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Google Pulls 3 Kid-Friendly Android Apps for Data Collection Violations

Google has decided to put its foot down on three apps that were specifically targeted towards children, as reported by TechCrunch. These seemingly innocent-looking apps aren't small ones, either, as they have approximately 20 million downloads between them.

All three of the apps were removed from the Google Play app store, making them unavailable to download for anyone going forward.

What Happens To These Apps Now?

Let's start with what actually happened. Google was alerted that the apps called Princess Salon​, Number Coloring, and ​Cats & Cosplay were violating the rules by the International Digital Accountability Council. Specifically, they were violating data collection policies, potentially accessing users’ Android ID and Android Advertising ID (AAID) numbers.

Google agreed with the claims from the IDAC and made a statement confirming the apps were removed from Google Play.

"We can confirm that the apps referenced in the report were removed," said the Google spokesperson in a statement to TechCrunch. “Whenever we find an app that violates our policies, we take action."

Apparently, the data leakage could be connected to the apps being built using SDKs from several firms. First, there's Unity, which is the engine running the games. Next, Umeng is an Alibaba-owned analytics provider that some have described also as an adware provider. Finally, there's Appodeal, which is an app monetization and analytics provider.

IDAC president Quentin Palfrey spoke on the findings. He said, "The practices we observed in our research raised serious concerns about data practices within these apps."

Palfrey elaborated on what the damage caused by these leaks could be. "If AAID information is transmitted in tandem with a persistent identifier it’s possible for the protection measures that Google puts in place for privacy protection to be bridged," he said.

With both the AAID and Android ID, developers could bypass privacy controls and track users over time and across devices. Obviously, that can be dangerous, and it certainly something no one would want an app to have without their permission.

Unfortunately, IDAC wouldn't get too specific on whether it could determine how much data was actually drawn as a result of the violations that it identified. That means it's not clear whether user information was compromised.

What Does This Mean Going Forward?

Obviously, Google Play is a giant app store, and there are bound to be some bad apps that get through. It's good to see that Google responded quickly to remove the apps from the store so no one else can download them.

If you or your child have these apps installed already, you should delete them as soon as possible and discontinue using them.

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One Plus 8T Is Officially Available Now for $749 in The US

There's a new phone on the block from OnePlus, and its power-to-price ratio is extremely impressive.

OnePlus has made the OnePlus 8T available on its website for $749, and when you consider the specs the phone is packing, it's a really solid option for anyone who isn't looking to throw down upwards of $1000 for a decent phone.

OnePlus 8T Specs and Features

The OnePlus 8T brings with it specs you might not expect to see from a phone with a $749 price tag. Starting with the processor, it features the impressive Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. It also comes with 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage. You'd typically see that much memory, both storage and RAM, on far more expensive devices.

OnePlus included a 6.55-inch 120Hz display, which is a great size for the price. With the 120Hz, you'll get an ultra-smooth experience for games and anything else you could want to do with the phone.

As for the cameras, the OnePlus 8T comes with a 48 MP Quad Camera on the back, which is quite powerful.

Keeping the phone alive is a 4,5000mAh battery and 65W charging.

Those specs put this device in the same space as the Google Pixel 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, which is certainly some tough competition.

What Colors Does the OnePlus 8T Come In?

If you like a vibrant phone, the OnePlus 8T might be a perfect option for you, as the company is offering it in a bright silver color that it calls Lunar Silver and a teal color that it calls Aquamarine Green. They both look rather nice, and they cost the same regardless of which color you end up with.

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YouTube Music Gets a Snazzy New iOS 14 Widget | MakeUseOf

Since the release of iOS 14, Google has proven to be one of the best widget makers for Apple's mobile operating system.

Google is back at it again with two new widgets. This time, the company has rolled out widgets for YouTube Music and Google Photos, as reported by 9To5Google. Both look great, and they bring some rather useful features to the iOS 14 home screen.

What Does The YouTube Music Widget Do?

Starting with YouTube Music, Google is offering three different widgets of various sizes. All three widgets give you a look at your recently played songs, playlists, or albums, and you can tap one to launch the YouTube Music app to play the song again.

As is the case with iOS widgets, there's no playback controls or anything of that nature. Instead, it serves as a quick way to launch the YouTube Music app and get back to what you previously listened to. Still, it's a cool widget that looks great on the home screen. If you're a YouTube Music fan with an iOS device, you should definitely give these widgets a shot.

Google Photos Widget Functionality

The new widget for Google Photos is called Your memories, and it's all about taking you for a trip down memory lane. Each time you unlock your iOS device, you'll see recently highlighted photos and videos and special moments from previous years. It appears that the widget is sticking to photos from the same week from previous years. That means you shouldn't see summer photos during the winter, for example.

