I/O: Twitter Lite and Ola Cabs (the biggest cab service in India, delivering 1 million rides per day).

  • Size of Twitter’s Android app 23MB+; iOS app 100MB+; Twitter Lite PWA 0.6MB.
  • Size of OLA Cabs Android app 60MB; iOS app 100MB; PWA 0.2MB.

Why does size matter? Performance on the web is all about speed. The smaller the size the quicker the download. Think SUV versus Grand Prix motorbike in rush hour traffic.

Image: Who ate all the pies? Size of Twitter’s Android app 23MB+; iOS app 100MB+; PWA 0.6MB. Size of OLA Cabs Android app 60MB; iOS app 100MB; PWA 0.2MB.

Interestingly, Twitter markets the PWA as Twitter Lite particularly targeted at people in tier two markets where connections may be inferior, data more expensive and smartphones less advanced; while Ola Cabs markets the PWA at second or third tier cites where there are similar issues with connections and smartphones.

This (cleverly) helps to position the PWA as non-competitive to their native apps.

Which companies have launched Progressive Web Apps?

A growing number of big name brands (see image below) have launched PWAs. These include:

  • Travel companies: Expedia, Trivago, Tui, AirFrance, Wego
  • Publishers: Forbes, Infobae, Washington Post, FT, Guardian, Independent, Weather Company
  • E-commerce companies: Fandango, Rakuten, Alibaba, Lancôme, Flipkart
  • Formerly native app-only companies: Lyft, Ola Cabs.

Map shows companies that have launched progressive web apps, including Expedia, Trivago, Tui, AirFrance, Wego, Forbes, Infobae, Washington Post, FT, Guardian, Independent, Weather Company, Fandango, Rakuten, Alibaba, Lancôme, Flipkart, Lyft and Ola Cabs.

At I/O, Google trumpeted the achievements of a number of companies, inviting several to share their experiences with the audiences – only the good stuff, clearly.

1. Faster speeds; higher engagement

m.Forbes.com has seen user engagement double since launch of its PWA in March (according to Google).

For the inside track see this Forbes article. The publisher claims its pages load in 0.8 seconds on a mobile device. The publisher was aiming for a Snapchat or Instagram-like experience with streams of related content along with app-like features such as gesture-based navigation.

In this video case study, embedded below, created for I/O, Forbes claims to have achieved a 43% increase in sessions per user and 20% increase in ad viewability.

The Ola Cabs PWA takes 1-3 seconds to load on the first visit – depending on the network, “including low 3G” Dipika Kapadia, head of consumer web products at Ola, told I/O attendees. On subsequent visits it takes less than a second as it only needs to download the real-time information, including cab availability.

Ola achieves this partly due to its size: the app is just 0.5MB of which only 0.2MB is application data. As it downloads it prioritizes essential information, while other assets download in the background.

2. Consumers readily download PWAs to their home screens

When mobile visitors are using the mobile app, they receive a prompt to save it to the home screen, so it loads faster next time. It does this by caching all the static parts of the site, so next time it only needs to fetch what has changed.

Twitter Lite, as Patrick Traughber, product manager atTwitter, told the Google I/O crowd, sees 1 million daily visits from the homepage icon.

Since launch of the Progressive Web App, in April 2017, Twitter has seen a 65% increase in pages per session and 75% increase in tweets.

3. Notifications

The ability to send notifications to mobile users to encourage them back to the app, used to be one of the big advantages of native apps over mobile web. No longer.

Notifying users about recent activity is very important to Twitter, said Traughber. And Twitter is taking full advantage of this capability, sending 10 million push notifications each day.

For the inside track on Twitter’s PWA, see this article.

4. Winning back customers that have deleted your native app

App-only companies face the challenge that users only download and retain a limited number of apps on their smartphone and will uninstall those that aren’t used as regularly as others, thus once deleted, it’s over.

Thus it is an eye-opener that 20% of Ola PWA bookings come from users who have previously uninstalled the native app.

See Google’s case study on Ola’s PWA.

5. PWAs appeal to iOS users

Compared with other mobile browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Opera and Samsung, the default browser on Apple devices, Safari, can be slower when it comes to adopting advancements in mobile web. This means Safari users won’t experience some of the more advanced features of PWAs, yet.

Despite this, brands are seeing improved mobile engagement after launching a PWA. Lancôme Paris has seen session length improve by 53% among iOS users, according to this case study of the Lancôme PWA, cited at Google I/O.

6. Conversions

According to Wego’s video case study, embedded below, created for I/O, the Singapore-based travel service has combined both PWA and AMP to achieve a load time for new users is 1.6 seconds and 1 second for returning customers. This has helped to increase site visits by 26%, reduce bounce rates by 20% and increase conversions by 95%, since launch.

If you need more impressive stats to make the case for a web app, visit Cloud Four’s new PWA Stats.

