Know what Google is doing to its AdSense partners on a massive scale? They wait until your site has just under the earnings when they have to write you a check, then they terminate your AdSense account for “policy violations”.
I’m taking about AdSense sites that have been running for years with very little traffic, accumulating a few pennies a day.
They suspended a client of ours who was spending $40k a month on Google Ads with a two word explanation of “policy violations”, and steadfastly refused to explain any reason why. Our client was perfectly reputable, ran multi million dollar ad campaigns on television and radio, and was FDA approved.
When what Google has been getting away with finally comes to light... well, let’s hope it does come to light and they pay the consequences.
Both the App Store and Google Play stores I think are basically illegal monopolies. I should be able to install whatever app I want, without having to jailbreak my phone and deal with warranty nonsense from the manufacturer. Just like my computer, which I can also install whatever software I want on it.
Both the mandatory fees, and the review policy are terrible. Both Apple and Google could just as easily "recommend" an app as "safe and following best practices" rather than banning them from the app store. And still, many apps get through the nonsense, which has been real joy for scammers and possibly illegal money laundering:
I get that they want to protect their brand, but really, I think that horse is out of the barn.
Currently, I can go to the App Store, install any app, and be about 99.9% confident that the app will do me (or my technologically illiterate mother) absolutely no harm.
This is something I value highly, and am happy to pay the “Apple premium” for.
That's fine for you to want it, but don't impose it on me.
I want freedom and liberty to do what I want with the devices I own. I want to develop without fear that these two megacorps can shut me down on a whim for developing something against their ideology.
The web isn't like that. Windows wasn't like that.
Today we live in a Fischer-Price future land where everybody has to wear gloves because we might get burned. I hate what we've become. I want to go back to the world before smartphones and Apple and app stores. The open web. Before Facebook and Google became big brother surveillance operations.
Windows wasn't like that.
That's fine for you to want it, but don't impose it on me.
I (a power user!) sort of miss those days too. It's not like I ever had malware.
But in general, that wasn't working.
What do you think about compromises (like macOS, and Android) where non-blessed software is disabled by default, but can fairly easily be sideloaded?
If people don't get the opportunity to fuck up, you arrest their development. Stupid software users then becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Users will become dumber than they ever were before, and therefore more and more reliant on software developers to do/make everything for them. In my cynical moments, I suspect this is all intentional... Imagine if the fast food industry were throwing their weight around to promote the idea that children should be kept out of kitchens.
I believe the same is the case with limited control over technology. Most users do not care to learn, and would opt to actively avoid the opportunity to learn if the associated danger was removed for them.
In my opinion the best option is to remain in the current state by default and have a more obscure 'power user' option that could be enabled within the OS itself.
I mean, I do it for a living and I'm glad I know.
But I don't really know how bridges, or electric guitars, or cars, or genetic engineering, or oil paintings work.
It's awfully gatekeeper-y to insist that computers should be these totally wide-open, unsafe spaces.
I mean it's almost exactly like saying people should know how to rebuild an engine if they want to drive a car.
It's certainly good to know how to rebuild an engine, but surely many people should be able to use cars without knowing that...
As a further point, drivers are (with edge case exceptions) not kept away or locked down from performing any work on their vehicle, yet in most cases they would still prefer to pass the responsibility on to a trusted professional.
Recently, I fixed a number of small (non-drivetrain) things on my car and I wish I knew more.
- Network access
- Direct hardware access (such as games accessing the GPU)
- Sharing data to other software
- Consuming data from other software
As we've seen, we wind up needing to turn a bunch of these on for most software, and while it's certainly better than giving them carte blanche over the entire system, a handful of these permissions are enough to work some skullduggery.
Most software does not "need" network access, it just ends up being used for telemetry, serving ads, and checking for updates you probably don't need anyway.
> Direct hardware access (such as games accessing the GPU)
"Direct", meaning they need a context handle and some shared memory to get composited by the OS. Still, I'm honestly not sure why this isn't a solved problem today. Why are GPUs not virtualizable the way CPUs are?
