The Week in Mobile: July 26-August 1, 2015


Google Search gets new location-based feature, Facebook reports mobile growth, Android security flaw dubbed “heartbleed for mobile” and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Google Search Cards are now capable of telling users how busy businesses and public places are at specific times. The information, which is pulled up when a user searches for a location, is broken down hour-by-hour and by day of the week. Built using the same anonymized Android location data Google uses to estimate traffic, the new search functionality is meant to help users avoid long lines and over-crowded locations. The system leverages Android adoption to provide those users with a more integrated experience.

Google is also adding functionality for searches conducted within its app store. Google Play will now feature search ads following an initial beta-launch in February in which a select group of customers were able to test the functionality. App developers will be able to pay for sponsored search results, which opens up a new avenue for mobile monetization for Google. In addition, Google will measure when users first open an app after clicking on an ad and installing an app. If Google can show apps are actually being used after they are downloaded from sponsored ads, the company will be able to make even more money from this ad model.

In Other Google News: Google+ Gives Up on Becoming Next Big Social Network

Google launched Google+ four years ago with the goal of creating a social network on par with platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But, last week, the company announced that users will no longer need a Google+ account to engage with others on Google products, a decision that essentially takes Google+ out of the running for leading social network. Now, any Google email or account will grant access to Google products.

Facebook Reports Mobile Growth

Last week Facebook reported growth in mobile ad revenue and mobile users. Up from last quarter, Facebook reported that 76 percent of its ad revenue comes from mobile ads. And that’s huge considering Facebook had no mobile ad revenue in 2012 when the company first went public. The company also reported more than 1.31 billion users visiting Facebook from a mobile device each month. That’s 23 percent more monthly mobile visits than the same time last year.

Android Security Flaw Dubbed “Heartbleed for Mobile”

A new security flaw affecting a part of the Android operating system called Stagefright, a media playback tool, has been discovered. The security flaw, which has been dubbed the “Heartbleed for mobile,” allows maliciously crafted videos to deliver a program which will run on the mobile device as soon as it is processed by Stagefright. And because Google’s messaging app, Hangouts, pre-processes videos, a breach could take place before users even receive a notification for the message. There have been no reports of Android devices affected by the security flaw yet. Hearteningly, Google is aware of the flaw and is pushing out patches.

Amazon Dash Button Now Available to All Prime Members

Amazon’s Dash Button, which was announced in April and rolled out to select test group, is now available for all Amazon Prime members. The Wi-Fi enabled controller communicates with the Amazon app, allowing users to order products with the push of a button. Available to Prime members for $5 each, the one-touch order buttons can be purchased for a number of products including laundry detergent, paper towels and food.