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Google Is Planning to Offer Checking Accounts in Partnership With Banks

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Google is increasingly involved in more areas of its users’ lives. It’s where we turn every day for answers to pretty much everything from simple questions to complicated research. It’s where we get our email, store our photos, manage our calendars, and manage our files. It’s already the most dominant mobile operating system, and it now makes smart home devices. With its purchase of Fitbit, it’s clear Google also wants to dominate wearable technology.

Or, said another way, Google is everywhere.

Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a new project called Cache that involves offering checking accounts. Yes, Google wants to be your bank.

Well, more specifically, Google plans to partner with banks to offer its customers access to banking products like checking accounts. In this case, accounts would be offered by Citigroup, as well as a credit union at Stanford University, and those financial institutions would provide all of the financial services and account management.

Google would provide the convenience, along with loyalty rewards. For example, users would access their accounts through Google Pay, much like Apple’s users access its branded credit card through Apple Pay.

 

Speaking of which, with recent moves by other tech companies into the personal finance space, it was probably inevitable that Google would follow suit. Apple recently introduced its own credit card with Goldman Sachs, and Facebook has announced its plans to launch a digital currency called Libra. It might be worth mentioning that both of those have come under intense scrutiny, with New York regulators launching an investigation into Apple Card for discriminating on the basis of gender when extending credit limits.

I actually think this is less a deviation for Google than it might seem. In fact, as TechCrunch pointed out, by providing users with checking accounts, “Google obviously stands to gain a lot of valuable information and insight on customer behavior with access to their checking account, which for many is a good picture of overall day-to-day financial life.”

It’s helpful to remember that for all the useful services Google provides, the company is, at its core, an advertising platform. That is the underlying business model that makes it huge amounts of money, and it’s the driving force behind every product or service it offers.

And while Google hasn’t suffered the same level of scandal as the next-largest advertising platform, Facebook, the strategy is the same–monetize people’s personal information.

Of course, that lack of scandal is reflected in the fact that consumers say they are more likely to trust Google with their financial information than some of its competitors. Only Amazon was rated higher in a McKinsey & Company survey included in the Journal’s report. Fifty-eight percent of consumers said they would trust Google for financial products.

The Journal also reports that Google won’t sell financial information to advertisers, which is great, but that doesn’t mean it won’t use that information to target specific advertising at customers based on their income or spending habits — which is really the only reason Google would get into financial products in the first place.

It’s also the only thing you need to know when considering whether this is a good idea. I’m not sure any amount of “loyalty program” or convenience can make up for the cost of having even more of your personal information monetized.

Jason AtenWriter and business coach

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Google is planning to launch consumer checking accounts next year in partnership with Citigroup and Stanford University, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Wednesday (Nov. 13). Code-named Cache, the accounts will be handled by Citigroup and a credit union at Stanford University. The branding will reflect the financial institutions and not Google. “Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system,” Google VP of Product Management Caesar Sengupta told WSJ. “It may be the slightly longer path, but it’s more sustainable.”

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New Google Android Warning As Malicious Apps Hit 300 Million Play Store Users

Malicious Google Android apps seem to be hitting the Play Store increasing rapidly at the moment–or at least, reports of them are. This was the thinking behind ESET security researcher Lukas Stefanko’s report detailing the harmful apps on Google Play that hit the news in September.

The results are far from pretty: Stefanko’s analysis shows that 172 harmful apps with over 335 million installs were found on Google’s Play Store, according to various news reports written during the month. Of course, the installs would have taken place over a longer period than just the month of September.

In August, I reported that a dangerous spyware app had hit the Play Store twice. It came after Trend Micro researchers reported adware containing apps had been downloaded 8 million times.

Meanwhile, among reports in September, Forbes contributor Zak Doffman wrote how two apps with over 500 million downloads were revealed to contain dangerous adware.

And Adware was the top attack vector, with 48 apps that had over 300 million installs in total.  Subscription scams were another area of concern, with 15 apps found and 20 million installs. That was followed by apps containing hidden ads, with 14.5 million installs across 57 apps.

Google Play: Out of control?

So, is the number of malicious apps increasing, or are security researchers and as a result, journalists reporting them more? It is difficult to say but one thing is clear: Many people, including Android users, are worried that the Google Play Store is getting out of control.