Source: This article was published searchenginewatch.com By Andy Favell

Categorized in Search Engine

Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty

The Google Play app store holds about 250 Android apps that provide access to virtual private network (VPN) services.

The bad news? Many of these VPN apps could actually be sabotaging your security and privacy. A recent study by U.S. and Australian researchers found that many Android VPN apps were potentially malicious, let third parties spy on "secure" transmissions, tracked users or just plain didn't work.

It might be easy to disregard all VPN apps as too risky. But would that be a fair assessment? A number of free VPN apps are offered by reputable antivirus companies and desktop VPN providers, although most of those have some level of paid service. With that in mind, are free VPN apps worth the potential security risks?

It depends, said Joe Carson, chief security scientist with Thycotic, an information-security provider based in Washington, D.C.

"VPNs are safer than doing nothing," Carson said. But he added that if you are downloading an Android app, you have to do your homework.

That includes investigating the origin of the VPN app — you probably want to skip any from China, Russia or other countries with a dubious security history, Carson said — and sticking with vendors you are familiar with and trust.

Nothing is ever really free

However, Ryan O'Leary, vice president of the Threat Research Center at WhiteHat Security in Santa Clara, California, is more skeptical.

"I don't think VPN apps are secure, especially free ones," O'Leary said. "The lower the cost of the app, the greater the chance they have security problems."

App developers want to make money, he said, but on a VPN app, you can't really be sure how that's happening.

"At best," O'Leary said, "they are using ads to earn income. At worst, they are selling your private information."

"The lower the cost of the app, the greater the chance they have security problems." -- Ryan O'Leary, Threat Research Center at WhiteHat Security

In fact, he said, "free" should be a red flag when it comes to VPN apps. Unscrupulous app developers may utilize users as end points or for extra bandwidth to support other customers.

"It's expensive to run a VPN," O'Leary said. "There's a good chance that someone else is using your connection."

The most serious risk of free VPN apps is that you may lose control of your data. A VPN service is supposed to encrypt your data stream from your device all the way to the service's servers, from where it enters the open internet. But a shady or poorly configured service could compromise your traffic, either by design or by accident, or could even piggyback on your encrypted connection for nefarious purposes.

"Your data could be intercepted or decrypted," said Mat Gangwer, chief technology officer with Rook Security in Indianapolis. "Bad guys could be using your connection for shady activities or to cover their tracks."

How to pick a VPN app

Are free VPN apps worth that risk? The experts agree: No, unless you are confident the free app is extremely trustworthy.

If you can find a paid VPN app, or one that has in-app purchases for higher levels of service, consider that option instead. We recently reviewed several VPN apps and services, and the paid IPVanish ($10 per month or $78 yearly) took the top spot. The runner-up option, Avast Secureline VPN, is also paid at $59.99 per year.

Paid doesn't guarantee secure, but even partially paid apps are often more protective of your data and give more software updates.

Better yet, stick with apps made by well-known desktop VPN service providers or antivirus software makers. All will include in-app purchases, or some other kind of paid subscription, to use the higher tiers of service, but many will give you a certain amount of free VPN usage per month.

"Bad guys could be using your connection for shady activities or to cover their tracks." -- Mat Gangwer, chief technology officer with Rook Security

Reputable partly free VPN services include Avast's SecureLine VPN and Avira's Phantom VPN There's also F-Secure's Freedome VPN; it costs $6 per month to use, but was singled out as being especially trustworthy by the authors of the VPN-app research paper we mentioned earlier.

However, if you still want to use a completely free VPN app, do your research, the experts advised. Investigate the vendor's reputation, and see where it is located. Question the permissions requested by the app – for example, would a VPN app really need permission to access your phone number or text messages? Read user reviews, especially the less-than-stellar ones, to find out which problems and concerns other users had.

"When done correctly, VPNs are a good option," said O'Leary. "But never forget that, in the end, you get what you pay for."

Source: This article was published on tomsguide.com by SUE MARQUETTE POREMBA


Categorized in Internet Privacy

In the show Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson says that there were more atoms in the tip of your pinkie finger than all the stars in the sky. The number of apps in Google Play hasn't risen quite that high, but it's still an awful lot. More than one mind, let alone one phone, could comprehend. I've spent many hours refining that unmanageable mass of apps to come up with the 100 Best Android apps, but for some that's still too many, so I've whittled the list to the just the most essential.

What's Here

Simply put, this list doesn't have everything. It doesn't even begin to touch the swirling, cosmic majesty and near infinite variety of the Google Play store. What it does cover are the apps that you should install on your Android phone or tablet as soon as it comes out of the box. With these ten apps installed, you should be able to tackle just about anything.

But these ten are just the beginning. Evernote is an enormously versatile tool, but maybe you find that it's not meeting your needs for to-do lists and you want to move to a refined organizational app like Any.do. Or maybe after reading tons of comics in Comixology, you're curious to read the massive backlog of Marvel available with Marvel Unlimited.

