Google Releases its Google Fit App for iOS Devices

Image Source: Google

Google wants to help its users become more health conscious through exercise. That’s why the company has introduced its Google Fit app to a wider audience, this time bringing it to iOS devices. Launched last year, Google Fit’s mission stands to help change lives for the better, helping more and more people become active, get better sleep, and improve their mental health.

The app essentially keeps track of two goals: Move Minutes and Heart Points. Move Minutes logs your daily movement through walking or other motion activities. Heart Points can be earned through more intense movement from activities such as biking, running, and hiking.

The app keeps in mind the American Heart Association and World Health Organization’s weekly recommendations on exercise which consists of 150 minutes – or 2.5 hours – of “moderately intense” physical activity or 75 minutes of “vigorous aerobic activity”.

Google Fit can be paired to function with the Apple Watch and works with Apple Health as well. The application is now available in the App Store.

6 Security Tips to Keep in Mind When Using Device Apps

Nowadays, data breaches are happening more and more frequently, and an app you’ve once entrusted to keep your data and privacy safe can put your information at risk of being stolen through malicious hackers using security exploits, or through the developers’ means of using a third-party application to harvest your data. As you download your favorite applications from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store, you’ll want to keep these security tips in mind:

  1. Using a password manager can help keep your accounts secure

Password manager applications are there to assist us when there are many accounts to keep track of. Often times, users rely upon using the same passwords which puts them at risk during massive data breaches. Easy-to-guess passwords like “Password” and “123456” are still among the top worst choices for users’ accounts, and slightly changing passwords to include a symbol or number is not always the best line of defense against hackers guessing your codes.

Using a password that is created by a random string of numbers and letters is assuredly a strong way of protecting your accounts. However, remembering these passwords comes as another issue at hand.

To help store your passwords in a secure and encrypted space, users can take advantage of password manager apps.

  1. Use a VPN when you use public WiFi

A virtual private network (VPN) can help keep your data secure when on public WiFi. VPNs can secure transactions and keep users anonymous when on the internet, ultimately masking any data transmissions.

When looking for a VPN provider via an app store, make certain you read the app’s data collection policies.

  1. Be aware of what permissions you grant to applications

Users should always be wary of what information apps ask to gain access to, such as contacts lists, location, and photos. A good form of practice is to always question an app’s request for certain permissions. For instance, if a note-keeping application asks for photo access, users should question the app’s motives in harvesting photo data.

It is also important to take note of any unusual behavior after certain application downloads. If your battery life performance drops or you notice your phone acting slower than usual, the malicious app could be collecting data in the background.

  1. Do your research on specific applications you want to download

Before you decide to download an app onto your phone, another good practice is to search the application on Google and see if it was involved in any recent data breaches or scams.

If previously involved in a data breach, take note of the way a company/developer handles the occurrence. A developer should take extreme precautionary measures to make certain this does not affect its users again, while also making sure the app’s security is heightened after a breach has already happened.

  1. Keep your phone’s software updated

Often times, OS updates are released to patch any device vulnerabilities that may allow hackers to access your data via malicious application downloads. By updating your device regularly, you can reduce the risk of hackers using data exploits to their advantage.

  1. Download legitimate applications from a trustworthy source, such as Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store

Most applications found within Apple’s and Google’s stores “meet a standard quality of data protection and [are]…required to produce a dedicated privacy policy [to]…protect your data,” says Stephen Hart in an interview with CNET.

It is better to avoid any untrustworthy sources outside of reputable app stores, as a user runs the risk of downloading an app that may contain a virus onto their device.

Can Working Out Really Get You Cryptocoins?

What if we were to tell you that there is an iPhone app that will give you cryptocoins in exchange for walking 1000 outdoor steps? Do you think you’d get out and walk the dog a bit more often? Maybe go on a run? An app called Sweatcoin has risen to the top of the App Store charts since they launched in 2017. For every 1000 steps you take, you’re awarded coins that can be exchanged for goods or services.

More than 5 million users have accumulated on the app in the past year and revenues increased by 266% in the last quarter alone. Not only does the app gain 2 million active weekly users, but it’s still continuing the grow making it one of the fastest-growing fitness apps in the App Store. As of this week, it’s #2 in the Free Apps section with the Google Arts & Culture app beating it out in the first place.

How the Sweatcoin App Works:

By signing up for the app, you agree to connect your health and fitness data and your GPS. Once connected, the app tracks how many steps you take in a day and rewards you with monetary “sweat” value, according to your movements. For every 1,000 steps recorded, the app will pay out .95 in “sweatcoins”. Users can later trade these coins in for fitness gear, workout classes, gift cards, and a number of other offerings. While it tracks all of your steps, the only valid steps are the ones taken outside (monitored by GPS).

While I’m mentioning the pros, I should talk about the downsides. The free version that you signed up with will only give you a maximum of five coins a day. However, there is a way to get more coins, but you’re going to have to fork over some of those sweatcoins to get you in the upper tiers. These tiers allow a higher level of steps per day, getting you to your reward much quicker.

It was mentioned in this article that the startup has now raised its own coin to the tune of $5.7 million in seed funding from Goodwater Capital. This led to the round Greylock, which participated in Discovery Fund, Rubylight, Seedcamp and SmartHub, as well as a number of angels, including Justin Kan and Rain Lohmus.

While the overall concept is fabulous, there are some complaints on the app as stated in this article, such as, “The biggest downside for me was feeling like Sweatcoin’s behavioral engineering cheapened important experiences. When I used the app, instead of concentrating on the friends I was walking with, I kept checking to see how close I was to be able to redeem my sweatcoins for that Fitbit. No trinket or gift card is worth that distraction.”