This data highlights the problem that Google faces, says security researcher Sean Wright. “Unfortunately, this issue only seems to be getting worse. It would be interesting to see if Google has any plan in place to try tackle the problem.”

With multiple players involved in the Android ecosystem, coupled with Google’s less than stringent app store policies–at least compared to Apple–it’s really down to users to assess what’s safe and what’s not.

It’s certainly not ideal, but there are some best practices you can follow. As well as ensuring your operating system is as up to date as possible, you should use anti-virus and read app reviews.

Wright advises: “Only install apps that you are going to use. Pay close attention to details such as required permissions. If you are installing a flashlight app and it is asking for permissions to read your contacts, this should serve as an immediate red flag.”

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I’m a freelance cybersecurity journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting on the issues impacting users, businesses and the public sector. My interests within cybersecurity include critical national infrastructure, cyber warfare, application security and data misuse. I’m a keen advocate for women in security and strive to raise awareness of the gender imbalance through my writing.

Source: New Google Android Warning As Malicious Apps Hit 300 Million Play Store Users

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Subscribe: https://bit.ly/2x9BOFg Blog: https://channelworldnews.blogspot.com Android warning: Stay clear of these Google Play Store apps which stalk youANDROID fans have been put on alert and warned about several malicious apps found on the Google Play Store which stalk users.Android fans are being warned to stay clear of a number of apps found on the Google Play Store which stalk users of the Google mobile OS.Android is the most poplar pieces of software in the world, with it used by more than two billion people each month.However Android users are no strangers to security alerts, with some recent widespread threats being circulated via apps found on the Goole Play Store.Six Android apps that were downloaded a staggering 90million times from the Google Play Store were found to have been loaded with the PreAMo malware.While another recent threat saw 50 malware-filled apps on the Google Play Store infect over 30million Android devices.And now Android users are being warned once again about a security threat spread through the Google Play Store.Security experts at Avast have discovered seven apps on the Google Play Store that were loaded with stalkerware.This is a malicious form of software that stalks users and other people.These apps in total were downloaded more than 130,000 times, with the most popular one along being installed more than 50,000 times.The Android apps all have the capacity to collect information on users without their consent.Data collected by the stalking apps include call logs, contact information, as well as the location of the victim and text messages, according to an Avast blog post.The apps can also reportedly intercept WhatsApp and Viber messages on rooted devices.Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Avast’s head of mobile threat intelligence and security, said: “These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people’s privacy and shouldn’t be on the Google Play Store.“They promote criminal behaviour, and can be abused by employers, stalkers or abusive partners to spy on their victims.“We classify such apps as stalkerware, and

How Google’s Work With Motorbike Riders In India Demonstrates Its Plan For Emerging Markets

India is the world’s largest market for motorbikes, with two-wheelers making up 70% of all vehicles registered by its 1.3 billion residents. It’s these motorbike drivers, more so than car owners, that Google needs to please as it competes for mindshare in this emerging market. So when user research showed that motorbikers in India didn’t find Maps useful, a team in Google’s Seattle office was tasked with figuring out how to change it.

A dive into the data revealed that motorbike drivers would only open the app for about 30 seconds and then close it. The team of product experts hypothesized that drivers needed more guidance on their route, so they spun up a prototype that would provide more in-ride prompts. But when they tested it with users in Jaipur, the largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the prototype flopped.

The trials and errors to make Maps work better in India were a wake-up call, says Lauren Celenza, lead designer on Google’s two-wheeler project. As Google aims to reach more users in emerging markets like India, South East Asia, Africa and Latin America, the company needed to better integrate user research with product design.

“Opening up of the process beyond the walls of our offices is a playbook that we’re looking to for future projects,” Celenza says.

After actually spending time in India talking to people, the product team realized that the exact opposite of their initial assumption was true: Motorbike drivers didn’t want to look at or listen to their phones at all as they navigated the crowded and often chaotic roads. Instead, they wanted clearer guidance before starting out.

That initial design process highlights the too common tech industry hubris wherein companies launch tools for people far away without proper preparation or understanding of regional wants, needs or cultural differences. At its most anodyne, this approach leads to unpopular products. But it can also fuel real-world crises, like fake news and hate-speech going viral in Myanmar because Facebook didn’t have enough Burmese-speaking moderators.