This list of apps is a starting point, or a baseline, that I think any Android user should consider. From there, you'll want to customize and fine-tune the list to your own most-essentials apps, of course.

How I Choose Apps

When I'm not divining the 10 best Android apps, I'm usually testing Android security apps. When I'm finished, I typically wipe the phone in preparation for the next review. That means I spend more time with fresh, empty phones than the average Android user. It also means that I have to fill that phone back up with essential apps.

My first thought goes to what apps are necessary to get work done—so I turn to Google Drive and LastPass. I also need to write quick notes and manage my email, and I need a keyboard app that helps me do that, which leads me to SwiftKey.

Next I think about what kinds of apps are popular, and how I can fill those categories. Instagram, for example, is a great app for creating miniature masterpieces out of your cell phone pictures. But there are lots of other apps that provide far more options and opportunities for expression, such as PicsArt Photo Studio. There are also innumerable apps to entertain your ears, but only a few that offer powerful management tools and clever playlists, and that's where Slacker Radio comes in.

What's Missing

First, there are no games. I hear you moan, but 10 slots is simply not enough to even scratch the surface of Android games. There are simply too many of too great a variety. If you want games (and I know you do), you should read our slightly longer guide to the 15 Best Android Games. That'll take care of all your thumb-twiddling, screen-swiping needs.

Second, there are only a few Google apps on here. It's really easy to just default to them since many are, well, default on Android devices. Regarding the Google apps that did make the list, I've carefully balanced their utility against that of competitors in the space to make sure they really are the best. For example, Google Drive doubles as an excellent mobile office suite.

Finally, even though I don't eat or drink anymore, I'm only human, and that means I am weak and fallible. If I've left out a critical tool that you use every day, let me know in the comments below.

This is just the tip of the Android iceberg here at PCMag. You'll find many, many more excellent apps in our 100 Best Android Apps, and we have many more roundups where that came from. Consider the best apps to replace text messaging or everything you need to know about digital comics. We're all about apps, you see. This list will get you started, but our other reviews and roundups can take you much deeper into the galaxy of Android apps.

Comics

Comics
 
Free
Are you tired of schlepping all the way to the comic book store? Heck, is there even a comic book store in your town anymore? Comics, the excellent app from digital comics groundbreakers Comixology, is both storefront and long box. You can browse the seemingly endless lists of titles, and then buy new books with a tap. It's wonderfully easy! Depending on the state of your wallet, it may even be a bit too easy.


Evernote

Evernote
 
Free with premium plans billed monthly
Evernote is your digital multi-tool. It's a great list keeper, note taker, voice recorder, to-do manager, and Web clipper. It's so open and powerful that it can be overwhelming at first, but you'll quickly find smart ways to use it. My favorite feature is optical character recognition (OCR), which makes text in photos searchable. Next time you get handed a business card, just snap a picture.

Be sure to read our organization expert Jill Duffy's advice on how to use Evernote better.


Feedly

Feedly
 
Free
Google Reader was the best thing to happen to the Internet since sliced blogs, but it has passed on to the big Google graveyard in the sky. If reading news and blog posts on your Android is your jam, you need Feedly. It's a versatile platform, but what I like about it is that you can do all your reading in a single app. If you're looking for something a bit more stylish, try the magazine-style Flipboard. And if you're still mourning the end of RSS as we know it, we may be able to help you find a replacement for Google Reader.


Google Drive

Google Drive
 
Free with additional costs for increased storage
Google Drive is a great cloud storage service, but it does double duty as an excellent mobile office suite. With Drive, you can access your important files from anywhere; create new spreadsheet, text, and presentation documents; and collaborate with other people, all from your Android device. It might not replace your desktop office utilities, but it comes darn close.


Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail

Free
I long ago realized that email is the worst thing on the planet, and have waited patiently for everyone else to get the memo. Thankfully, there's been a renaissance of email and Google Inbox is among the best options for Android. Instead of ignoring messages (as I used to do), Inbox lets you quickly manage your inbox. Its best feature are groups called bundles, which put all your finance, shopping, and low priority mail in their proper places.

Please note that our review is of the iPhone version, which is nearly identical to the Android app.


LastPass

LastPass
 
Free; $12 annually for the Premium version
Everyone knows they should be using a complex, unique password for each and every website and application. Oh, you didn't? Thankfully, there are password managers like LastPass. With a password manager, you let the app generate unique, complex passwords for each site or app that requires one. When you need to log in, LastPass can fill in the correct information, even into other apps. A new feature lets you safely bequeath your passwords to a trusted person in the event of your demise.

Though the app and service are free, using it on more than one type of device costs $12 per year, or $1 per month. Trust me, it's well worth the price of admission.