> - Sharing data to other software
> - Consuming data from other software
Software can be grouped together and allowed to talk among eachother within a certain context without giving any given piece of it the ability to burn the world down.
You'll have a hard time convincing me that taking control away from users is a better solution.
I agree that users need full control. I also think a few decades of personal computing have shown us that the defaults should be pretty safe and therefore restrictive.
Users should have to jump through a hoop or two (perhaps as simple as `sudo enable-expert-mode` in a terminal, or some such) before being able to shoot themselves in the foot.
As a result, all users are imperiled.
I mean, even with an App Store, IE would have been pushed hard, just like Edge is now. And it still would have been a buggy mess, and people would have still been infected...
I can't believe I just defended Windows here...
I fixed hundreds, maybe thousands of machines infected with malware back in those days. Switching users to Firefox and a safe e-mail client nearly eliminated all of their issues.
Here's  over 1000 CVEs in Windows 10 alone, many of quite critical nature and not related to IE or OE.
Here's  another 1200+ for Windows 7.
Here's  741 for the "back in the day" Windows XP.
I wasn't a computer person back then. But I quickly learned about SMB file and printer sharing being wide open.
I think that's exactly what the vast majority of people advocating for sideloading are proposing. At least it's what I'd propose.
Android trivially lets you sideload apps downloaded from anywhere on the internet you wish. Apple not so much, but that's Apple.
The vast majority of customers want an app store with tighter controls, and both Google and Apple provide it. There are a hell of a lot more complaints about these app stores not being locked down enough than those in your camp saying that they don't want it locked down at all.
Tell that to the millions of people who installed Fornite mobile outside of any app store.
Most people don't care where their software comes from at all.
The reason there are complaints about the app store is because both Apple and Google are capricious and inconsistent with their application of their rules, and have no problem pretending their strict rules need to be enforced, but then allow apps that break their rules with adware or spyware on their app stores.
this got me thinking. how is that handled by a democratic system of government? with an independent judiciary, of course. we need an independent, third party App Court! we need a powerful organization that can referee and literally force Google and Apple to put an app back in their stores.
The vast majority of users are perfectly fine with the Windows experience of dodging fake download button ads, unticking bundled McAfee installs, having no automatic update mechanism, etc (which is still more or less the default even on Win10).
They only start caring when they can't do something they want to do. They rarely think about the "how".
Ignoring the windows store, this is really more of a "let developers handle their own updates" situation. The vast majority of modern windows software updates itself directly or through a loader (steam, etc). Windows developers can easily tie into distribution services that offer update mechanisms. The default user experience is not 'no automatic updates.'
Most people I've talked to don't even realize you can allow apps to be sideloaded on android. Most people don't even really look at their settings menu other than to change backgrounds and stuff.
I mean, at least on the latest phone I bought, I had to go to the build number, tap on it a bunch of times to get to the developer options, scroll down through a bunch of options that likely look terrifying to the average user until I found the option allow apps from outside sources.
When I tell people they can do this, or I tell them about f-droid or show them things on there, they tend to be kind of shocked that you can do that and usually want me to teach them how.
I've noticed a lot of people for the most part are kind.of scared to really dig into their devices without being told it's ok, but as soon as they know it's not going to destroy everything, they usually start trying to dig deeper.
The easy walled garden approach I find really stops people from wanting to learn more about what their devices can do and gives kind of a false sense of security, there's plenty of garbage and unsafe stuff in app stores and honestly, I use almost as much diligence downloading from there as I do from random places on the internet. A lot of people don't read reviews or bother even looking at permissions before the get something from the store and end up filling their phones with garbage anyway.
Customers choose from the options that have been marketed at them.
What the "vast majority of customers want" is a lazy, pessimistic, terrible way to invent the future. Where's your imagination and ambition for the way things could be? Have you forgotten that we have choices far beyond just "what Apple and Google give us" and "nothing"?
Do you think we would even have Apple and Google if everyone had your "take what the market gives you and like it" attitude?