If you're the type of person who takes tons of photos and stores them in Google Photos, this might be a must-have widget for you. Of course, if you have many photos of exes or deceased family members, you might find that the widget brings back painful memories that you'd rather not see.

How To Enable Either of These Widgets

Enabling widgets on iOS is incredibly easy. However, before you can get the widget up and running, you'll need to make sure you have the Google Photos and YouTube Music apps installed.

Once up and running, you need to press and hold on the home screen, tap the plus icon on the upper left corner, search for and tap YouTube Music or Google Photos, choose between the different widget sizes, tap Add Widget, move the widget to where you want it on your home screen, and tap Done.

Once that's done, you'll be able to check out your music or photos right from the home screen of your iOS device.

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New Google Fi Program Makes It so You Can Get a Pixel 4a for $216

Google Fi is one of the better values in terms of smartphone providers, and Google is looking to make it even better with a new program that'll make getting a Pixel 4a quite a bit cheaper than it would be if purchased at the normal price.

Essentially, Google is making a subscription service wherein you pay for the device monthly, and you end up saving quite a bit off the regular price of the phone.

What Is the Google Fi Phone Subscription Program?

Google announced the new subscription plan on The Keyword, and it sounds like a tremendous value. For $15 per month, you get a Google Pixel 4a device (not the Pixel 4a 5G version, though), a device protection plan, and a phone upgrade after two years.

If you compare the total price, you'll end up spending $360 on the Pixel 4a and the protection plan. That's a savings of $133 over two years, which is no small discount when you consider the device's original price with the protection plan.

Google also offers the ability to snag the phone as part of this subscription plan without the protection plan (though it certainly pushes the extended protection pretty hard). Without the plan, you can get the Pixel 4a for just $9 a month, which breaks down to $216 after two years. Compared to the price of the phone by itself, that's a discount of $134.

If you choose to skip the protection plan, it's important to keep in mind that you'll still be responsible for the remainder owed on the phone should it break during the two-year period. Of course, with as affordable as the price is, that may not be such a deal-breaker for some.

You'll need to sign up for Google Fi service to take advantage of this deal. You can choose to go with the Fi Flexible plan or the Fi Unlimited Plan, depending on your needs.

If you choose the base Fi Flexible plan, you'll pay $20 per month and $10 for each GB of data. With the phone and one GB of data, you'd be looking at a total monthly cost of $39, which isn't bad at all.

What Is the Pixel 4a?

The Pixel 4a is a shockingly capable phone for the price. It obviously doesn't come with all the features offered by the Pixel 5, but it has enough to make it more than worth the price.

When you factor in this deal, it's really a no-brainer for anyone looking to snag a new Android phone and cell service from Google.

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Google Shopping To Offer Price Comparison to Help You Find Deals

One of the many things completely altered by the internet is shopping. We are no longer limited to the stores in our immediate area. We can shop from retailers around the world to find the products we want.

With that, shoppers have become more and more price-savvy. Everyone wants a deal. Google has announced a new feature for Google Shopping on The Keyword that will make it much easier to find out whether a purchase is a good deal based on what others have paid.

How Google Shopping Price Insights Work

There are three core parts of the new Google Shopping features. There are price insights, comparisons, and tracking tools in place. To use them, just search for an item and then click the Shopping tab on the results page. Choose a product, and you'll be able to dig in and learn more about the price or enable tracking.

First, Google is offering insights into the price. This will break down key aspects of the item's price history, so you can easily determine if now is the right time to pick one up, or if you should wait until later. The features are similar to tools like Honey, but it's built right into Google search, which means you don't need to install an extension or visit another website.

From the same Shopping page, you can compare the price at a range of retailers, both online and local. This will include the cost of shipping, so you can get a valid picture of the total amount you'll need to spend from each retailer to acquire the item you want.

The final new feature allows you to track a price. When you're looking at a particular item on Google Shopping, you'll actually see a checkbox that you can click to track the price of an item. If there's a price drop, you'll get an alert letting you know so you can jump on it. Tracked products will appear under My Activity on your Google account, so you can easily remove things you no longer need.

New Google Shopping Feature Availability

Google announced that the new price insights, comparison, and tracking tools are slated to roll out right now, so you can actually search for a product and make sure you're getting a good deal right now.

Unfortunately, the new feature is only rolling out in the US for now. Google didn't announce plans for other regions, but if the feature ends up being successful, there's always a chance it could bring it to Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.

