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3 years ago

Facebook sharing your phone number sucks, but you gave it to them willingly

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When you willingly give your data away, you lose control of where it goes once it's no longer in your hands

Last week we told you about a bug on Facebook, where the popular social network ended up sharing some personal information with your friends. There's some more talk about it again today, as Symantec has stated that "the first time you launch the Facebook application, even before logging in, your phone number will be sent over the Internet to Facebook servers. You do not need to provide your phone number, log in, initiate a specific action, or even need a Facebook account for this to happen."

The thing is, if you installed the Facebook app, you agreed to give them this information. It spells it out in simple terms, and forced you to agree to it before you could download the app.

This doesn't excuse Facebook for the latest privacy gaffe, but it does highlight the need to look at those permissions -- and understand them -- for each and every app you install. They are all there, and if you come across something you don't understand there are plenty of people to help you figure it out in the forums.

We're not saying the Android permissions system is perfect. But it is there, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves when we agree to something we end up not liking.

Update: People are asking about the pre-installed version of Facebook on their carrier and OEM branded phones. When you set up your phone, or first use the app, you're given a link to the full set of Facebook policies, including their data use policy. If what data is being collected is important to you, that's readily available right from your phone settings. On your first trip to the Google Play store, you'll be asked to update to the Google Play version, which again reviews all of the app permissions. This information is there, you only need to read it.

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3 years ago

Add special effects to your videos easily with FxGuru

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Spice up your videos with space debris, dinosaurs, falling pianos and more with this easy to use app

The video camera on your Android phone just became a lot more fun to use thanks to FxGuru. If you ever wanted to have a T-Rex crash your brother's Little League game, or drop a piano on your mother-in-law, or just weasel out of cutting the grass because a part of Skylab fell in the yard, now you can! OK, not really but it can look like it happened, and that's more fun than cleaning up after a T-Rex.

The app is easy to use. You pick the effect you want, hit the OK button, and start recording. There's an overlay on your screen of where the magic will happen so you know just how to keep things lined up. When you're done, you can select a filter and boost the audio, and it saved to an mp4 video right on your phone.

There are seven free effects included -- Breaking News, Birthday Bot, Dancing Droid, Piano Drop,Satellite Crash, UFO Shuttle and TNT Barrel -- and you can download plenty of others for 99-cents each or $4.69 for six in a pack. The free effects are limited to 480p recording, but the paid ones will allow HD recording.

I'm having entirely too much fun with this one. Hit the Google Play link above and check it out -- you will, too. Hit the break for an example (you knew we had to) and an assortment of screen shots.

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3 years ago

Skype 4.0 for Android launches - 'rebuilt from the ground up'

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Messaging platform celebrates 100 million Android installs with all-new app

Skype for Android is getting a major update today, bringing the app up to version 4.0 with a major redesign. The app, which Skype says recently passed 100 million installs, has been completely redesigned to be more consistent with other platforms' versions. (That is to say it's looking a lot more Windows 8-like as of this latest update.)

The new app features a cleaner "conversation-first" UI, putting greater emphasis on instant messaging. In addition, you can now tab through different areas of the app, and change tabs using swipe gestures. But the changes are apparently more than skin deep, as Skype says it's been "rebuilt from the ground up" to be faster and more reliable.

The Microsoft-owned messaging platform promises further improvements to the Skype app for Android in the future. In the meantime, you can grab today's update from the Google Play Store.

Update: Skype buried the options to sign out, as well as the settings menu. By popular request, here's where to find them.

Source: Skype

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3 years ago

Vine now available for the Amazon Kindle Fire

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You have a Kindle Fire from Amazon. You want the Vine app. Today is your lucky day. 

The Vine for Android app is now available on the Amazon app store, and is compatible with the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. That means you can now take all the six-second selfies your heart desires, and share them all with the rest if the civilized world. 

Or you can freak out over ... Gummy Worms. 

Anyhoo, it's nice to see the folks behind Vine haven't forgotten about everyone with a Kindle Fire. Grab your copy (it's free) from the app store on your device, or click the link below.