The Google Maps team on the project ended up building a “two-wheeler mode” with customized routes for motorbikes that simplifies the maps and highlights landmarks to make it easier for drivers to understand and memorize the way before starting out. Since that product launched about a year and a half ago, its usage has grown from one million daily users to 5 million, and Google has launched the feature in more than a dozen new markets.

Two-wheeler mode falls under the domain of what Google calls its “Next Billion Users” initiative to reach users in emerging markets, either by launching new products or adapting old ones. For example, Google launched data-light and offline versions of Search, YouTube and Maps, and created an India-specific payments service called Tez.

At Google’s I/O developers conference last week, the company announced several other features geared at emerging markets. For example, it will start allowing people to pay for Android apps using cash and demoed an automatic text-to-speech service that will initially launch in Google’s Go app for entry-level devices.

“We need to do a lot more work to make sure our technologies and our services actually work really well for these users, including designing the right products for their unique needs,” Caesar Sengupta, vice president of Google’s Next Billion Users group, tells Forbes. “The amount of work we have left to do is still huge.”

In the past year, Google has faced a handful of controversies about how it cooperates with foreign governments. In August, the Intercept reported that the company was working on a version of its search engine in China that would comply with the country’s strict censorship laws. U.S. politicians, human rights activists and Google employees criticized the project, describing it as a tool for oppression and a slap in the face of Internet freedom. Google eventually told Congress in December that it has “no plans” to launch a search engine in China.

This spring, Google (and Apple) received widespread criticism for offering a Saudi Arabian smartphone app that allows husbands to track their wives. The country’s “male guardianship system,” which requires women to obtain male approval for certain actions, makes tracking legal, and Google said it would not remove the app.

Sengupta, who reportedly had a leadership role in the Dragonfly project, said that the company is “really engaged” in debates about the services it provides.

“The world is evolving fast,” he said. “We need to be constantly looking at what we’re doing and what are the right ways to be doing something.”

Contact this reporter at jdonfro [at] forbes.com. Have a more sensitive tip? Reach Jillian via encrypted messaging app Signal at 978.660.6302 using a non-work phone or contact Forbes anonymously via SecureDrop (instructions here: https://www.forbes.com/tips/#6ebc8a4f226a).

I’m a San Francisco-based staff writer for Forbes reporting on Google and the rest of the Alphabet universe, as well as artificial intelligence more broadly.

Source: How Google’s Work With Motorbike Riders In India Demonstrates Its Plan For Emerging Markets

Google Confirms It Will Automatically Delete Your Data — What You Need To Know

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Ahead of the annual Google I/O developer festival opening its doors on Tuesday, Google has already made one major announcement: it will soon start deleting your data automatically.

Writing in the official Google safety and security blog, David Monsees and Marlo McGriff, the product managers for Google search and maps respectively, say that the company is responding to user feedback asking to make managing data privacy and security simpler. “You can already use your Google Account to access simple on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity,” they say, “and if you choose, to delete all or part of that data manually.” What’s new is the soon to be rolled out “auto-delete controls” that will enable users to set time limits on how long Google can save your data.

Said to be arriving within weeks, the new controls will apply to location history as well as web and app activity data to start with. Users will be able to choose a time limit of between three and 18 months after which the data concerned will automatically delete on a rolling basis. You can already delete this data manually if you want, but the ability to have it deleted automatically is long overdue in my never humble opinion. Especially given reports last year that suggested Google was storing location data even when users had turned off location history and considering the somewhat arduous manual deletion process.

Not that everyone will want to delete this data of course. As with most things online these days it comes down to a choice between privacy and function. Actually, make that a balance between the two as it’s rare for anyone to be totally binary when it comes to such matters truth be told. Google says that this data “can make Google products more useful for you, like recommending a restaurant that you might enjoy, or helping you pick up where you left off on a previous search.” If you are of the don’t store any of my location data thank you very much persuasion, then disabling location history altogether would seem like a better option given that some mobile apps can track location data when they aren’t running. For everyone else, the new auto-deletion controls will be a welcome weapon in the “taking back control of at least some of your data” arsenal.