Yeah, we get it, you're smart. I'm smart. Most people here are smart. But protections still matter.
What you're saying is I don't want to wear a seatbelt when driving my car. Sure that is your choice - but I think it is a very foolish one.
As others have said there may be more apt analogies...sticking with the car theme, it may be closer to a market where you buy a Ford and then you can only fill your Ford up with Ford gas from a Ford gas station.
That market doesn't exist for clear cut reasons, but if it did you can bet Ford and other car manufacturers would claim the same thing, that limiting Ford owners to using Ford gas is for their safety, if Ford owners started putting gas into their Ford from a 3rd party, there could be all kinds of harmful additives or other quality issues with the gas that will damage the Ford. Of course Ford won't mention on their tax to "Ford gas suppliers" (of 33%) for access to the Ford car market.
A company takes for granted that they are good actors, and that their customers' interests are perfectly aligned with their own. With those assertions, increasing their control can only mean a better ability to make things good/safe/simple for their customers.
But that is an authoritarian delusion. Because real difficulty arises out of cross-party emergent complexity - illegible and unmanageable by any single entity. And the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is blatantly obvious when you, as an individual actor, eventually end up at odds with whatever authoritarian scheme they've implemented - wishing to do something simple that you've personally judged as good/safe, but it's impossible to convince that centralized controller to understand / approve it.
In the real (multi-actor) world, we acknowledge that interests diverge on either side of a transaction. Someone who has bought a printer is then an individual participant in the ink market. Someone who buys a pocket computer wants that computer to act for their own interest - not for it to be beholden to the whims of the company who made it.
Unfortunately, always-on communication, the difficulty of reverse engineering, and overbearing copyright law have allowed these companies to double down on overarching control rather than allowing reasonable demarcation points. Apple could straightforwardly create an app sandbox that would allow running fully untrusted code with fine-grained capabilities, unilaterally design it to not have the vulnerabilities that the Web continues to have (eg fingerprinting), and allow sideloading after appropriate warnings. And lest you think I'm being partisan here, the same exact thing applies to Google's general insistence that sideloaded apps are less safe.
But it's much simpler and more lucrative to double down on authoritarian control until they're forced to create those demarc points, either by direct legislation or by consumer demand - eg if this recent censorship trend eventually pushes them to prohibit secure communication apps in their central stores.
Bad intentions are not necessary to build an authoritarian system. All it takes is enough good-intentioned people being unaware of the system they are building and their role in it.
As it relates to printers/cartridges unlike my car manufacture/gas hypothetical or the app store, I could potentially see certain IP (from patents to trade dress) rights that may actually help the printer companies argument (but again I think they backed down anyway).
I've been using a little multifunction brother laser printer and convinced my sister to do the same in college and those are the only printers I've used in a long while that don't give me issues.
The only other printers I used that never gave me issues were the high end laser printers at University.
You give complete access to a licensed dealer, that can be trialed, if abused.
Or you go to Brasil to pay 1/10th of the price and give them a copy of your password and address.
Something like that
If you want to stay with cars, it’s like Google saying when you buy their car, you are only allowed to go to 6 pre determined destinations in their vehicles.
Some people find comfort in the lack of choice, since they know the drive won’t be “dangerous”, but for the rest of us, we want to make the choice of destination ourselves.
We simply want the choice to open our options without these companies punishing the consumer over making a choice with a very expensive piece of hardware we own.
This scenario still doesn’t prevent Apple and Google from providing their tightly controlled closed garden of choices for those that want it that way, but for the rest of us, we get our freedom back.
It's more like, when you buy a car, you are only allowed to go to Google-approved destinations. You are allowed to submit a new destination for consideration, but ultimately google can decide if you are allowed to go there or not.
Almost noone buys a phone because it's super locked down and some company decides when it's too old and can't install apps from the app store anymore.
Average people don't care. If you tell 'em to do so or so, they will do.
here’s an article from 2016: https://9to5mac.com/2016/03/27/how-to-create-free-apple-deve...
In what world do I want a transit app listening to my microphone?
