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AppDate: One to rule them all

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Google One, JET8’s latest partnership, Ourhood, the new Zulzi app and ES File Explorer.

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Google One

There is OneDrive, DropBox, iCloud and Google Drive, to name a few cloud storage services. All of these come with their own advantages and disadvantages and every one has its own app. So remembering where you saved a document can turn out to be a nightmare – and then there is the password issue.

The Google One app aims to simplify this by allowing you to save everything in one place. Besides offering loads of storage space, Google One allows you to manage storage plans according to needs. For instance, Google Drive data, Gmail and original-quality photos and videos in Google Photos can all be accessed directly from the app. 

In addition, Google has a team of experts who can be accessed directly from the app and are ready to help with any of Google’s other services.

Once signed up as a Google One member, one can access benefits like Google Play credit and discounts on hotel pricing.

In addition, Google One can be shared with up to five friends, allowing them to access the storage at no extra cost.

Google One offers 100GB of storage for R28 per month, 200GB for R42 per month and 2TB for R141 per month.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: The app is a free download, but monthly billing depends on your storage needs

Stockists: Sign up for a Google One account here 

 

JET 8 partners with Soccer Laduma

 

JET8 has partnered with the biggest soccer publication in Africa, Soccer Laduma. The Soccer Laduma App runs off JET8’s Social Commerce Technology. Soccer Laduma readers will be able to create content and earn JETPoints when they share this content on social media platforms. They can use the JETPoints in the Soccer Laduma App’s shop to redeem products like Kick-Off and Soccer Laduma.

JET8’s user data exchange programme facilitates the transaction between a user and third parties where a user can opt-in if they want anyone to purchase their personal data directly from them.

As an added bonus, the Soccer Laduma app allows soccer fans to create branded content and customise their photos and videos with branded Geo-stickers and Geo-frames, and earn points (‘JETPoints’) for every in-app like, comment, and share, as well as for cross-posting onto external social networks.

Platform: Android or a computer with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Google play store here for downloading instructions

 

OurHood

Image result for ourhood app
OurHood
is an app that connects communities via real-time communication with verified neighbours. It is used not only to unite communities in their fight against crime but, thanks to its interactive interface inspired by common social media feeds, also eradicates reams of unnecessary WhatsApp chatter across community forum platforms. It offers features like Community Policing Forums and Home Owner Association material, minutes and updates, classified adverts for local services and recommendations – from lost pets to restaurant deals – and pertinent community-specific insights and education. All are offered users via both mobile and desktop-enabled applications. 

To date, the app connects over 1 300 neighbourhoods across the country and has attracted an equity investment from Lightswitch Solutions, a Cape Town based software development house. The investment from Lightswitch Solutions will ensure ongoing development, updates and improvements of the OurHood app. 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Google Play and the AppStore  for downloading instructions

 

Zulzi

 

Online shopping is nothing new. Thousands of apps let you buy anything from houses to alcohol. However, the newly relaunched Zulzi app allows you to get fresh local produce, organics, meat, dairy, eggs, drinks, snacks, bulk items, diapers, snacks, and fresh flowers – kind of like a supermarket shopping app.

Zulzi claims it is the largest on-demand delivery service in the country. However, that is rather hard to believe, considering it only delivers in Johannesburg and Cape Town and only to certain suburbs.

However, users are able to choose from over 150 retailers, including Woolworths, Spar, Pick n Pay, Dis-chem and Clicks.

Additional features include:

* Delivery in as little as 1 hour

* Reorder items from previous purchases

* Chat directly with your personal shopper

* Tag favourite items for easier shopping

 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit Zulzi website here for registration

ES File Explorer 

Image result for es file explorer 

ES File Explorer includes a space analyser that scans an Android device to help free up space. It does this by finding temporary Internet files, cookies and any other unnecessary files that get installed by apps. Don’t worry though, you have the option to manually go through the files and select the ones you want removed. But after using it for a few weeks I found that the “Delete All” option works best.

In addition, users can effortlessly share media over Wi-Fi. The app also includes an app manager that allows one to uninstall apps or backup any information stored by the apps before removing them. 

For the power user, ES File Explorer offers a Root Explorer feature that lets you get down into the nitty-gritty of the phone’s operating system. However, a word of warning: if you don’t know what you are doing, stay away from this feature, otherwise your phone may just become a very expensive paperweight.

One negative is that the app brings up adverts all the time, with some of them using up most of the screen space. 

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download the app here

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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