“You can get up to $500 if you ever owned a first-gen Google Pixel - Digital Trends” plus 2 more

“You can get up to $500 if you ever owned a first-gen Google Pixel - Digital Trends” plus 2 more

You can get up to $500 if you ever owned a first-gen Google Pixel - Digital Trends

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 12:49 PM PDT

If you had an original Google Pixel phone, you could be eligible to file for a $500 claim.

A lawsuit against Google reached a $7.25 million settlement in May. The class-action lawsuit made by a California law firm focused on the devices' defective microphones and alleged that Google did not fix the problem with replacement phones, despite Google admitting to the fault in March 2017. In the past, Google said that the issue affected less than 1% of Pixel phones.

The claims website is now open to people who bought an original Pixel or Pixel XL in the U.S. that was manufactured before January 4, 2017. Those who did not receive a replacement phone manufactured after January 3, 2017, or refurbished after June 5, 2017, are eligible to file a claim.

Pixel owners could get up to $500 if multiple defective devices were purchased. Those who experienced the defect on a single phone will get $350. In addition, Pixel users who paid an insurance deductible to receive a replacement device will be refunded in the amount of the deductible. All first-generation Pixel owners who purchased the phone before the specified dates — even if they did not experience a defect — are entitled to $20.

The deadline to file a claim is October 7. Payments will only be made after the court approves the settlement, which would happen at the next hearing on December 6. Users can expect payments to be distributed within three months of court approval.

Since the original Pixel, Google has come out with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3. The Pixel 4 is set to debut later this year with updated features like a better display screen, two camera sensors, and new gesture-recognition technology.

Pixel users also experienced an issue with the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL variants, which came out in May. Shortly after the release, Pixel users were complaining that their phones were randomly shutting down.

The defective original Pixel devices described in the lawsuit had what Google described as a "hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec," which caused significant microphone and speaker issues.

Digital Trends reached out to Google about the settlement, but the company had no comment.

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Using Google Trends for Ecommerce - Practical Ecommerce

Posted: 23 Jul 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Consumers who search on Google are expressing a need. Data from those searches is powerful for marketers.

Google's Keyword Planner provides statistics on searches, such as "estimated search volume." While that metric is helpful, it's also imprecise.

Rather than focusing on specific terms, ecommerce merchants can benefit from monitoring broad search trends, such as seasonality. Many products are seasonal, after all.

Here's an example. Sun dresses are common summer apparel. Shoppers become interested in sun dresses as soon as February in the Northern Hemisphere. Thus search optimizers should start focusing on sun dress products and categories at least in January.

Obtaining the Data

Google Trends reports the relative popularity of search terms across languages and regions. It's helpful for identifying when, say, consumers start thinking about sun dresses. While it may have once been on Google's roadmap, an official Google Trends API isn't available. I tried a couple of unofficial APIs but didn't succeed in getting a scalable dataset.

So the easiest way to obtain data from Google Trends is to scan (or scrape) it right in the Trends website or via .csv export.

While manually entering each keyword may not be quick, you can speed up your research by choosing keywords selectively. Many terms in Google Trends simply don't report data. Presumably they aren't popular enough. So scrub your list to popular head terms.

In my experience, even if you search long-tail phrases, Google Trends usually shows the same type of trend line as the head term. For example, "red sundress" does chart. But it follows the same seasonal trend as "sun dress" with the incline starting in February.

Google Trends data for the U.S. shows that interest in red sun dresses starts early in the calendar year. The download arrow is on the right. <em>Click image to enlarge.</em>

Google Trends data for the U.S. shows that interest in red sun dresses starts early in the calendar year. The download arrow is on the right. Click image to enlarge.

The long-tail term of "red sun dress" closely follows the head term of "sun dress," as shown above. Click image to enlarge.

The long-tail term of "red sun dress" closely follows the head term of "sun dress," as shown above. Click image to enlarge.


Download the data by clicking the small down arrow icon, as shown in the screenshots above.

The export is basic. Charting the data in a spreadsheet can provide a similar line graph as seen in the Google Trends website.

Charting the data in a spreadsheet can provide a similar line graph as seen in the Google Trends website.