There isn't anything that precludes security in an app store-less world. If we sat for an hour, we could whiteboard a number of technical solutions that could be engineered.
- apps still require signing
- implementing a stricter permissions / ACL model
- continuously scan devices for malware or bad heuristical behavior
- publish a list of misbehaving apps that can be subscribed to and automatically scrubbed
- semantic sets of app permissions. Gallery apps don't get microphone, contact, or location data.
We could easily engineer for a distributed world. The problem is that Apple and Google want complete control. Playing gatekeeper gives them authority, and they get to take a large rake of any money being made.
Don't make excuses for their model. They're bad actors that have abused their monopoly powers.
Not at all. What he is saying is "I don't want my car to refuse to start if I am not wearing a seatbelt."
I don't think that is a good analogy in this case. It's more like he's trying to do a repair on his car, and he wants to be able to use some cheap parts sourced from elsewhere but the manufacturer has made it so only their parts will work. Sure, maybe the parts that don't come directly from the manufacturer will blow up my car, but I'd still have the freedom to choose than be locked down by some massive corporation because they say they're keeping me safe.
This is about personal freedom. Not wearing a seatbelt can put others at risk for injury liability. Installing an app will not do that. Let's stay on topic. And while we're at it, you and I both know that majority opinion has never been strongly correlated with truth.
Wow, I'm surprised that has never occurred to me before. I guess that to most people, such as myself, the trade-off is so obvious from a personal safety point of view that we don't think too deeply over it. This is a great point.
Ever seen a botnet?
* It's only imposed on you if you want an iPhone
* That said, I'm generally sympathetic to caveat emptor, as well as the idea that the provider of the OS should be spending gobs of resources on proactive protection against apps they don't even know are malicious yet. I also don't see why there can't just be a secondary app store where apps don't get the same level of scrutiny and that fact is made very, very explicit. Call it Caveat Appstore
The real problem is that Google’s been unable to either secure Android or prevent malicious apps from showing up even given their locked-down store.
* webapps -- we tried this (iPhone v1) and they were awful. The web keeps improving but apps have consistently been years ahead.
* native software -- still too difficult to secure reliably.
We haven't really been suffering from fragmentation. We've essentially consolidated down to two platforms. You can also develop for the web or use a cross-platform framework.
Not really sure what you see as flawed. The app model has been wildly successful.
Who imposes this onto you? I have a great idea for you if you dislike the App Store: Don't buy an Apple Device.
Turns out Apple doesn't owe you shit. Oh, also the same "get off my lawn" libertarian viewpoint of yours can be claimed by Apple. They might want the same liberty (to do as they like with their platform).
I recall Microsoft using that defense once upon a time.
IF you don't like Explorer or Netscape, don't buy a PC. Turns out Microsoft doesn't owe you shit.
However, it turns out Microsoft does owe consumers something, the Settlement is available for anyone who cares to know what that something is.
Like the fact that Microsoft had 90%+ desktop market share and was using it to shoe-horn an unrelated inferior product with powerful network effects into dominance.
Whereas Apple has no monopoly and in fact their overall smartphone market share is falling.
Let Apple compete how they want to compete, as long as there are viable competitors. Of which there are several.
To look at the smartphone market and how far it’s come in the last 10 years and decide this is a space which needs anti-competitive enforcement action from the FTC is abusing monopoly law to obtain a political outcome.
> Of which there are several.
I count one (Google). Who are the others in the smartphone space that are viable competitors to Apple in either company's home market (USA)?
I'm not sure "home markets" are really relevant for global entities like multinational companies.
Who are the viable competitors? It is Apple and Google/Android right? Everything else is the equivalent of Bing competing with Google Search. Keep in mind another MS defense was there is Mac and MacOS, we even build a IE for MacOS, therefore, we can't be a monopoly.
>To look at the smartphone market and how far it’s come in the last 10 years
Maybe there is a thriving competition in the smartphone OS market I am unaware of, but I thought maybe in the last 10 years the market went from MS, Blackberry, Apple, Google/Android...to more a consolidated market and effectively Apple and Google/Android.