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Garmin Releases Instinct Smartwatch Made for Gamers | MakeUseOf

Garmin has shown off a new version of its popular Instinct smartwatch on Garmin.com, and this time, it's especially targeted at gamers. While most smartwatches come packed with features designed for running, hiking, and biking, the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition comes with perfect features for gaming and streaming.

What Is the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition?

The main selling point of the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition is the gaming features. After all, if you buy a watch with Esports Edition in the name, it better come with tracking modes designed for hardcore game sessions. As such, Garmin offers a dedicated esports activity function that can track and analyze heart rate and stress during gaming sessions.

Outside of the immediate information, the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition can offer a long-term trend analysis, which could help high-level gamers improve their skills. After all, if you know in which situations you need to calm down, you can improve focus there over the long haul.

Those tracking features can be useful for just about anyone who plays competitive games, but Garmin is also introducing a new tool called STR3AMUP (yes, that's how the company spelled it). With it, streamers can actually incorporate their biometric data into their broadcasts. This is actually really cool, as it not only lets viewers experience what the streamer is playing, but it provides a glimpse into how they're actually feeling.

Outside of the gaming-specific features, this watch comes with all the original Garmin Instinct smartwatch's tracking and features. That means it'll track heart rate, sleep, stress, and Body Battery Energy (which is a mixture of various metrics).

Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of sales, spoke about the value of this data for gamers. He said, "Players can also use Instinct’s data to make adjustments in their daily lives, whether it be altering sleep patterns or activity levels, which can result in increased cognitive and physical performance during play."

Another thing that makes the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition worth a look is the battery life. The company says that it will get up to 80 hours of battery life in esports mode and up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, which is quite nice if you plan to use it to track your sleep.

When Can You Buy the Garmin Instinct Esports Edition?

Garmin actually made its new gaming smartwatch available right now from Garmin.com, so you don't have to wait to snag one. It retails for $299.99, which is right around what we'd expect from a smartwatch with this sort of feature set.

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Chromebook Owners Can Get 3 Free Months of GeForce Now

Outside of the obvious benefits, one of the best reasons to own a Chromebook is the perks. Google offers all kinds of free stuff to Chromebook owners, and some of the services offered by the company can be rather pricey if you were to buy them.

Google just added three free months of access to GeForce Now to its Chromebook perks page. This news comes shortly after NVIDIA extended support to Chromebooks for its game streaming service.

How To Get GeForce Now On Your Chromebook

If you're interested in redeeming this GeForce Now perk, all you need to do is head to the Chromebook perks page and click on the Get perk button.

There are some caveats, though. First, you will need to have a Chromebook that was purchased after June 2017 to get the deal. You'll also need to purchase a subscription, as the perk is added in addition to purchased time.

Fortunately, you'll only have to purchase one month of the service to get the three months. Getting four months of game streaming for around $5 is certainly not a bad deal for anyone interesting in gaming on Chromebook.

Other Chromebook Perks

Outside of GeForce Now, Google also offers three free months of Stadia Pro to Chromebook owners. That means there's even more game streaming available for Chromebooks that won't break the bank.

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iBeesoft Data Recovery Makes Getting Lost Files Back a Breeze

Have you ever had your heart jump into your throat when you realized that you accidentally deleted a file that you're going to need? Whether you lost a work file, an irreplaceable photo, or a home movie, there are some files that we'd rather not lose.

That's where iBeesoft Data Recovery could be a live saver for you. The reasonably-priced software can scan your drive and recover the files you thought were lost to history. You can recover files from a hard disk, SSD, partition, SD card, external drive, RAW drive, USB drive, and just any other storage type.

Imagine the feeling you get when you find something you thought you'd never see again. For $49.95, which is about half the price of similar software from other companies, you can get that feeling with files you thought you'd never see again.

Using iBeesoft Data Recovery to Get Your Files Back

The iBeesoft Data Recovery software is available to download on both Mac and Windows, so you can recover files quickly and easily, regardless of which OS you use.

Once you've downloaded the software for the platform of your choice, you'll need to go through the quick installation process. There aren't many steps required to get the software installed, and you don't need to worry about any hidden software or adware coming with it.

After the install is finished, you're greeted with a screen that lets you launch the scan. You can customize the scan to choose the types of files you'd like it to find, or just let it scan your drive for all lost files. Either way, the scan only takes a couple of minutes to find all of the lost files.

However, if you don't see the files you want, you can perform a deep scan, which will take a lot longer (in my testing, it took about an hour to go through the entire system). This will find far more files, even those with incomplete file properties.