Co-founder Anton Derlyatka also told TechCrunch he’d like to “even include the ability to pay taxes with sweatcoin” in the future. Another co-founder Oleg Fomenko also mentioned plans to develop an “open-source blockchain DLT technology that will allow Sweatcoin to be traded like any other major crypto- or fiat currency.”

“It’s a tool, a hack, to help all of us, not just the select few, to remain fit,” said Oleg Fomenko.

If you’re interested in the app you can download it on either iOS or on Google Play and start earning your sweat equity today.

Meet Charlie, your (free) new meeting assistant

Have you ever spent a significant amount of time researching exactly who you’ll be speaking with at your next big meeting? Perhaps you Googled them or maybe even combed through Facebook or LinkedIn for hours with little to no avail. If this is you, Charlie might just be your answer. Charlie, a newly designed website/iOS app, may save you from face-palming at your next meeting while you think “I should’ve known that.” By helping you stay well informed, you’re sure to make a killer impression at the next meeting.charlie-logo-blue-on-transparent-vertical-e3de7fb52c2ac77d20b52dd9a435c410c39f9943672d905441dc08574d4eedea

Acting as your personal assistant, Charlie syncs with your Google Calendar and researches fellow meeting members on your behalf. This minimally invasive searching technique doesn’t dig too deep but provides you with key information such as who they are, what company they work for, if they’ve been in the news recently, and anything you might need to congratulate them on. The information that Charlie provides is the same info that you would find yourself if you had searched them on the web, but Charlie’s goal is to save you a few hours and provide it all in one place.

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Pictured above is Charlie’s free iOS app. This gives you access to Briefs, LinkedIn profiles, Twitter, Companies, etc.

 

By syncing your calendar to your account, your meetings are logged ahead of time and Charlie is able to do his research and email you key information before you’re set to walk in. Mimicking a true personal assistant, Charlie is able to provide you information (names, news, and even analytics) either through the app or via email.Capture1

Capture We gave Charlie a try and were very impressed by what he could do. If you’ve got a meeting coming up that you plan on crushing, you might want to bring on a new handy dandy helper (for free!). You’ll be sure begin building that professional relationship and leave a lasting impression on those you meet.

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Apple Music may be changing the music game

After twelve years of iTunes dominating the music purchasing world, it may have to settle for second best come June 30th. Going against what Steve Jobs had refused to believe in regards to music streaming, Apple is answering to the growing demand for all-you-can-access music. In August, Apple paid $3 billion to buy headphone maker Beats and Beats Music, a $10/month subscription service to unlimited music. The reveal of ‘Apple Music’ was the most talked about announcement at Apple’s Keynote developer’s conference yesterday in San Francisco.

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Apple Music as shown at Keynote Developer’s Conference on June 8th, 2015.

 

In an April 2003 press release, Apple’s late-CEO, Steve Jobs said, “Consumers don’t want to be treated like criminals, and artists don’t want their valuable work stolen.” For this reason, iTunes was able to satisfy the needs of both the artist and consumer by pricing each individual song at 99 cents, eventually raising the price to $1.29. In 2013, realizing that they needed to move with the times, Apple launched iTunes Radio in hopes of attracting the Pandora radio listeners. As an option, iTunes featured a “Buy Now” button if the listener wished to purchase a song. The response to iTunes Radio was not as hot as Apple had hoped and the demand for song downloads fell, two factors that played a significant role in the purchase of Beats Music. With the writing on the wall, digital downloads no longer make sense for the consumer that wants an instant connection anywhere he/she goes.

Beats Music is known for its impeccable ability to recommend songs and playlists. Currently, it’s most well-known feature is on its homepage – In what seems to be a music version of the game Mad Libs, you can fill out ‘the Sentence’ with key information including who you’re with, where you are, and what genre of music you’d like to listen to. With this, it is said to create and suggest a personalized playlist based off of your mood.

Beats Music was competing with 6 other top online streaming sites before the acquisition in August 2014: Pandora and Spotify take the lead while SoundCloud, Rhapsody, Rdio, and Jay-Z’s Tidal follow behind. Before Apple unveiled its plans to purchase the online streaming site, Beats Music saw a drop in unique visitors while Pandora and Spotify seemed to flourish. Although Apple is stepping into the game late, they sit on a huge stockpile of cash (As of March 2015, $193.5 billion) and that gives them an incredible advantage. Pandora and Spotify are still trying to figure out ways to become profitable, and as long as Apple continues to prosper with their hardware sales, operating Apple Music as a subscription service shouldn’t do any harm. In fact, with Beats Music’s unique set of qualities and Apple’s name backing them, it is expected to shoot them back up to the top – perhaps even changing the music business in its entirety. If Apple is able to convert even a fraction of iTunes listeners into Apple Music monthly subscribers, it would lead the number of worldwide music subscribers into the 100 Million range, which then serves as a turning point for streaming music to be looked at as a sustainable business model. Apple also has over 800 million payment relationships with current Apple ID users, which will work in their favor when Apple Music launches.

Since the purchase of Beats Music, iTunes and Beats have remained separate entities. Aside from promoting Beats Music through the app store and Beats Headphones/Speakers in Apple Stores, the two have not really joined paths. Apple’s announcement solidified the disintegration of Beat’s Music’s solo-identity. By embedding Beats Music into the current Music app as was announced, Beats Music features will automatically come with iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macs. Apple Music is also expected to have a streaming radio station, Beats 1, that will be hosted by high-profile DJ’s.

Apple has always had a knack for inducing ‘ah-ha’ moments in consumers and helping them realize the benefits of each new piece of technology that they release. I anticipate a Beats/Apple Music resurgence with help from the $700 billion entity.  Throughout the years, Apple has earned a reputation for revolutionizing ideas that have already been introduced, a feat that is formidable for most other companies.  Beats Music via Apple looks like it will be a welcome change to the world of music.