The political outcome is interesting, I haven't heard that before, what exactly are the politics involved with wanting Apple to allow a 3rd party app store?
Or, how does the mobile OS vendor perform any kind of spam protection at all on push notifications if they have to open their notification gateways to absolutely anyone? (I'm not suggesting they're doing a great job of it now, but think about what happens when they lose the most effective stick - being kicked off the platform - that they have)
Apple already has extensive experience in this area with macOS.
> Or, how does the mobile OS vendor perform any kind of spam protection at all on push notifications if they have to open their notification gateways to absolutely anyone
Do they? They could just as easily require that apps outside the App Store provide their own push notification infrastructure.
You act like these things are impossible to overcome.
And you pretend like Apple isn't already earning money from this. Apple is already charging people for the iPhone. People keep saying they are a hardware company. Are they really?
macOS runs on platforms with persistent power and/or significantly larger batteries. The power drain caused by persistent connections is negligible given the size of the battery.
> Do they? They could just as easily require that apps outside the App Store provide their own push notification infrastructure.
This was one of two options - allow apps to manage their own push notifications (which requires apps to maintain persistent connections to external servers) or open up the gateways to anyone (which doesn't). I can't think of a third option, but I'm open to suggestions.
> You act like these things are impossible to overcome.
Nothing is impossible to overcome, but most things require trade-offs. In this case, I see the trade off being battery life vs spam (and that's only if you open up the platform, which is the other trade off - open vs closed platforms)
> People keep saying they are a hardware company. Are they really?
If you've paid attention to any apple earnings reports in the last 2 years, they themselves state they're trying to pivot towards services over hardware, specifically because the hardware market is no longer a major growth market.
Arguably, iPhones are too thin and light and should be thicker and heavier and thus could have bigger batteries. This doesn't help anyone who already has a phone (and iPhones remain supported for up to 5 years after release - that's a long tail)
That's the problem though. That last 0.1% is difficult, and Facebook (which, if your technologically illiterate mother doesn't have it installed, many others do) has been repeatedly shown to do harm to their users. Yet they're still on the apple app store.
What is needed is a big red button that makes it easy to sideload an app (download a file and run it) and explains the implications to the user.
The app was indeed a scam by a random chinese dev impersonating a company he was not related to by using their brand as app name and their logo as app icon.
a: Let me install from elsewhere if I want, like Android does (and I love)
b: have more transparency in the back end processes of the store and better appeals. Right now it's very arbitrary and capricious. Yes they have a published set of rules, but they're enforced and interpreted in a very unpredictable way.
Your mom always uses the App Store, everybody else is happy.
We got my wife's grandmother an iPad because she kept getting fleeced by Geek Squad after opening email attachments. Smooth running for years now.
A lot of people don't have any need for a full-on computer.
I've considered something like Solus-based laptops for them, but I haven't gotten around to testing out a configuration yet.
They're happier as their technology always works the way they expect. I'm happier as I don't get any more tech support calls.
Please don't take that away from me.
What is this nebulous "damage"? If an app escapes the sandbox and totally hoses the operating system, the fix should be basically plugging the phone into a cable at home and waiting say 24 hours to prevent evil maid attacks. If the malicious app manages go further and screw up the "hardware", then that implies a serious security vulnerability and so should be covered under warranty.
A security model based around every bit of code on a device being vetted is fundamentally unscalable. The cracks are really starting to show, with increasing false positives and false negatives.
Now imagine people downloading all sorts of scam apps, having personal data uploaded, ransomware, you name it. And they are going to take that sucker straight to the Apple store if they don't have friends/family to fix it.
Aside from that, I personally view the Apple App Store as a feature and a benefit to me. I don't want another App Store even if it were available.
> people downloading all sorts of scam apps, having personal data uploaded, ransomware, you name it
Obviously if you just get rid of Apple's current solution and don't replace it with anything, then those things will happen like the jungle that was Windows. But that does not make for an argument in support of Apple's current solution.