PicsArt Photo Studio

PicsArt Photo Studio
 
Free
When you think of mobile image editing, you probably think of a certain Facebook-owned property modeled after old timey cameras. I'm talking about Instagram, in case you couldn't tell. But where Instagram ends, PicsArt Photo Studio begins, bringing not just filters but many more powerful tools. And if you're already a fan of Insta, you can share your PicsArt creations there to the envy of all your followers.


Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts
 
$3.99 Podcast fans, rejoice. Your frustrations have been heard and your prayers have been answered. "I bring you good tidings for an, excellent podcast app has been created: Pocket Casts. With this app, you can manage all your favorite podcasts and even sync them between devices. And it was good.


Slacker Radio

Slacker Radio
 
Free with paid, ad-free plans
There are many, many ways to get music onto your phone, but we like Slacker Radio best. This service has a huge library of songs, but it also stands out for its excellent curated playlists and wide variety of streaming content. There's a little bit of something for everyone in here, but check out Spotify if you must have on-demand Led Zeppelin.


SwiftKey Keyboard

SwiftKey Keyboard
 
Free
Are you still tapping your thumbs against the screen like some kind of rube? Get with the times, grandpa, and let the words flow. With SwiftKey, you can drag you thumb or finger from letter to letter on the screen to create words, and predictive text makes shooting off short messages even faster. Since the rise of Google Keyboard and competition from the original gesture keyboard app Swype, SwiftKey has stayed ahead by packing in lots of excellent extras. You'll wonder how you ever got by without it.


Source: This article was published on me.pcmag.com

Categorized in Others

The technology inside out little smart phone cameras are pretty awesome.  The reason why point and shoot cameras have become obsolete are due to these little handheld camera slash computers.  The images and videos we take with our smart phones, for the most part, are pretty good by themselves and left alone.  Well if you are one who likes to do little tweaks here and there or love to app stack and create pieces of digital art, you need to have a good stable of photography apps in your mobile darkroom.

The long time leader in mobile photography has been the iPhone. It is the first of all the smart phones that recognized that the camera would become one of the best parts of having a device. We owe that vision to Steve Jobs for sure. Well tides have started to change recently.  The King of mobile photography is starting to take a backseat to Android phones. Samsung (S7) and HTC (HTC 10) have both blew the doors open on their cameras and are now tied for the best glass according to DXO Mark. Throw in the idea that Android phones have always been the most bought smart phone device and you have the formula for dethroning the King.
 
What iPhone had that set it a part was its app ecosystem.  Well the app ecosystems for Android have now completed its act of dethroning. Androids are now able to shoot in RAW. Apps that were the most popular in Apple's App Store are now available in Google Play and are now able to edit these RAW files. End game.  Sorry Apple.
 
So Android photographers, here are those apps that you must have in your mobile darkroom!
 

1- Adobe Lightroom 2.0 for Android

 
[Price: Free]
 
Adobe is the longtime leader for desktop photo and video editing. Lightroom for Android was just recently released announcing its changes; RAW support and non-destructive editing via its cloud and desktop application. I put this app first because of the latter.  If you have an Adobe Creative Cloud account then your phone photos can be edited on both your mobile and desktop. More »
 

Google Snapseed
 
[Price: Free]
 
Snapseed is a Google app but was an iOS app before that.  Since its release it has been everyones favorite app and is definitely a must have.  This app was the first on Android to support the RAW photos editing. The "tune image" and basic editing is very good. Its use of sliders and one-touch enhance tools makes this app one of the easiest to use. For as long as I have had it, it has always been truly free.  No in-app purchases and extra pricing also makes this a mobile photographers best friend. More »
 

3- SKWRT for Android


SKWRT SKRWT
 
[Price: In-App Purchases]
 
I absolutely love this app. I recently posted on my Instagram that if anyone knew of any good perspective correction apps in the Google Play store. Luckily someone responded with this app. I totally forgot that this awesome app was also out for Android. Quickly if you need an app that can remove the distortion that our smart phone camera lenses show (most evident in architectural and symmetrical images) then SKRWT is for you. More »
 

4- VSCO Cam for Android

 
[Price: In-App Purchases]
 
Originally a film-emulsion emulator add for the desktop Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture, VSCO Cam has quickly taken over mobile photography with its easy to use app.  Along with its ease of use though, VSCO Cam has helped define the aesthetic of mobile photography.  It has a strong community of photographers that share their best work on the platform. It is really quick to learn and flexible for Android shooters to use to give pop to their images for make the minor detail tweaks to make them happy. Also there is a plethora of filters to slap on your images. More 
 

5- Afterlight for Android

AfterLight

 

[Price: $.99]

Speaking about filters, Afterlight has just so much to help you pretty up your photos.  It probably has the biggest selection of filters with almost 60 total.  Also you can get some combinations from the community which is an added bonus in finding some good filters from others. Throw in even more textures per filter and you have an endless amount of options.   More »
 

Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Brad Puet
Categorized in Others

Original Story, 5/9/17 at 4:11 p.m: For serious Starbucks go-ers, their mobile app makes paying for your Grande iced coffee easy as can be - but users who chose to link their Starbucks account to their banks are finding themselves victims of a major scam.