Vine on the Amazon app store

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3 years ago

Reminder: June 30 is the last day to get Google Play Music All Access for $7.99 a month

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Save two dollars a month by signing up before Monday

Attention music fans! Google Play Music All Access will move from $7.99 per month to $9.99 per month starting July 1. If you want to save $2 a month on the life of the service you'll need to act before Monday rolls around. Signing up is easy -- just point your browser here (or click on the link with your phone) and follow the instructions for a free 30 day trial to see if the service works for you. Next month, your Google Wallet account will be billed for $7.99 for the next 30 days. Things continue until you cancel the service through the Google Play store or the Google Play Music app.

We've had a good long look at the service, which you will want to read if you're not familiar with how it works. In a nutshell, your 8 bucks gives you unlimited access to every song in Google Play, and you can stream them, pin them to your Android device, or play them through the web player as often as you like. When you find something you like, you can add it to your music library if you like for easy access the next time you want to hear it. In addition, you have access personalized radio stations with unlimited skips, and can see smart recommendations based on your listening history.

$2 every month adds up over time, so be sure to act if you think you'll be interested. Use the 30 day trial wisely, and if the service works out for you you'll be saving a nice chunk of change in the long run.

Read: Google Play Music All Access will be my first paid music subcription service

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Financial Times, NewsBlur, Blank Lockscreen and more!

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Another great set of apps to wrap up this month's Apps of the Week posts

It's Saturday afternoon, and that means it's time for another Apps of the Week post where we show off a few of our (currently) favorite apps. A handful of the Android Central writers have chimed in this week with an app that keeps them productive, entertained or just solves a problem that's bothering them on a particular device.

This week we have a couple ways to read the news, a great game choice and a few tools. Stick around after the break and see how we did.

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3 years ago

Chrome beta updated, fixes keyboard at Gmail website and favicon sync

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Chrome beta for Android has received another sizable update, and a few long-standing nags have been addressed. A quick look at the change log says the white flash that appears when you load a new tab (that's murder on the eyes at night in bed) should be gone, favicons should sync across other devices using Clank (Chrome beta for Android's code name), and issues with the keyboard at the Gmail website where it won't dismiss have been corrected. 

Add in a security fix to make sure a dialog is displayed as soon as any downloads are called instead of actually accepted and a slew of the normal bug fixes, and this is one you'll want to install. Grab the update through Google Play or at the link above.

Source: Google

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3 years ago

Max Sound's Spins HD makes Android mp3 playback not suck

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Coming update makes it easier to organize and play your library while keeping all the sound improvements you expect from Spins HD

While the debate over keeping your music collection stored locally or in the cloud will never end, the one thing most people agree on is that a good music player app makes a world of difference in the way those files sound. Everyone has a favorite, but Max Sound is pushing out an update to Spins HD that you're going to want to look at.

Spins HD takes your existing on-device music collection and runs it through more than equalizer presets, the app delivers HD sound by converting the file into an actual analog sound wave. While it's still a compressed digital file, this allows the "full breadth" of the original recording to come through, delivering better sounding music. These claims may come from the developers, but I will say the files do sound better when playing in Spins HD, and often times much better. And it's easy -- there is a page of presets that work well, and for the more adventurous, you can also set the tone for high, low, and midpoint sounds from your music. Great sound from an app that's easy to use is always a plus.

Smart phones have taken the place of the mp3 player for most of us, so getting great sounding audio is important for the connoisseurs out there. The coming update for Spins HD keeps the great sound you expect from the player, and adds a much improved UI that makes it easier to manage and sort your playlists and songs. If you're a current user, look for the update shortly, and if you haven't tried Spins HD yet, click the link above to give it a whirl. A press release and series of screenshots is after the break.

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3 years ago

BBM still coming to Android before the end of the summer

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BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins this morning on the company's quarterly earnings call reminded us that BBM — that's BlackBerry Messenger — will be available for Android and iOS "before the end of the summer."

He didn't give any further details, and it's worth noting that summer officially is all of a week old.

More: CrackBerry earnings call liveblog

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3 years ago

Gmail update brings the delete option back by default

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A quick update to the Gmail app tonight brings about a couple changes. First off is that Google has brought back the delete option by default, alongside the archive button. (Previously you had to turn that back on in the settings.) Also listed is "tap sender images to select multiple e-mails in the conversation list," but we've been doing that for a little while now, right? Plus, the requisite bugfixes. 