The answer is to address those problems for arbitrary code (eg isolation and fine grained capabilities), rather than simplistically asserting that any code on the device must be "good" and then enforcing a singular top-down regime to assure that.
> I don't want another App Store even if it were available.
See if you still hold this opinion in ten years when large companies have been pushed to ban secure communication tools in the interest of "public safety". The writing is already on the wall.
(My current support load mainly consists of needing to help my dad because app UI elements are designed to be invisible. This is a problem caused by centralized control - banks create their own decommodified apps and want to look hip in the "design" world or whatever, as opposed to publishing a standardized API that would allow creation of independent apps for old people. And the same vacuous "security" FUD gets dragged out to justify that state of affairs as well)
Aside from that, the iPhone app ecosystem is perfect for me. Maybe it’s not perfect for you but I like it how it is and don’t want it to change and I don’t want more people in my family bothering me with tech stuff. If you want custom stuff why can’t you use Android and a Pixel 3 or something? Plenty of other options out there.
I’m not saying Apple is wrong to make as much profit as they want. But to say any more than a 10% take at most (likely less) is a tax to have the ecosystem running can’t be true. Not with the $100 a year on top as well.
The $100/yr developer account fee is an anti-spam measure, not an actually significant revenue source.
Apple and Google App Stores combined currently generate almost $100 billion in revenue per year. This is the biggest and best revenue source available on the planet for smaller developers.
Easy end-user side loading, and third party app stores is a direct attack on this ecosystem and will damage the livelihoods of developers who will have no way to fight against massive increases in piracy that will result.
Windows developers seemed to be doing pretty well, even without an app store...
But I am pretty sure the vast majority of applications on the App Store in the $1-$10 range would simply not have been possible to monetize in the Windows XP era.
Remember shareware? What percent of people actually paid for that? You think the market was even 1% the size it is now? CompUSA’s best annual revenue was $2 billion and only a fraction of that was software, and only a fraction of a faction of that was anything but enterprise software and big studio games.
And the market for apps on phones was a fraction of 1% of what we have now from the App Stores.
I'm saying the end result winds up being the opposite of the ideal scenario OP's setting up - the people least prepared to evaluate the dangers of side-loading stuff are the most likely to go and do it.
Free kids apps are the worst, because young children try to play the game and constantly end up steered towards ads that they don’t know how to navigate away from.
They'd be small enough and focused enough that their only option for survival would be trust.
If you make network effects harder (e.g. it extremely easy to submit apps to all of them), I don't see this not becoming a competition over price. And security is expensive. You'd have to prevent people search some nice apps on your store, then downloading the same on a different store with lots of shit tier apps as well, if it saves them your 30% tax.
I'm not familiar with Apple, but where do you see this problem in Android? "Allow installation of apps from unknown sources" is a one-button toggle in Settings, after which you can download an apk from anywhere you want and install it without issues.
Also, it is getting harder to avoid using Google Play Services in your apps since they are putting more Android features behind that iron curtain as well.
The Google Play Services moves are unfortunate, but required. Most device manufacturers do not provide updates for Android on time, so any code that is part of Android itself becomes harder to update.
They are still dark patterns, that they also have found excuses for those dark patterns does not make them any better. In fact most of the stuff (not just Google's) we see nowadays that take control away from the users - very often in ways that entrench monopolies and the status quo - use "but security" as their primary defense.
Note that since Android P or so, only explicitly whitelisted apps are even allowed to ask for app install. There's a user setting for each. So this is effectively already in place.
Only because Google lets the device manufacturers off the hook. It's a problem of Googles own invention. Trading away customer security for market share.
Adding: very successfully too, this isn't the first time I hear how you should almost feel sorry for Google that they have to put so much into google services instead of Android, all because of the evil device manufacturers! Nothing can be done no... wrings hands
Maybe it will change a little but now that Huawei happened.
It is not a problem that is retroactively fixable by other means than by what they are doing now.