A reporter at Buzzfeed explained that last week she received an email saying that she had reloaded $100 onto her Starbuck mobile app from the credit card she had on file. The thing is, she hadn't actually reloaded her card. So when she opened her app, she found that someone had gained access to her information, added the $100 and made three charges in San Diego that wiped her account.A reporter at Buzzfeed explained that last week she received an email saying that she had reloaded $100 onto her Starbuck mobile app from the credit card she had on file. The thing is, she hadn't actually reloaded her card. So when she opened her app, she found that someone had gained access to her information, added the $100 and made three charges in San Diego that wiped her account.

According to Twitter, this reporter isn't alone. Dozens of people have taken to the social media platform complaining of the same issues.

Hey @Starbucks my app got hacked and someone has been using it in a state I don't live in. What do I do?
Somebody hacked into my moms @Starbucks app and spent her gift card money!!! She had $74 on there! Poor thing
If you use @starbucks mobile app - beware! My account was hacked and both reloaded balances and rewards have been swept to rogue accts

CNN explained that criminals break into users' accounts online and then add a new gift card and transfer the funds to themselves. They can then repeat the process by reloading the card.This isn't the first time this has happened. In 2015, Starbucks confirmed that criminals have been gaining access to customers' rewards accounts and making unauthorized charges. CNN explained that criminals break into users' accounts online and then add a new gift card and transfer the funds to themselves. They can then repeat the process by reloading the card.

My @Starbucks app was just hacked. Charged my account $300 and then transferred money to another card that's not mine. Anyone else
PSA: if you have the @Starbucks app on your phone, check your transaction history and the CC attached. I was hacked of $100 last night.
@Starbucks my app was hacked, $105 gone from my account. 7 calls to customer service, still isn't sorted out. What must I do?!
My @Starbucks app was hacked and someone reloaded my card with $25 SIX TIMES.
explained to CNNMoney that these hacks were likely a result of weak customer passwords, as the company itself had not been hacked at the time. Still users who have had their accounts broken into say Starbuck's needs to up their security measures.Starbucks explained to CNNMoney that these hacks were likely a result of weak customer passwords, as the company itself had not been hacked at the time. Still users who have had their accounts broken into say Starbuck's needs to up their security measures.

"I think it's too easy to dip into someone's bank account," Kristi Overton, whose Starbuck account was hanked into in 2015, told CNN. "The Starbucks app's security measures need to be updated."

Starbucks told Buzzfeed, "While we do not share specifics on future security protocol timelines or practices, our security and anti-fraud teams actively continue to develop, and invest in, enhanced protection measures, further strengthening our platforms.When asked nearly two years later about rolling out a two-factor authentication, Starbucks told Buzzfeed, "While we do not share specifics on future security protocol timelines or practices, our security and anti-fraud teams actively continue to develop, and invest in, enhanced protection measures, further strengthening our platforms."

the Good Housekeeping Institute, suggests always switching up your log-in information even if it may be hard to remember.In the meantime, Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist in the Good Housekeeping Institute, suggests always switching up your log-in information even if it may be hard to remember.

"Try to pick different passwords for the different applications or websites you use, so that if someone does guess one of your passwords, they can't access everything," she says.

If you are concerned that your Starbucks Mobile account has been hacked, you can contact their customer service line at 1-800-782-7282.

GoodHousekeeping.com has reached out to Starbucks and will update this post as new information becomes available.

Update, 5/9/17 at 5:22 p.m.: GoodHousekeeping.com reached out to Starbucks for comment and the company gave the following statement:

"First and foremost, the security of our customer's information is critically important and Starbucks remains resolute in protecting that information and has a team of engineers dedicated to advancing security and fraud prevention, given unauthorized account activity is an industry-wide challenge. As a result, we see only a tiny fraction of one percent of account holders impacted, significantly reducing fraudulent activity to a level vastly better than industry average. We strongly encourage our customers to follow best practices to protect their accounts and, if we are made aware of any unauthorized activity, we work with our customers directly to ensure that their account remains whole."

[h/t: Buzzfeed]

Source: This article was published Good Housekeeping By Lindsey Murray

Categorized in Internet Privacy

If you're feeling lost in the air, these flight tracking apps will keep you grounded!

If you fly with any amount of frequency, you're probably always keeping track of when one plane lands and another takes off. Will you make it to the gate for your transfer flight on time? You'll need to know whether your first flight is running late and if the transfer gate is across the terminal. With a flight tracking app, you can manage your travel days, and even just find out what planes are in the air above you. These are the best flight trackers in the App Store right now.

