Brazilian judge tells Apple and Google to pull Secret from people’s devices

Secret on an iPhone

Secret's app is ostensibly meant for office gossip and getting transgressions out of your system, but it has also been abused by bullies wanting to intimidate and shame others. Well, one Brazilian judge is fed up with that misuse -- enough so that he's ordering Apple and Google to remove Secret not just from their respective local app stores, but from people's devices. Microsoft also has to yank Cryptic, an equivalent Windows Phone app. If the companies don't take action within 10 days, they face fines of 20,000 Reals ($8,876) per day. That's a drop in the bucket given their massive revenue streams, but it's reasonable to say that they'd rather not pay that much just to keep one title available in one country.

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Via: 9to5Mac

Source: Estadao (translated)

Google pulls Gaza-themed Android app from Play Store following outcry

Google sign

Google regularly screens Android apps in the Play Store, but it's usually focused on blocking malware and scams rather than the substance of the apps themselves. Today, though, it took the rare step of policing content by removing Bomb Gaza, a game that made light of the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. A spokesman would only tell Reuters that it pulls apps which "violate [the company's] policies," but the forced exit came not long after outrage from Play Store users who felt that the game trivialized very real casualties. Most likely, Google took the title down due to terms of service that forbid hate speech and abusive material; users can flag apps they find offensive, so it wouldn't have taken much to prompt action. While the move isn't completely surprising as a result, it's a reminder that Google will clamp down when software is virtually tailor-made for antagonizing entire cultures.

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Source: Reuters

Google’s new, image-rich Play Store for Android is rolling out now

Google Play Store with a Material Design flair

It looks like you won't have to wait long at all to check out Google's visually rich Play Store revamp -- it's rolling out now. The refresh doesn't appear any different on the surface, but a quick dive shows very different product pages that are clearly inspired by the company's multi-layered Material Design philosophy. Cover art plays a much larger role, and details like rating overviews and genres have been moved into easy-to-read icons. You might not like everything about the new storefront -- there's considerably more scrolling involved, for one thing. On the whole, though, it's both prettier and easier to understand at a glance. The revamp should reach your device within days, but Android Police has an installer if you just can't wait to see what's new.

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Via: Droid-Life

Source: Google Play (Twitter)

South Korea makes it easier to get refunds for Android and iOS apps

Galaxy S5 at a South Korean store

If you've ever been burned by downloading a mobile app that you don't want or doesn't work, relief may be in sight... so long as you're in South Korea, at least. The country's Fair Trade Commission has ordered both Apple and Google to make their app refund policies more consumer-friendly. To start, Apple must make it easier to claim refunds on in-app purchases; if your kid goes wild buying in-game items, you should have an easier time getting your money back. Google, meanwhile, has to let developers set their own refund terms.

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Via: Korea Herald, MacRumors

Source: Fair Trade Commission (translated)

Google Play’s ‘People’ section highlights apps your friends like

You trust your friends for restaurant recommendations, so why not apps as well? That's the idea behind Google Play's new "People" section, which attempts to leverage Google+ as a way to show which apps your friends like enough to award a +1 (you'll be able to see their ratings on those apps too). And it's not just restricted to your buddies either; the section will suggest other folks on G+ that you should follow to get even more app recommendations. The update should have rolled out to your Android handheld by now, but you can view the same reviews and ratings under the "From Familiar Faces" heading on the web store as well.

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Via: TheVerge, Phandroid

Source: Google Play

Comic Book Wednesdays come to Google Play with single issues from DC

Google Play Books and DC Entertainment are showing off their super friendship once again, but, this time, for readers who'd rather consume comics in bite-sized portions. As of today, you can grab single issues from the publisher directly from Mountain View's media market. To celebrate, there's even a sale on the likes of Aquaman and Adventure Comics for $0.99 an issue, while a handful of others including Batman and Green Arrow are under $3 apiece. As the senior vice president of DC's Vertigo label has told CNET, its Google customers were happy but kept asking for single issues. As a result, the outfit beefed up its back-end to accommodate the weekly storefront schedule, and now you should have new issues 52 times a year. See? Further proof that if you really want a company to do something, all you have to do is ask politely.

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Source: CNET

Google infuses Play Newsstand, Movies & TV and Keep apps for Android with new features

While Microsoft was busy announcing its updated mobile platform (among other things) today, Google spent its time pushing updates for its Play Newsstand, Movies & TV and Keep apps for Android. Newsstand's update, in particular, makes it easier to discover more things to read. New tabs on the "Read now" menu provide instant access to sections like business, entertainment and sports, while the My News and My Magazines pages have been combined to form a 2-in-1 destination called My Library.

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Via: Android Central (1), (2)

Source: Google Play Newsstand, Google Play Movies & TV, Google+, Google Keep

Google helps devs create cross-platform Android and iOS multiplayer games

The annual Game Developers Conference descends on San Francisco this week, and Google's wasting no time in sharing its news. For gamers, Mountain View's said it'll be launching a "game gifts" service for sending in-game swag to other players, and increasing the number of game categories in the Play store to 18 in the hope you'll stumble upon titles you might like easier. More important, however, is what devs can do with the new features of Google Play game services, a back-end tool for managing leaderboards, achievements and more in Android, iOS or web games. Multiplayer support has been added for iOS games, and via an update to the Unity plug-in, cross-platform multiplayer between Android and iOS devices is now possible. These features have to be implemented by developers, of course, but next time you see that friend who's always arguing the merits of one mobile OS over another, you might just be able to settle the discussion in-game instead.

Update: A new version of Google Play services is rolling out to support the new features. Version 4.3 supports the new gifts feature, as well as tie-ins to Google's recently updated Drive API for storage.

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Source: Android Developers (G+), Android Developers Blog

Google Play Store update adds finer security control for app purchases

Making it smoother for you to buy up all the in-app items you need (or making it harder for your kids to do the same), Google's latest update to the Play Store is adding a new "Require password" settings option, as well as a more eye-catching in-app purchase reminder when applicable apps are downloaded. These security changes might well be in response to a recently filed class action lawsuit against Google Play, and the ability for children to really ring up those in-app purchases within a 30-minute window. In the company's defense, however, the default setting requires users to input their password for every app and in-app item.

Apple recently added an in-app purchase nag warning inside its iOS 7.1 update, noting that once the password has been entered, users won't have to re-enter it for 15 minutes. Google's store update also adds the ability to batch-install apps (ready for that upgrade), although it's curiously dropped the batch-uninstall function. The fight against bloatware might take a little longer next time.

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Via: Android Community

Google Play Music for Android now lets you take radio stations offline

Offline radio in Google Play Music for Android

If you thrive on Google Play Music's radio stations but would love if they kept playing while you're away from an internet connection, congratulations -- Google has just granted your wish. An Android app update rolling out today lets you pin whole stations to your device, guaranteeing a fresh set of tunes when you're on that WiFi-less flight. The upgrade also allows you to remotely manage the devices that can access your collection, and a "play next" command will queue up a song that you just have to hear. The new Play Music software doesn't appear to be widely available just yet, but those who refuse to wait can download the installer from Android Police.

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Via: Android Police

Source: Google Play