Lookout Ad Network Detector

The folks over at Lookout Labs have released a new Android app today, and it's one that I think a whole lot of folks are going to love. Dubbed Ad Network Detector, it's an app that detects which advertisement networks are running in the other apps you've downloaded and installed, tells you what apps are using them, and lets you know a bit about what type of information they can be tracking about you.

Lets get to the meat of the issue -- ads are not bad or evil. I've been known to wear a tinfoil hat on occasion, but even I recognize that advertisements are a great way for developers to offer apps for free, and make them accessible to everyone -- not just those with a credit card, who are willing to pay (or able to pay in their country) for them from the Market. Developers deserve to make money, I get it. But we also deserve to know what info these ad networks are collecting. Let's be honest, most folks don't bother to read the permissions screen when they install an app. None of these ad networks are going to do anything illegal or inherently evil, so there's no harm in knowing more about them, right? Here's an easy way to know all of that.

Just install the app, run it and let it scan the applications you've installed on your phone. You get a handy list of things ad networks can do (including the horrible trick of putting ads in your notification bar), and how many of each you might have installed. A quick tap opens the tree, and you see the names of the culprits ad networks that are using each type of ad. Another tap and you get more information about how it all works and the apps that are using this type of placement or collection. From there, you can decide what to do. I love it when power is put back in the hands of the user, and knowing is the most important part. This is one I'll recommend to everyone with an Android phone.

We've got the download link, and a few screen caps to see how it all goes down, after the break.

Source: Lookout




Reader comments

Lookout launches Ad Network Detector, a new tool to manage privacy


It's not a new app, it's just revamped. It was called Push Ad Detector when they launched it 3 weeks ago. Now it does more than just push ads, hence the new name.

Yikes...Android Central seems to be the worst offender on my phone...LeadBolt, MOcean, AdMob, Smaato, JumpTap, MobFox, Millennial, Vdopia, MDotM, AdWhirl, ZestAdz, all in Android Central's Android app. Granted, you can opt out of some, but not all, and only if you hand over your IMEI/MEID to them. This was certainly one of the most helpful reviews Android Central has ever done. Thanks...and goodbye.

Use the blue widget app.

It takes you to the mobile site.

NO ADS!!!!!!!

(At least not in my Chrome browser.)

Great! It's great to know what these ads do and what info they can collect if you click on them. Then you can make an informed decision on what you want to do. Nice!

What upsets me is apps I paid for like "Cut the rope" still have ad services in them I guess they just don't display them but still make the cash?

So of my 304 apps, AC is the only one that can push ads to my notification bar, the only one that can initiate a call or sms on ad touch, and the only one that collects personal information. Your app also has excessive permissions. I love AC and want to give yall the benefit of the doubt, but I'm curious about what's up.

Same here. Seems the 'other' droid site (DL) app is using the same ad vendors as AC. The call/text/sms on ad touch is what bothers me the most since my preschool kids play with my phone. It seems Jerry and Co. didn't realize their site's Android app was the shadiest of the bunch and ratted themselves out. I uninstalled both apps and now all is well. I'll just catch the AC articles from a mobile browser. Thanks for the heads up Jerry.

Had Zero ads until I updated and ran it again, Skyfall beta has 16 ad networks attached to it. Guess they test the notification ad ability when they tell you your health is now full strength and so and so wants to add you as a friend.