App in the Air

App-in-AIR

App in the Air is my personal favorite. When you enter your flight number, it will keep your entire trip organized from start to finish, including check-in times, boarding times, take off and landing times, delays, gate numbers, and more. If you are picking someone up from the airport, you can search for flights by location, arrival time, and flight numbers to get their current status. You can also set up notifications to keep track of any changes to your flight. If there has been a gate change or delay, you'll know before you even get in the car to drive to the airport.

If you are a frequent traveler or like keeping track of the flight status of family, friends, and business associates, App in the Air is your tracker.

FlightView

flightview


FlightView is a popular flight tracking website that lets you view real-time flight statuses. The same company has three tiers of iOS apps, each with progressively more features. You can track your flight and even see, in real time, where it is over the Earth. You can manage your itinerary, including car rentals and hotel reservations, get alerts about delays, get the local weather report before the captain announces it, and even see how the worldwide weather is affecting general airport delays.

If you have a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and need to see the status of every flight coming in and out of an airport, FlightView Elite includes access to flight boards, which you can also filter by airline, origin, destination city, and arrival or departure time.

If you fly regularly in bad weather, FlightView will keep you abreast of how that weather will affect your flight.

GateGuru

GateGuru

When I go on vacation, I kinda hate the first and last day ... because travel. Getting to the airport on time, making sure I've got my reservations all squared away, hoping there isn't a long line at TSA — it can all be very stressful. GateGuru is designed specifically for those travel days with tools that help organize your itinerary. When you enter your itinerary, it will let you know which terminal you should go to, the day's weather, your gate information, flight status, TSA wait times, airport food information, airport maps, and car rental information.

It's less about tracking your flight and more about making that day of travel as comfortable as possible for you. If you normally worry about how long you might have to stand in the security line (like I do), you can check the estimated wait. If you end up at an airport for a lengthy amount of time, you can look up the best place to eat or find some entertainment at your terminal.

If travel days stress you out when you're on vacation, get GateGuru to help see you through the anxiety. Who knows, maybe travel days will actually become fun for you.

Flightradar24

Flightradar24

If you're less interested in tracking your flight and more interested in the general aesthetic of aviation, you should check out Flightradar24. Not only can you track planes around the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and more, including where they are in the air, but you can also see what the pilot sees in real time with the Cockpit View's dashboard cam. When a plane flies overhead, you can point your iPhone at it and, using augmented reality, find out the flight number, where it left from, and where it's headed. Flightradar24 also has some fun tracking tools so you can set up notifications, filter by airline or aircraft, find out weather conditions for a particular airport, and even view the entire flight board at an airport.

If you're an aviation enthusiast, you'll be able to spend hours tracking planes with Flightradar24.

Now Arriving

Now-Arriving

Sometimes, you don't need all the details of where a plane is, how long it is in the air, or whether it's raining at the airport. Sometimes, you just need to know what time to pick someone up. Now Arriving is a simple app with one main purpose: to tell you when a flight is supposed to land. Enter a flight number and you'll see when it will arrive, what gate it will pull into, and how long it will take you to get to the airport from your current location.

This app is great for someone like me. I pick up friends and family from the airport all of the time because I live close. I estimate my drive time, and assume the flight arrival time is correct, but sometimes I get it wrong, and either have to drive around the airport for 15 minutes, or my poor family has to wait around in the rain for me to get there. Now Arriving takes out the guess work.

If the only thing you care about is what time you have to pick up the in-laws from the airport, then Now Arriving is your cup of tea.

Source : This article was published imore.com By LORY GIL

Categorized in Others

Back in February, we learned from a security researcher that various iOS apps can secretly leak login data and other personal information to hackers that know how iOS works, and how to take advantage of various flaws. Three months later, it looks like many of these apps, including mobile banking applications, have not been fixed.

Sudo Security Group Will Strafach explained that no less than 76 apps were susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks, including banking and medical apps. Hackers could fool these apps into leaking a user’s login details, without the user knowing.

You’d think app developers would go ahead and fix their apps following the notice. It turns out some of them have done so, including HipChat and Foxit. But ZDNet reports that many others haven’t taken action. 

@chronic
minor update: more of these are fixed now, such as Atlassian HipChat for iOS (CVE-2017-8058) and Foxit PDF Reader for iOS (CVE-2017-8059) https://twitter.com/chronic/status/828724931773026305 … 

The majority of the apps that can leak user data will still expose login info have not been fixed, including banking apps Emirates NBD, 21st Century Insurance, Think Mutual Bank, and Space Coast Credit Union, to name just a few.

Other apps including private web browser Dolphin Web Browser, blood glucose level Diabetes in Check, and an app that allows Indiana residents to vote are still affected by the hack.

