Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Cambridge Analytica leak a “breach of trust” with users, taken to court over data storage, Snapchat’s new feature turns Snap Map into a next-gen newsfeed, Singtel to link mobile wallets across Asia and much more.
After days of silence, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded to the controversy over the 2014 leak of private Facebook user data to a firm that went on to do political consulting work for the Donald Trump campaign in 2016.
Cambridge Analytica got the data by paying a psychology professor, Aleksandr Kogan, to create a Facebook personality quiz that harvested data not only about its own users but also about users’ friends. Kogan amassed data from around 50 million users and turned it over to Cambridge.
Zuckerberg says that when Facebook learned about this transfer in 2015, it got Kogan and Cambridge to certify that they had deleted the data. But media reports this weekend suggested that Cambridge had lied and retained the data throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.
A US citizen is taking Cambridge Analytica to court to get access to data he says it holds on him.
Prof David Carroll filed his legal challenge on the same day Facebook announced it had banned the company from its network.
He also wants Cambridge Analytica to disclose how it came up with the psychographic profile it had on him.
Legal experts believe the case could set a precedent for how such companies collect data.
Snapchat may still be getting a lot of heat for their redesign, but the company is continuing to devote resources to build out Snap Map, the map-based feature it introduced last year.
A new feature called Map Explore will let you thumb through Snap Map updates in a more methodical way, so that you can see where your friends are and where they’re traveling. These statuses are generated by your friends’ movements rather than them physically typing out something on their own. Snap Map is importantly an opt-in feature, so if you’re understandably creeped out by the privacy implications, carry on.
The feature, first noted by The Verge, is furthering Snapchat’s idea of a map-based feed in Snap Map, but Map Explore integrates some more conventional UI elements and notifications to call users’ attention to items of interest that might otherwise get lost in the expanse. It’s just a start, but it’s definitely a necessary move.
Google made a splash earlier this week with a new Assistant-powered shopping initiative seemingly aimed at chipping away at Amazon’s dominance, and now it has a new target in its sights: Venmo.
Starting today, you’ll be able to use your iPhone or Android phone to send money to anyone in your contact list just by asking Google Assistant. Like the Google Express shopping service, you’ll need to have Google Pay installed and set up, but once you go through the process—either through the app or by following Assistant’s guided setup—you’ll be able to send any amount of money just by saying, “OK Google, send Brad $100 for dinner.”
Google also says the service will be coming to Google Home and other Assistant-powered speakers in the coming months.
Singtel expects the service to launch mid-2018 in 20,000 points in Singapore and Thailand.
Travellers with Singtel’s mobile wallets could soon continue to use their home wallet app to make payments when overseas.
Singtel will link its mobile wallets across different ecosystems through an interoperable platform. It will begin with the mobile wallets of the company and its regional associates through the first commercial launch between Singtel and AIS, it said in an announcement.
“This will be the first time that different mobile wallets across different markets are connected to offer seamless cross-border payments at physical merchants,” Singtel said, “The initiative to expand the Group’s mobile wallet services underscores the continued commitment of Singtel and its regional associates to enhance the mobile payments experience for customers.”
Ads can be annoying, especially on mobile. But, according to research IAB UK the main source of annoyance for consumers using mobile is not the ads themselves, but the fact that a lot of them aren’t optimised for the format.
12,000 UK adults were asked about their feelings towards mobile advertising, and the vast majority of them are in favour of ads in order to keep online content free. 84% prefer ads to paying for an ad-free experience.
“A sustainable future is about making the experience work for everyone in the digital ecosystem, most importantly, people,” said Tim Elkington, Chief Digital Officer at IAB UK.
When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone more than 140 years ago, he probably didn’t envision a world where he would be able to send self-destructing photos of himself with a flower garland in his hair. Or, indeed, a time when phones could measure blood pressure, scan fingerprints or alter the way we see realities entirely.
Yet thanks to the development of smartphones these things are all possible.
With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), the internet of things (IoT) and smart cities – all powered by the glittering promise of 5G – the opportunities for mobile manufacturers, operators and brands are greater than ever.
However, as smartphone sales growth declines for the first time, brands are having to push boundaries and innovate at a far faster rate to keep consumers interested. Never has that innovation been more evident than at this year’s Mobile World Congress.
Mexico’s landmark wholesale national mobile network launched this week, but without a single major wireless carrier on board, renewing debate about how best to boost competition in the telecom sector dominated by billionaire Carlos Slim.
On Wednesday, President Enrique Pena Nieto and other officials gathered for the official launch of the so-called Red Compartida (shared network) – a wholesale-only project written into the nation’s 2013-14 telecoms reform.
The government says the network will cut the costs of developing infrastructure for carriers, particularly in rural areas with poor coverage, and make it easier for new players to enter the market.
Data firms App Annie and IDC have released a joint report (Gaming Spotlight, 2017 Review) pointing to the increasing weight of mobile gaming, co-op games and the Asia-Pacific region in 2017.
Direct spending on mobile games went through the roof last year, exceeding spending on consoles (both home consoles and handhelds) and PC/Mac combined by more than one third. Danielle Levitas, SVP of research at App Annie, explained: “Mobile gaming’s lead widened globally in 2017; mobile game spending was 2.3x PC gaming and 3.6x game consoles last year. With billions of mobile devices in the world, apps are the mass market gaming platform for casual and serious gamers, enabling them to play whenever and wherever they want to.”