They could take Android closed source and put a restrictive license on it demanding that timely updates as a condition of use. All that would achieve is that the large vendors will either stick with the old, still free to use, Android or start working on their own systems they would control again - Samsung's Tizen, Huawei is developing their own, etc. It doesn't take much to piss a large vendor like Samsung off sufficiently to jump ship. They aren't married to Android and have plenty of resources to pour into proprietary alternatives. Google doesn't have much leverage there.
The result would be only a market fragmentation, collapse of the app market and loss of market share for Google. That would benefit exactly nobody.
Phone vendors are not interested in system updates - that's a pure cost they don't want to pay, they would rather have you buy a new phone or at least not have to spend money and engineering time on preparing patches.
Google could for instance not allow the manufacturer to connect to their Google Play store unless the manufacturer played ball.
But where does this all put us? We are OK with crap, insecure devices being shoved all over the markets? What can be done.
Very true but I think the point GP was trying to make was that Samsung is bigger bthan Apple and would have enough influence to get a lot developers to work on its platform instead.
"Must keep firmware updated with security fixes."
1. As you stated, Google forces devs to rely on presence of the Google Play Services
2. Devs don't care: I don't see why e.g. Discord should not run properly on MicroG (I get push messages after logging in, but the app itself shows all friends as offline, no servers and a "can not connect to discord" message; from what I found online, it doesn't seem to be intermittent).
3. I wouldn't even know which 3rd party app store to use (okay, besides F-Droid for FOSS and some Google Play Store Proxy)
Not forcing per se. Google just provides a convenient services that devs are happy to use.
Google Cloud Messaging was then set to be the only service that could wake the device up when it was sleeping. Supposedly it batches messages and sends them at optimal times to save battery.
But it seems these maintenance windows aren't frequent enough (every 15 minutes?) for some apps.
Do you want to use a messenger or any other social media app where the worst case scenario is that it takes 15 minutes for the message to reach the recipient?
Certainly not, so the app vendor is forced to use FCM to display notifications immediately even if the recipient's device is in Doze mode.
I might be an outlier though.
In the video game console world you’ve never been able to install your own games. I can’t do it with my car infotainment system either and they have a crude App Store.
The car is probably an exception because close to unbreakable security is.. desirable there.
"Section 2 of the Sherman Act makes it unlawful for a company to "monopolize, or attempt to monopolize," trade or commerce. As that law has been interpreted, it is not illegal for a company to have a monopoly, to charge "high prices," or to try to achieve a monopoly position by what might be viewed by some as particularly aggressive methods."
So under their definition of anticompetitive monopoly behavior (which is actually illegal). They call out that behavior with valid business justification (my own example: protecting their brand) is fine, even if it restricts competition.
Side note: today I learned a new word! "Duopoly" (a market controlled by two players). Monopoly law _does_ apply to duopolies.
*  https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-a...
*  https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-a...
> I should be able to install whatever app I want, without having to jailbreak my phone and deal with warranty nonsense from the manufacturer. Just like my computer, which I can also install whatever software I want on it.
I don't know too much about how the Apple/iPhone ecosystem works, but in both Android and in Windows you can generally download apps from locations other than the ones specifically sanctioned by Google/Microsoft without repercussions (android does have the setting you manually have to enable first before downloading external APK's). Google definitely does control an overwhelming share of the app download market, but that's because it has marketed itself well, it works well enough that users don't go looking for other stores, and there haven't been too many alternative stores that have sufficiently marketed themselves to general Android users (F-Droid is a cool concept, but the general Android user is more concerned with "getting an app that does x" than "getting an app that does x and the source code is available")
I'm on the fence about it. In the ideal world, yes.
In the real world, you get the Windows problem where everyone ends up with 40 toolbars in Internet Explorer and bitch and whine their computer is slow.
I like to think of iOS less like a PC, and more like a Nintendo, with a curated ecosystem of software. (Maybe Android can be Sega :P)
Is Google Play doing that now? It used to be that you just had to change an option in settings to "allow third-party software" or something and you could install anything you wanted. It was necessary for the Humble Bundle Android app, among other things. That was years ago, though.
of course the law is supposed to deal with objective reality, and that considerations of context are not relevant here; however I am not sure that this is still true when things get tough.
