Google’s “Web Integrity” Android API could kill “alternative” media clients

A man laughs at his smartphone while a cartoon characters peaks over his shoulder.
Enlarge / The little Android robot is watching everything you do.

Google is killing off its proposal for “Web Environment Integrity API” as a new web standard, though Android phones may still have to deal with it. According to Google’s proposal document, the primary goal of the project was to “allow web servers to evaluate the authenticity of the device and honest representation of the software stack”—basically Google wanted a DRM gatekeeper for the web. The project got widespread coverage in July and was widely panned.

The ominously vague plan was to allow web browsers to detect if your computer was “modified” in a way that the webpage didn’t like. Presumably, this could be anything from a rooted/jailbroken phone to having an undesirable plug-in (read: ad blockers) installed. When you tried to access some protected content, a browser supporting the Web Integrity API would first contact a third-party “environment attestation” server, and your computer would have to pass some kind of test. After having your local environment uh… scanned? passing environments receive a signed “IntegrityToken” that points to the content you wanted unlocked. You would bring this back to the web server and would finally get the content unlocked.

Google’s proposal did not go over well. The explainer was full of conflicting information about just how invasive it wanted to be and what its goals were. Google pinky-promised it wasn’t meant to “enforce or interfere with browser functionality, including plugins and extensions”—this is a vague reference to ad blockers—but also the proposal’s very first example had to do with more accurately measuring ad impressions. Even more alarming was that this wasn’t a discussion—Google never publicized the feature for any kind of feedback, and the company was already actively prototyping the feature in Chrome before the Internet really found out

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Marketers Won’t Invest in X Alternative Without Witnessing Benefits

  • The social media landscape is increasingly fragmented due to new and upcoming platforms like Threads and Mastodon.
  • So, what do marketers think of trying out new social media platforms?
  • Capterra’s recent Social Media Landscape Survey tried to find the answer.

The social media landscape is heating up, with multiple platforms like Threads entering the scene and competing for user acquisition. Simultaneously, the landscape is getting increasingly fragmented. In this scenario, marketers need to navigate various platforms and decide on the right one that can help them optimize their budgets and gain more user attention.

So, what do marketers think about trying various social media platforms for professional use, especially new entrants like Threads? Capterra’s Social Media Landscape Survey tried to find out the answer.

Here are a few insights from the study and what to look for when considering new platforms.

See more: How To Build a Profitable Social Media Marketing Funnel

Marketers Adopt Multiple Strategies To Invest in Social Platforms

In the world of social media, where audiences go, companies and marketers usually follow. With users spread across platforms, marketers have adopted different strategies to allocate their social media budgets. Regarding how their companies allocate budgets and resources to social media platforms, 53% of marketers said they allocated resources fairly evenly across multiple platforms. On the other hand, 47% focused a significant proportion of their budgets on one or two main platforms.

The decision to allocate resources on multiple or a selected few platforms depends on several factors, such as goals, platform dynamics and features, and available resources.

Important features of social media platforms when it comes to marketing

The most important features of social media platforms when it comes to marketing

Source: Capterra’s 2023 Social Media Landscape SurveyOpens a new window

That said, there are pros and cons associated with each approach.

Pros and cons of allocating resources

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Looking for a Google Maps Alternative? This Android Auto App Will Soon Get New Features

Google Maps and Waze dominate the navigation world on Android and Android Auto, but the search for alternatives is a never-ending struggle due to bugs appearing occasionally.
OsmAnd on Android Auto
10 photos

Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/OsmAnd

OsmAnd is a top choice, using the OpenStreetMap (OSM) map database for accurate directions and up-to-date information.

A new version scheduled to launch this month will boast a long list of improvements, including Android Auto refinements that’ll make the app an even better alternative to the like of Google Maps.

Let’s start with the Android Auto improvements.

The OsmAnd development team says engineers have been working on making the interface more straightforward, and the first menu getting a facelift offers faster access to favorites, tracks, and POI categories. Version 4.5 will include a new start screen that’ll bring all these items under the same roof.

As a result, OsmAnd will no longer display favorites, tracks, and POI categories separately, eventually making the interface more organized. Users who save their favorites and settings on the device will be allowed to upload the data to OsmAnd Cloud. However, this feature will be exclusive to mobile devices – you can still make changes on Android Auto but can’t upload the data directly from the dashboard screen.

The new version will also include 3D relief support for Terrain maps and an option to announce deviation from the route. The new feature should make it easier to follow an active route and notice suggested deviations, especially when the application finds faster routes to the destination.

The upcoming update will include additional refinements for widgets, pedestrian routing, and track management.

Users who want to stick with Google Maps on Android and Android Auto must know of a glitch that breaks down alternate routes. Due to a glitch introduced in a recent app update, Google

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Jack Dorsey-backed Twitter alternative Bluesky hits Android

Looking to leave the Twitter ecosystem? Bluesky, the Twitter alternative backed by Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, has now rolled out to Android users. The app, which promises a future of decentralized social networking and choose-your-own algorithms, initially launched to iOS users in late February and remains in a closed beta.

The exclusivity is driving demand for the newer social network to some extent, but so is having Dorsey’s name attached. For many, Bluesky represents the hope of a Twitter do-over — where the core concepts around short-form posts and a shared timeline remain, but the problems around moderation and centralized control are addressed.

Bluesky aims to give users algorithmic choice, letting them eventually choose from a marketplace of algorithms that let them control what they see on their own feed, instead of having it controlled by some central authority.

At launch, however, Bluesky remains a pared-down version of Twitter without many of the features that make the social network what it is today, including basic tools for tracking likes or bookmarks, editing tweets, quote-tweeting, DM’s, using hashtags and more. It’s also building in decentralization with its own protocol — the AT Protocol — instead of contributing to the existing work around ActivityPub, the protocol powering the open source Twitter alternative Mastodon and a range of other decentralized apps in the wider “Fediverse” — the name for these interconnected servers running open software used for web publishing.

Image Credits: Bluesky

That puts Bluesky on the outside of where a lot of the current activity is taking place around decentralized social networking.

Though Mastodon has been criticized for being overly complicated or having bad vibes, at times, the protocol behind it has inspired a wave of new development following Elon Musk’s chaotic Twitter takeover. Former Twitter

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