From there, you can browse through the lost files and see if the file you're looking for is retrievable. You can even find files that you have already deleted from your recycle bin. If the file is there, you can click Recover to bring it back to your drive.

Browsing through the files is an easy enough process. You can browse by the path, the type, or the time. If you choose to browse by the type of file, it'll break it down by the types of files you've elected to search for. Going further, it'll even show you different file types, so you can get track down the exact files you need.

If, for example, you wanted to find an AVI file, you could search for videos, then drill down to the different types of videos to see if any AVI files are recoverable.

I found type to be the most useful since I could check for the exact type of file I know I am missing. If you know approximately when the file went missing, you can use the time setting as well. It's definitely nice that that iBeesoft Data Recovery gives you options because finding lost files can be difficult. Having as many possible roads to success will increase the chances you can recover what you need.

Check Out iBeesoft Data Recovery For Yourself

You can actually download and try iBeesoft Data Recovery for free to see if it works for you. Once you've found that it can recover your files, you can upgrade for $49.95, which is quite a good price for what this software can get done. Try it out, and you might find the photo you thought you'd never see again or the video you deleted and wished you'd never have to see again.

Either way, iBeesoft Data Recovery did a great job of finding lots of deleted files in our testing, and it should do the same for you.

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Google Can Now Deliver Prints Of Your Best Photos Monthly

Google Photos is a fantastic tool for organizing your collection of pictures in a way that makes them easy to browse. However, Google is about to push Google Photos even more heavily into the physical photo space.

On The Keyword, Google announced a new initiative called the premium print series to take Google Photos to another level. Now, Google will actually send you prints of your photos automatically each month for one fairly low price.

What Is Google Photos Premium Print Series?

Google announced that you'll get 10 high-quality photo prints delivered to your home each month for $6.99 plus tax.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to choose photos and print them, so that's nothing new. What makes this new initiative from Google so cool is that you don't actually choose the photos. Instead, the premium print series uses machine learning to suggest 10 recent photos to print.

You can choose to edit the photos before they ship, add a matte or glossy finish, or choose to skip a month if you don't want any photos. You can even get your images on postcards.

All in all, it sounds like a rather interesting idea, since you might end up printing photos you would otherwise miss.

When Does Google Photos Premium Print Series Launch?

Google says that the premium print series will begin rolling out later in October, so you won't have to wait too long to try it if it seems like something intriguing to you.

If you prefer traditional printing methods, Google also announced that it offers 4x6, 5x7, or 8x10 photo prints through Google Photos for same-day pickup at Walgreens.

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Acer Announces First Chromebook With Snapdragon 7c Compute Platform

On Acer.com, the company announced its Chromebook Spin 513 and Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513, and they both feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c platform. In fact, they are the first laptops with Chrome OS to include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c chips.

These are some ultra-light and thin laptops that feature incredible battery life. They look like solid devices at a reasonable price, though they don't come with processing speed that will blow you away.

What Are the Chromebook Spin 513 Features?

The Chromebook Spin 513's main selling point is the processor. The Snapdragon 7c is certainly not the fastest processor on the market. However, what it gives up in speed (it's actually Qualcomm's slowest laptop chip), it makes up for with its long battery life. Acer claims this Chromebook will get around 14 hours of juice on a single charge.

Along with that chip, Acer also included 8 GB RAM and up to 128 GB of internal storage. That's fairly standard for a midrange laptop, so it's what we'd expect to see on the Chromebook Spin 513.

It features a 13.3-inch full HD IPS touchscreen display with a comfortable design that can be used as a tablet when the need presents itself. Acer touted the device's thin bezel around that screen, citing the devices 78 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Another nice thing about the Chromebook Spin 513 is how light it is. The laptop tips the scales at only 2.64 pounds, which means it should be comfortable to carry around in a bag for long days out and about. It's also 0.61 inches thick, which is quite thin for a laptop.

Acer has included optional 4G LTE connectivity on both the consumer Chromebook Spin 513 and the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513. It also comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO technology for those times when Wi-Fi is readily available.

The laptops feature USB Type-C ports and a USB 3.2 Type-A port for those devices that don't support USB-C yet.

For the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513, the specs and features are unchanged. Still, many business-focused things are added, such as comprehensive security features, update controls, app configuration, and other features that IT departments will use in an enterprise setting.

When Will the Chromebook Spin 513 Launch?

Acer announced that the Chromebook Spin 513 will launch in North America in February 2021, starting at $399.99. Before that, however, it will launch in EMEA in January 2021, starting at €429.

The company also announced that the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513 is set to launch in EMEA in February 2021, starting at €699. It will then go on sale in March 2021 starting at $699.99 in North America.