Not a huge update, but any update to the Gmail app is an important one. Head on over and set things right.

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3 years ago

Vine update enables 6-second selfies

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Just use that front-facing camera power wisely

Vine has just been updated in the Play Store to enable what every self-loving kid on the internet needed -- front facing camera support. Nothing else in the interface for recording has changed, except now you have a simple button in the bottom left corner of the app to toggle between cameras. You can toggle in the middle of a video between cuts if you just have to give that reaction shot, or you can go the full 6-seconds with one camera or the other.

Is this enough to bring people back over from Instagram with video? Hard to say that it is. Regardless, you're likely about to see your Vine feed filled up with a lot more faces for the next few days. You can grab a download from the Play Store link above.

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3 years ago

Android 101: Keep your apps up to date

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Those apps aren't going to update themselves ... by default, that is

One of the best parts about owning a smart phone is the limitless possibilities of installing apps that can do so much more than the phone can out of the box. The unfortunate downside is trying to keep up with the seemingly constant flow of app updates coming to your device every day. But you're in luck, as Android has had automatic updating of apps through the Play Store since back in the day when it was still the Android Market, and it's a simple process to get set up.

Head to the Google Play Store on your device, hit the menu button and go to "settings". If it isn't already set by default, go ahead and tap the "Auto-update apps" setting and choose the most appropriate setting for your needs -- no updates, updates only on Wifi, or all updates. Most people with limited data buckets will be best-off with the "Auto-update apps over Wifi only" option. Once you have turned on automatic updates of either kind, you can always turn off automatic updates for a particular app by navigating to its Play Store listing (from the "My apps" area) and tapping the menu button, then un-checking the "Auto-update" box.

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

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3 years ago

Google Play Movies gets a new look, drives another nail in Nexus Q's coffin

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Google Movies & TV today got visual refresh that also takes away another third of the functionality of the already defunct Nexus Q.

First, the important stuff: The app got a new layout and design that brings it more in line with Google's other apps, borrowing from the likes of Gmail and Google Play. The new navigation drawer is your portal to "Watch Now," which tries to predict what you'll want to see next, along with "My Movies," "My TV Shows" and "Shop," which takes you to Google Play. There's a shortcut in the overflow menu that'll take you to videos that you've shot with your phone or tablet, which is nice.

And now, the slightly disappointing part.

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3 years ago

Facebook introduces Android app beta testing via Google Groups

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Proper beta testing with a feedback network to help squash bugs and improve performance

Facebook has had a rocky past of questionable app quality and a couple instances of side-stepping Play Store guidelines for updates, but the social network is hoping to correct some of those issues today by introducing a proper beta testing program for its app. In an effort to try and solve some of the issues associated with having an app that needs to be able to run on probably the widest range of hardware of any other app -- from the cheapest unlocked device in the developing world up to the Galaxy S4 -- Facebook will now enlist the help of beta testers to flush out bugs.

Somewhat surprisingly, Facebook will use Google's newly created beta testing feature tied to Google Groups, which it introduced at Google I/O this year. The process will be pretty simple -- just join the Google Group that Facebook has set up for its app beta testing, opt-in to the test and go download the latest version of the app from the Play Store. Further discussion about new versions and associated bugs will continue in a specialized Facebook group, where beta testers will have the ability to discuss issues directly with the developers.

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3 years ago

Delta updates its Android app with better international, seating features

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Delta Air Lines today announced version 2.1 of its official Fly Delta Android application, adding new features directly related to getting your butt in the seat and the plane on its way.

Most important is that you'll now be able to purchase Preferred Seats (ie aisle and window seats, as well as exit rows) within 24 hours of departure. You'll also be able to book international flights directly from the app.

For the iOS folks, Delta has added Facebook integration that will let you document your travel and create a "virtual passport" through the Facebook Collections feature. You'll also be able to share when you've planned a trip, when you check in, and when you arrive. That's not listed in the Android changelog, though, and we're not seeing any options for it.

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