Following news last week that Android devices track and store your location, two women are suing Google for $50 million and trying to force Google to stop selling devices with the tracking software. The class action lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, Michigan.
Google admitted to collecting some anonymized information from people who opt-in to using GPS, but the plaintiffs, Julie Brown and Kayla Molaski, don’t like it and don’t approve. In the complaint, their lawyer says Android users are “at serous risk of privacy invasions, including stalking,” the Detroit News reported.
The owners of South Korea’s largest search engines have filed complaints against Google with the country’s Fair Trade Commission, alleging that local phone carriers and manufacturers were banned from embedding their search applications on mobile devices running on Google’s Android operating system.
The two companies alleging anti-competitive behavior are NHN Corp., operator of Naver, South Korea’s most popular search engine, and Daum Communications Corp. Google has a 20 percent mobile market share in South Korea, despite only having 2 percent market share of desktop search (Naver and Daum’s search engines account for about 90 percent of desktop searches combined).
Mastercard and Citigroup are teaming with Google to further Google’s mobile payment ambitions using near-field communication technology on Android phones.
With the deal, Google is looking to boost its local advertising business and “offer retailers more data about their customers and help them target ads and discount offers to mobile-device users near their stores,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.
This move is aimed at making paid search more attractive to advertisers, especially local advertisers, by demonstrating ROI in addition to analytics, a topic which Michael Boland wrote about in depth last month in “Mobile Payments: The Next Battleground for Google, Apple.”
Google yesterday acquired German software company Zynamics, a company that specializes in reverse-engineering and analysis tools. Seems like the acquisition came just in time, because only a few hours later, 21 free apps were pulled from the Android Marketplace due to malware.
Google later confirmed the acquisition:
“We’re delighted to have the zynamics team aboard and hope their tools and skills in fighting malware will help us better protect Google’s users…The zynamics team will continue to develop innovative ways of applying their software analysis tools to protect users from malicious software. Their goals overlap with the commitment that Google has already made to ensure online security for our users.”
Android smart phone owners have been waiting for the Gingerbread, the latest operating system upgrade. Android 2.3 is deploying now and gives users new interface features and better application and power management features. What it won’t have is the ability to load contact information for Facebook friends.
In previous versions, users could pull friend contact information from the Facebook application settings. Google claims they have removed that functionality because Facebook’s data is only available by the API connection and is not truly exportable to the device.
We already have seen video of the new music app. However, the latest stories have Google tying their iTunes competitor with the launch of Android Honeycomb, the 3.0 release of Google’s mobile operating system. However, the Honeycomb launch event was two weeks ago and there was nothing in the festivities about a music search.
Android advertising revenue could potentially generate $1 billion for Google next year. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Android generated $5.90 per user in mobile advertising in 2010, and that number is expected to jump to $9.85 in 2012, aided in part by in-app advertising from the Android Market app store.
Here’s the breakdown via Fortune:
For the fourth quarter of 2010, 32.9 million Android-based smartphones were sold worldwide, beating 31 million in sales of devices running on Nokia’s Symbian platform. However, Nokia remains the top global smartphone vendor, with a share of 28 percent, according to Canalys.
The amazing number in here is year-over-year growth: 615.1 percent from Q4 2009 to 2010, thanks in part to strong performance by vendors LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC. Meanwhile, Nokia’s share was devoured, falling from 44.4 percent in Q4 2009 to 30.6 percent in Q4 2010.
Sony has announced plans to bring classic PlayStation 1 games to Android phones and tablets before the end of 2011. Users will be able to download the classic games via a new PlayStation Store, which is part of Sony’s PlayStation Suite mobile gaming platform.
No titles have yet been announced, but Engadget posted a pic from the conference where the new PlayStation Suite and PSP2 were announced showing five games (platform game “MediEvil,” third-person shooter “Syphon Filter,” snowboarding game “Cool Boarders 2,” racing game “Rally Cross,” and RPG “Wild Arms”).
One requirement: You must have Android 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) or higher.
U.S. market share for Android smartphones eclipsed Apple smartphones for the first time as of Nov. 30, 2010 — 26 percent vs. 25 percent — according to ClickZ (from comScore data). Experts expect iPhone’s sales to increase as Verizon boasts 93 million subscribers.
“A lot of people who bought Android phones were buying it in lieu of an iPhone because they couldn’t get one on the Verizon network” Charlie Wolf, a Needham & Co. analyst in New York, told Bloomberg.