There’s no indication anyone is abusing this iOS security flaw, but that’s not a good excuse for any app developer not to fix the issues. If you still have to use any of this apps, Strafach advises to avoid Wi-Fi networks and use your cellular plan instead.

Source : This article was published in bgr.com By Chris Smith

Categorized in Others

The recent technological innovations and mobile advancements are bringing about a major change in the relationship between healthcare professionals and their patients.

Patients want faster answers to their healthcare queries and greater control over wellness programs. The growth of new healthcare applications in the market was inevitable. These technologies have enabled patients and medical professionals to communicate in a more efficient manner.

Virtual Medicine

Telemedicine and telehealth apps are making healthcare more conducive to individual wellness, less expensive, more preventive and just downright better in many areas. The five apps mentioned in this article are excellent examples of modern-day ‘virtual’ health management. By creating a more competitive marketplace for health and wellness services, these apps are collectively increasing opportunities towards better results at lower costs.

Remote healthcare and telemedicine, reduce the costs by lowering access time, increasing preventive care and eliminating extra fuel consumption resulted by unnecessary trips to a medical institution. These applications and websites – and other similar options – truly aim to revolutionize healthcare.

1. Doctor on Demand

Doctor On Demand is a medically certified mobile application that allows video consultation with a doctor, have him write a medicinal prescription for you or simply get your questions answered.

Board-certified professionals can also treat non-emergency medical cases such as cold and flu symptoms, sports injuries, heartburn, respiratory infections and allergies, urinary tract infections as well as many pediatric issues.

They also prescribe medicine for travel purposes and refill existing prescriptions. Thanks to a new update on Doctor On Demand, you can now see a psychologist and have a stay-at-home lactation examination.

In the US, Doctor On Demand has more than 1400 state-licensed physicians. Sadly, there are states that still don’t allow medical diagnosis and prescriptions via video consultation. The government charges users a flat rate of $40 per session with doctors. Psychologist Video Visits cost $50 for a 25-minute session and $95 for 50 minutes.

2. HelloMD

Similar to online brain-assessment methods, HelloMD might not provide you with immediate medical care but it does specialize in finding specialists such as a neurologist, radiologist or chiropractor for a very specific rare health condition.

The application helps you connect with the right certified doctor or surgeon by setting up an appointment within 24 hours. The session then takes place in the online platform via video call.

The two basic purposes of HelloMD are to connect the user to the right doctor, so that you can see him or her in person for follow-up care, and to allow you quick access to specialists for second opinions. The prices can vary because the doctors set their own rates asking you to provide a credit card number to confirm the appointment, which generally occurs within a few days.

3. Microsoft HealthVault

Being extremely valuable to both individuals and families, Microsoft HealthVault is a professional online and mobile app healthcare service that allows the facility to keep your medical records safe and up to date. The information is only shareable with healthcare professionals and people you trust.

With a dedicated following for years, the application has helped many people with chronic conditions by tracking their daily health metrics such as blood sugar level, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.

You have the option of either inputting your data manually or have it done automatically by simply connecting HealthVault to any medical device, fitness tracker, Wi-Fi bathroom scales, and other apps.

4. Epocrates

Epocrates is an amazing mobile application for pharmacists. Along with being a comprehensive archive with tons of medical information, including drug interaction checker and a pill identification tool, the app also offers a secure HIPAA compliant, texting service that allows physicians and other hospital personnel to text each other with convenience. It keeps doctors updated with important news stories and builds essential resources for clinical guidelines, ICD-10 codes, disease information and more.

5. PingMD

A secure messaging app for doctors, PingMD allows medical health experts to connect with other professionals as well as their patients. Patients usually download the application only when their doctors are using it or recommend it to them.

If your doctor ever suggests PingMD, he or she might be aiming to virtually follow your symptom progression, assist in disease management or ask follow-up questions. Similar to the telemedicine application Epocrates, PingMD is also HIPAA compliant and allows you to connect with your physicians the same way you might communicate with a friend or colleague via text messaging, image sharing and so forth. Doctors using PingMD can also set their patients up for re-examinations with other experts on the platform to get a second opinion.

Each app is individually tailored to suit the taste and workflow of the user, but together these online resources are a futuristic vision of medical care, forming a world where doctors, nurses and all health administrators have up-to-the-minute information about their patients and can communicate with each other via a simple screen tap.

Source : This article was published in corporatewellnessmagazine.com By Kamil Riaz

Categorized in Others

In the fierce battle for attention in the App Store, how do you stay ahead of the competition? Contributor Gilad Bechar shares 5 trends and App Store Optimization tactics that can help you.

The Apple iTunes App Store has to evolve. The number of apps is growing exponentially, and user behaviors are constantly changing, making it critical for the App Store to adjust. Some of the products of this evolution are long-awaited features and capabilities, playing catch-up with Google Play. Others are attempts to take creative initiative in improving the user experience in the App Store.