Charting the data in a spreadsheet can provide a similar line graph as seen in the Google Trends website. Click image to enlarge.

Remember, the data is not estimated search counts; it's a relative score of popularity — broad, directional information. I can't stress that enough.

Applying the Data

Using Google Trends data at least once a year will provide a calendar of sorts for promoting products — sun dresses in February, for example.

Most ecommerce websites are so large that you can't optimize every product or category without hiring a large team. Thus analyzing other metrics could be helpful, such as:

  • Historical sales. While consumers might be interested, does your site sell sun dresses in February? Validate with historical data.
  • Margin. Focus on the most profitable items. Work your way down to the least profitable.
  • Estimated search volume. A product with a higher search volume may produce more sales.

In my experience, merchandisers are always surprised by Google Trends data. Partnering with merchandisers can help them understand what products mean the most to the business, extending the data beyond SEO.

Android Warning: Devious Malware Found Inside 34 Apps Already Installed By 100M+ Users - Forbes

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 02:13 AM PDT

A malicious "clicker trojan" has been detected and reported by security researchers, who have warned that the malware has now been bundled with 34 different Google Play apps and installed more than 100 million times. The Android.Click.312.origin trojan, as well as its modified Android.Click.313.origin variant, is just the latest in a procession of malware to come to light in recent weeks, designed to generate fraudulent click-through and subscription revenue for its developers.

In their disclosure, the security researchers at Doctor Web reported that the malware has been built into "ordinary applications, such as dictionaries, online maps, audio players, barcode scanners, and other software," all of which appear to function normally and are designed to prevent any user suspicions being aroused. Worse, the malware "only starts its malicious activity eight hours after launch," making it even less likely that a victim will suspect the app is harmful and working fraudulently in the background.

This theme of developing or supply-chain compromising genuine apps that feel and work as users would expect, while peddling harm in the background, is an increasing trend. A list of the infected apps found so far can be found here.

Doctor Web's researchers reported that applications with Android.Click.312.origin embedded "were installed by over 51.7 million users," while "at least 50 million people" installed apps hiding Android.Click.313.origin." "Thus," they say, "the total number of mobile device owners threatened by this trojan, exceeded 101.7 million."

When the malware does start to ply its trade, it first sends a range of device and user information to its command and control server—information relating to the device identifier and location and the mobile carrier. This enables the C&C server to return settings for the malware to use in framing its attack—including apps being used on the device. The malware can also direct traffic to fraudulent premium subscription services, and the researchers reported some users being "automatically subscribed to expensive content provider services" by the trojan.

Android malware stories are coming weekly now, and last month alone tens of millions of fraudulent apps were downloaded from the Play Store. Most of those fraudulent downloads were ad-fraud, with the most dangerous intended to promote fraudulent subscriptions.

Google is continually improving its defences against the abuse of its platform, but developers of such malware are working just as hard to keep a few steps ahead. Google Play Protect is designed to guard against app vulnerabilities and, in 2018, Google "detected and removed malicious developers faster, and stopped more malicious apps from entering the Google Play Store than ever before. The number of rejected app submissions increased by more than 55%, and we increased app suspensions by more than 66%."

But malware-laced apps and nuisance scam apps are not being caught by the measures in place. And that puts the onus on users to take care. As I've said before, "there's no substitute for common sense and treating apps from unknown sources as potential threats."

Also, again just in the last week, we have seen Facebook take legal action against developers for ad-fraud apps downloaded from Google Play and even a warning from Google itself than tens of millions of Android devices are being bought new with dangerous malware factory-installed.

The victims here are the users with infected devices as well as the organizations paying for ghost ads and click-throughs. And the problem is undoubtedly getting worse, the malware more sophisticated and prevalent. While the usual warnings still apply to users, the bigger message now is to the industry of developers and to the app platforms to improve efforts to keep the ecosystem safer than it is at the moment. Supply chains are being successfully compromised, and users are being put in a position where they don't know who to trust. That is seriously damaging for the industry as a whole.

In this instance, a number of the infected apps reported by Doctor Web have been removed from the Play Store, while others have been cleansed of their malicious code. Another battle won, but the war is arguably being lost.


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