Keep checking the Data & Personalization section of your Google account settings, specifically the “Manage your activity controls” option I would imagine, to see if the function has rolled out for you in the coming weeks.

Please follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn, you can find more of my stories at happygeek.com

I have been covering the information security beat for three decades and Contributing Editor at PC Pro Magazine since the first issue way back in 1994.

Source: Google Confirms It Will Automatically Delete Your Data — What You Need To Know

French regulator orders Google to take measures on advertising — peoples trust toronto

http://bit.ly/2RqgIqZ January 31, 2019 PARIS (Reuters) – France’s competition regulator has ordered Google to take measures regarding some of its advertising methods, saying these had hit French firm Amadeus which runs a directory service in France. “Google will need to quickly clarify the rules for its Google Ads online advertising platform that apply to electronic […]

via French regulator orders Google to take measures on advertising — peoples trust toronto

Four Fake Cryptocurrency Wallets Found on Google Play Store – Ana Alexandre

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Malware researcher Lukas Stefanko has found four fake cryptocurrency wallets on the Google Play Store that were trying to steal users’ personal data, according to a blog post published Nov. 13. The apps were posing as cryptocurrency wallets for NEO, Tether and an extension for accessing Ethereum (ETH), MetaMask. They were purportedly designed to phish users’ mobile banking credentials and credit card information. Stefanko classified the wallets into two groups, wherein the fake MetaMask app was a “phishing wallet” and the other three apps were “fake wallets………

Read more: https://cointelegraph.com/news/four-fake-cryptocurrency-wallets-found-on-google-play-store

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What Oil at $100 a Barrel Would Mean for the Global Economy – Enda Curran & Michelle Jamrisko

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Rising oil prices are prompting forecasts of a return to $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, creating both winners and losers in the world economy. Exporters of the fuel would enjoy bumper returns, giving a fillip to companies and government coffers. By contrast, consuming nations would bear the cost at the pump, potentially fanning inflation and hurting demand. The good news is that Bloomberg Economics found that oil at $100 would mean less for global growth in 2018 than it did after the 2011 spike. That’s partly because economies are less reliant on energy and because the shale revolution…..

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-30/what-oil-at-100-a-barrel-would-mean-for-the-world-economy

 

 

 

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Google is Not Just An Answer Machine It Monitors Your Responses Too – Ed Finn & Andrew Maynard

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In 1998, began humbly, formally incorporated in a Menlo Park garage, providing search results from a server housed in Lego bricks. It had a straightforward goal: make the poorly indexed World Wide Web accessible to humans. Its success was based on an algorithm that analyzed the linking structure of the internet itself to evaluate what web pages are most reputable and useful. But founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page had a much more ambitious goal: They wanted to organize the world’s information. Twenty years later, they have built a company going far beyond even that lofty goal……

Read more: https://www.business-standard.com/article/technology/google-is-not-just-an-answer-machine-it-monitors-your-responses-too-118092700143_1.html

 

 

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Google And Goldman Back Bitcoin Startup For Small Businesses – Michael del Castillo

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Marwan Forzely has come a long way since his days at Western Union. The serial entrepreneur, who sold his previous company to Western Union to help the money-transfer giant directly connect to customer bank accounts, has raised $25 million to cut intermediary banks out of the payment process altogether.Instead of relying on a series of correspondents to move money between different jurisdictions around the world, Marwan’s latest venture, Veem, uses bitcoin to directly connect its clients’ bank accounts with suppliers and customers…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2018/09/26/google-and-goldman-back-bitcoin-startup-for-small-businesses/#539a7ad546d9

 

 

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Why Google Fiber Is High-Speed Internet’s Most Successful Failure – Blair Levin & Larry Downes

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In 2010, Google rocked the $60 billion broadband industry by announcing plans to deploy fiber-based home internet service, offering connections up to a gigabit per second — 100 times faster than average speeds at the time. Google Fiber, as the effort was named, entered the access market intending to prove the business case for ultra-high-speed internet. After deploying to six metro areas in six years, however, company management announced in late 2016 that it was “pausing” future deployments……

Read more: https://hbr.org/2018/09/why-google-fiber-is-high-speed-internets-most-successful-failure

 

 

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