App Store Optimization (ASO) in 2017 demands that app publishers stay one step ahead of the competition by taking advantage of newly available features and techniques. Failure to do so and sticking to old, out-of-date ASO strategies can cost you, as a publisher, in visibility and discoverability levels.

So, which new trends and ASO features do you absolutely have to know in 2017?

1. Review replies (with iOS 10.3)

With the release of iOS 10.3, Apple will finally allow app publishers and developers to respond to user reviews in the App Store. This long-awaited update will lead to higher rankings for publishers who pay attention to the contents of their reviews.

Users are more likely to award an app a higher rating if their comment receives a satisfactory response. Currently, users who encounter an issue with an app will rarely turn to support before abandoning it and rating it as poor.

By allowing developers to comment on user reviews, Apple will be opening another communication channel between users and app publishers to help with troubleshooting and support on the App Store page itself. Publishers should make use of this ability to win back disappointed users and increase retention rates.

2. In-app ranking mechanism (with iOS 10.3)

Another important addition that can help boost app rankings through higher ratings is the ability to include the ranking mechanism in the app without redirecting to the app page in the store — thus saving the user another step on their way to give your app the five stars it deserves.

To avoid abuse of this feature, Apple will be allowing app developers to bring up the rating dialogue up to three times a year. If a user rates the app, the prompt will not appear again. If it appears and the user dismisses it three times, the developer will have to wait for another year before asking the user for their satisfaction level of the app.

3. Search Ads

Apple Search Ads have proven to be a cost-effective user acquisition channel in initial experiments and tests. Apple’s unique combination of ASO and ad bidding not only boosts app visibility and discoverability, but also boosts the app’s organic search rankings for keywords targeted even after the campaign is over.

Search ads also let you include a list of negative keywords, helping you target the users you want. For example, if you want to exclude users least likely to pay for in-app purchases, you can experiment with adding the word “free” to your negative keywords.

We expect publishers to continue adopting this tool, and Apple to expand its global availability and enhance targeting capabilities.

4. Keyword boost campaigns

Currently, the iTunes App Store algorithm evaluates the relevance of a keyword to an app based on user installs originating from search results for that keyword. Keyword boost campaigns, which have recently gained popularity, involve numerous tactics to try to get users to download the app after searching for a targeted keyword or keywords.

Since this is often considered a “black-hat” tactic by Apple, it’s important that it’s applied carefully — preferably by experienced app marketers who’ve successfully promoted apps through keyword boost campaigns in the past without being penalized by Apple.

5. Deep linking & app indexing

App Store search results are an important source of organic traffic, but they’re not the only one. As mobile apps begin to replace mobile websites, Google is working to provide users with relevant search results within Android and iOS apps. Although this ASO technique has been around since 2015, its popularity is sure to rise in 2017, especially with e-commerce and news apps looking to turn mobile web users into app users.

Using app indexing, the result displayed and promoted in Google Search results is a link into the app itself for users who have the app installed. These links lead the user directly to the product or content page relevant to the search query inside the app. Users who do not have the app installed will be directed to the app page in the App Store to install the app. If your app and mobile website have similar content, you can associate them with one another to optimize discoverability across available channels.

Even with the ever-growing competition for user attention in the App Store, ASO remains the most cost-effective method to acquire loyal, ROI-positive users. Keeping up with the constant changes to the App Store algorithms and ecosystems is the only way to get ahead of the competition in 2017.

This article was published in marketingland.com By Gilad Bechar

Categorized in How to

When Google demoed Android Nougat for the first time almost a year ago at Google I/O 2016, Instant Apps was one of the features that stood out, as a trick the iPhone didn’t have at the time and still doesn’t have now. But as hot as it may be, the feature wasn’t ready for public consumption when Google released the final Nougat build last year. However, things might change soon, as Google is apparently getting ready to enable it on devices running Android 7 as well as phones and tablets running older Android versions.

Instant Apps will let users enjoy instant app experiences on their smartphones without actually downloading a particular app for. Assuming it works as described, the feature will solve a bunch of problems.

First of all, it’ll help save storage on the phone, as you won’t have to keep an app installed just because you might have to use it every now and then. Secondly, you won’t have to buy an app to try it since developers will be able to offer a portion of an app to test for free. Finally, the Instant Apps features will work on most Android devices out there, not just Nougat-based ones, as it’s built on Google Play Services.

Looking at the code in the latest version of Google Play Store, 9to5Google discovered that Google might be getting ready to roll out Instant Apps. The code reveals that users will be able to enable or disable the feature and choose which Google account to use with an app.

Here’s Google’s demo of Instant Apps:

9to5Google also mentions several new features in the Google Play Store 7.8 update, including a Google Play app discovery service, a pre-registration rewards features for apps, and a new security branding for Verify Apps — that’s Play Protect.

The original version of this article on BGR.com

Categorized in Search Engine

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