Facebook launches app that will pay Android users in India, US to monitor phone usage

After facing flak for using unethical and discreet ways of collecting user-information, Facebook has decided to pay Android users in India and the US just to monitor how they use their phones.

To fulfil this purpose, the social networking giant has launched a new app called Study which is available for download on Google’s Playstore for Android users aged 18 and above.

The app would not only monitor installed apps on a person’s phone but also observe the amount of time spent on those apps along with details like the users’ location and additional app data which could reveal other specific features being used, The Verge reported on Tuesday.

“When analysing data from this app, we reference other information Facebook has about you, such as your age, gender and you use Facebook Company Products. This allows us to learn more about how participants use different services,” the Study app description on Google Playstore reads.

The company says it would not see any specific content, including messages, passwords, and websites the users visit, the report said.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the social media giant was secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” Virtual Private Network (VPN) that was letting the company access user’s data.

It was also highlighted that, since 2016, Facebook was paying users aged 13 to 35 up to $20 per month, plus referral fees, to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android “Facebook Research” app.

Moreover, media reports also claimed that Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history pages.

However, the launch of Study shows that Facebook clearly feels that it still needs this data on how people are using their phones, and that the company has learnt a thing or two from the last controversy, the report added.

The company has so far not disclosed the amount of money it is planning to offer the participants, who are required to have a PayPal account for receiving payments.


Reliance Jio launches mobile browser for Android, promises fast speed, low data usage

Reliance Jio,Jio Web browser,Jio Mobile Browser

After Xiaomi, Reliance Jio has launched a standalone mobile browser for Android users in India. Called JioBrowser, Reliance’s new browser is promised to deliver faster speed and consume lesser data. The app supports up to eight Indian languages, for now.

Reliance JioBrowser: How to download and install

You can download Reliance JioBrowser from Google Play Store. The application is roughly 5MB in size and is compatible with phones running on Android 5.0 and above. The app has over 1,000,000+ installs with 4.4 average rating. Download link.

Reliance JioBrowser: Interface

Reliance Jio’s new mobile browser is not very different from other lightweight mobile browsers such as UC Web. While the application UI is smooth and easy-to-use, focus is rather on the content than browsing.

The home page features a Google News-like feed with content from different publications. Users can add more categories to the News Feed. The interface seems to be inspired by Google’s Material Design, which is certainly not a negative. It’s neat and easy to get started.

Reliance JioBrowser: Top features

Voice search: Reliance Jio has integrated Google’s voice search in its search bar. The searched content (audio) is saved to the registered Google account on your phone. Google Assistant is also available on Chrome and Xiaomi’s Mint browser.

External share: JioBrowser users can share web pages with friends on other applications. You need to tap on three dots menu on the right top corner > tap on share icon > choose the app you want to share with.

JioBrowser consumes lesser data while web browsing (Screenshot/Jio)

Privacy, security: Like any other mobile browser, JioBrowser allows you to browse the web in incognito mode. Under the Settings, users can also clear cache, browser cookies and web storage.

What’s missing on JioBrowser

Dark Mode: At the moment, JioBrowser does not support native Dark Mode feature. Dark Mode inverts the white theme into black or grey-tone to make the content more comfortable to eyes.

Multi-tasking: Since it’s a stripped down version of a main browser, don’t expect dynamic features like Read Mode or customise the window panels. Users, however, can increase the text size of the content within the application.


China’s Didi Launches Credit, Crowdfunding Services in Diversification Push

China's Didi Launches Credit, Crowdfunding Services in Diversification Push

China’s Didi Chuxing has launched a suite of financial products, including crowdfunding and lending, as it continues to diversify outside the ride-hailing business following a year of safety scandals.

The move comes on the heels of a company-wide reorganisation announced in December, which was aimed at improving safety on its platform as well as operating efficiency.

The new products were tested in 10 cities and have now been introduced nationwide, the firm said on Wednesday. They include wealth management, credit and lending and crowd-funding for critical illnesses, all aimed at short-term, temporary workers.

The products bring Didi into competition with investor Alibaba Group Holding and technology peer Tencent Holdings.

They also come as rivals including other Alibaba-backed firms have been making a renewed push in a ride-hailing market dominated by Didi, aiming to tap unmet demand brought about by regulatory change.

Didi itself is facing new rules and increased scrutiny from authorities after a series of high-profile safety incidents, including the murders of two female Didi passengers in separate cases.

As part of a subsequent national audit of ride-hailing firms, the Ministry of Transport said Didi was “out-of-control”, and pledged to tighten driver recruitment standards.

The firm is already short of drivers in major cities, since regulations in 2017 curbed the number of eligible applicants.

Didi, whose backers include US peer Uber Technologies, Apple, and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, is reshuffling its domestic business as it expands globally with new services in South America and Australia.