Play Store adds new badge to signal which Android VPN apps pass a security audit

To give users more peace of mind and show that it’s taking concerns about Android cybersecurity seriously, Google’s rolling out an Independent Security Review badge to highlight which Android VPN apps have gone through an independent security audit. 

Last year, the App Defense Alliance, a collaboration between Google, ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium launched in 2019 to solve the Play Store’s persistent malware problem, introduced the Mobile Application Security Assessment (MASA) audit. This process enables software developers to have their apps independently validated against a global security standard as a way to signal to users that what they’re downloading on their phones has been designed to meet industry mobile security and privacy minimum best practices. The logic is that if developers go the extra mile on their end to mitigate security vulnerabilities and users can make more informed decisions prior to downloading new apps, hackers will have a harder time breaking into users’ devices, thus improving the app quality across the ecosystem as a whole if you have one of the best Android phones.

Apps that receive a badge have successfully undergone a MASA audit. To maintain the badge year over year, app developers will need to undergo another independent audit annually. 

“While certification to baseline security standards does not imply that a product is free of vulnerabilities, the badge associated with these validated apps helps users see at-a-glance that a developer has prioritized security and privacy practices and committed to user safety,” Nataliya Stanetsky of the Android Security and Privacy Team said in a Google Security Blog post this week.

Now when you search for the best VPN apps in the Play Store, you should see a banner at the top that points you to the Data Safety Section to better understand what the new badge means. If you click

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WPP slashes outlook again as China slowdown adds to tech woes

Branding signage is seen for WPP, the world's biggest advertising and marketing company, at their offices in London

Branding signage for WPP, the largest global advertising and public relations agency at their offices in London, Britain, July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

  • WPP cuts full-year forecast for second quarter in a row
  • Expects growth of 0.5-1.0, down from 1.5-3.0%
  • Tech companies reluctant to spend, GroupM slows sharply
  • Shares fall as much as 5% to three-year low

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Ad group WPP (WPP.L) cut its outlook for the second time in as many quarters on Thursday as tech clients continued to cut back on marketing, growth slowed sharply at its media buying agency GroupM and China disappointed.

The British company, whose agencies include Ogilvy, said it now expected like-for-like growth for 2023 of 0.5-1.0%, down from the 1.5-3.0% it forecast in August and the up to 5% it expected earlier in the year.

“Our top-line performance in Q3 was below our expectations and continued to be impacted by the cautious spending trends we saw in Q2, particularly across technology clients with more impact from this felt in GroupM over the summer than the first half,” CEO Mark Read said.

WPP’s like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs fell 0.6% in the quarter while the market had expected 1.0% growth.

The performance trailed rivals Interpublic, which reported a 0.4% decrease, Omnicom, which recorded 3.3% growth, and Publicis, the strongest of the big four, with 5.3% growth.

Read noted that Meta, which published results on Wednesday, had reduced marketing spend by 24%.

“Technology companies (…) are looking very carefully at their marketing expenses,” he said in an interview. “But I do think in the long run that will correct itself.”

Its shares fell as much as 5% to a three-year low.

Read said it was also a tougher quarter in China, where consumer spending had not returned

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OnePlus OxygenOS 13.1 rollout adds cellular sharing, app switching, and more

What you need to know

  • OnePlus rolls out another OTA update for OxygenOS 13.1, which activates several new features.
  • Users can access “Auto Connect,” which creates a seamless experience across a user’s OnePlus phone and Pad.
  • App Relay Playing function allows users to begin a show or document on their phone and then transfer it to their tablet without interruption.
  • OnePlus phones can also share their cellular connection with other devices.

OnePlus is beginning the rollout of another update for its OxygenOS 13.1 software for its tablet and line of phones.

OnePlus is rolling out an over-the-air (OTA) update for OxygenOS 13.1 for the OnePlus 8T up to the OnePlus 11 and 11R. This software update will bring a few notable features beginning with “Auto Connect.” The Chinese OEM states the Auto Connect feature will create a “seamless connection” between a consumer’s OnePlus devices. 

This feature allows users to utilize cross-screen functions for notifications and to easily copy and paste information from their phone to their Pad and vice-versa. The company informs that the OnePlus Pad launched with this ability pre-installed.

Bluetooth, quick connect, and auto connect must be enabled on both devices to access this convenient feature. OnePlus states users can head into Settings > Connection Settings to ensure these connection options are enabled.

The new App Relay Playing function is OnePlus’ “innovative” feature which plays on their devices’ multi-screen connection capabilities, essentially enabling a screencast on another device. For example, opening a supported app (such as TikTok) on their phone will display a phone icon atop the same app on their OnePlus Pad. That user could then tap it and resume what they were doing on their tablet without interruption.

OnePlus Pad review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

OnePlus states this function extends to writing up documents, watching TV

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YouTube for Android/Google TV adds more Assistant commands

Besides the upcoming addition of unskippable and pause screen ads, the YouTube app on Android and Google TV in Q1 2023 gained support for more Assistant voice commands.

Existing Google Assistant voice commands already let you play/resume, pause/stop, fast-forward, rewind, go to the next/last video, restart a clip, and turn off closed captions on YouTube for Android TV.

You can now like/dislike a video and un/subscribe to channels with “Hey Google, like this video, dislike this video, subscribe, or unsubscribe.”

YouTube for TVs has also added the Podcasts topic that was first introduced on the web. It’s located in the More tab at first but “will move higher up in the menu if you more frequently watch Podcast content.” It includes various carousels like “Your new episodes” and “Your saved shows” from YouTube Music and the main service. There are also various recommendations, popular episodes, and various genres.

Meanwhile, YouTube is now surfacing Shorts content in search results, and Google has made the recommended shelf more responsive:

This means that as you scroll through the shelf, it’ll keep refreshing recommendations so that there’s new videos for you to choose from!


  • You can more easily switch between accounts when watching YouTube on TV, thus making for easy family sharing! This way, everyone in a household can access YouTube from the same device, without having to sign-out and sign-in each time.”
  • You can also use the account switcher to directly switch into your child’s profile in the YouTube Kids app on a smart TV, streaming device, or game console. Previously you had to navigate to the YouTube Kids app icon on your TV to launch the app, so we hope you find this new experience easier!”

More on YouTube:

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Google Authenticator Update Finally Adds This Much Needed Feature On Android And iOS

hero google authenticator update

Google provides a long-awaited and much-needed update to its Authenticator app as the company says we are moving to a passwordless future. The update, available on both Android and iOS, allows users to safely backup one-time codes (OTPs) to a Google account.

Most everyone nowadays uses added layers of security when it comes to signing into personal accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter. One of the more common methods is using a two-factor authentication (2FA) app like Google Authenticator. In the past, however, it has been a source of contention for many when dealing with lost or stolen devices that had the app installed on them. One-time codes were stored on a single device, which meant if you lost that device, you lost the ability to sign in to any service that was setup to use 2FA using Authenticator. Well, until now that is.

google authenticator app

The latest update from Google solves the problem by allowing one-time codes to be stored in a user’s Google Account instead of on a single device, as some other authenticator apps have done. This means that even if a device is lost, stolen, or sold to someone else, users can still retain access to those codes.

If you have never used Google Authenticator and would like to add 2FA security to your accounts, you can start by downloading the app via the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.

How To Transfer One Time Codes

For those who have used the Authenticator app and would like to transfer Authenticator codes to a new device, you can do so manually as follows:

  • On your new device, install the Google Authenticator app. 
  • In the Google Authenticator app, tap Get Started. 
  • At the bottom, tap import existing accounts? 
  • On your old device, create a QR code. 
  • On your new
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