Apple's iOS model is a feature, not a bug. If you are unhappy with the app rules there, or with Apple being the curator of what's available, then iOS isn't for you.
Going somewhere else isn't just possible in practice, but it's the default no matter where you are.
There was a point in time when Microsoft was deeply embedding its really shitty and uber insecure Internet Explorer into Windows and causing all sorts of very severe problems problems. If that had continued, the world would have switched to free software. It was inevitable.
But the government stepped in and forced Microsoft to make a just marginally better product, and thus free software never really had its day.
If you want to have an open app store, just wait until Google and Apple become unbearable and people naturally start switching to a more open/free alternative. If you get the government to force Google and Apple to make better software, they will still have a duopoly in 10 or 20 years.
Software companies making shitty stuff, left alone, will die naturally. Capitalism is creative destruction, and all that.
But I'm not sure I agree that everyone would go free software if it didn't happen. If anything, I think another company would just come along and build something slightly less crappy but no more open. These days you don't even own the software anymore, it's just a subscription or SaaS.
> Software companies making shitty stuff, left alone, will die naturally.
You could say the same of many industries, and I don't think it's any more correct for software than it is for cars, phone providers, banks, or any number of hated industries. People make shitty stuff all the time, and it sells.
I feel like cars are great. I don't know where the complaint is there. There is an enormous amount of variety in cars. It's really amazing. Definitely a triumph of capitalism.
I also don't really have a problem with banks. There seems to be plenty of options. People mostly just complain about Wells Fargo. It's easy to switch.
Every truly hated industry is shitty because they are a government fief and nobody can compete with them. In other words, regulatory capture/regulatory ownership. Besides phone providers, the one that comes to mind for me in the U.S. is healthcare. Also, TV providers (AT&T/Comcast)---absolutely government fiefdoms. You can't legally compete with them.
If you find an unregulated industry, people don't buy shit. There is competition and people buy good stuff. Clothing, for instance. And almost all consumer goods. Think about all the amazing gadgets and appliances that are available. Computer hardware (e.g. laptops, desktops).
This is myopic, to put it lightly.
Toyota own the three brands that are the least costly cars to maintain, followed by Honda. BMW’s cost, on average, three times as much to maintain.
I own a VW because I’m an enthusiast, but I drive a Honda because I also need a reliable vehicle.
Some BMWs should be regulated out of existence. Rang Rovers too. I work directly opposite my mechanic and we often joke, when all four bays have BMWs or Rang Rovers in them you couldn’t make one good car if you scarified the other three.
These cars are absolute garbage. VW’s too. They all have terrible reputations.
I don’t mean to imply the specs aren’t good, some of these cars are smooth riding and handle well, but heaven forbid if anything breaks.
People want those cars. They are willing to pay a mechanic to fix them because they like them. And you have the gall to say that they shouldn't be allowed to have them?
You are complaining about the choices we have---which are amazing, by the way, compared to 20 or 50 or 100 years ago---and your solution is to use the government to force people to have fewer choices?
Certain principles are required for the economy and society to function, and you are advocating for the opposite principles.
Utilities like cable / internet aren't really protected by the government, in that there is supposed to be competition, but the companies rarely want to compete, so they tend to service different areas.
A lot of banks do a lot of the shady tactics that Wells Fargo does, like ordering deposits and withdrawals just to make sure you get hit with the maximum amount of overdraft fees.
I totally agree with you on healthcare. That is one of the biggest rackets in the US where price fixing is rampant, and price discovery is purposefully non-existent.
Oh, and just to throw one more in, the airlines!
> Every truly hated industry is shitty because they are a government fief and nobody can compete with them.
If you're a monopoly and the government doesn't step in, they are basically granting you a fief over that area.
There are 2 main kinds of telco in the U.S.: telephone line based ones and cable based ones. Historically, companies got each local municipality or country to give them a monopoly (literally) on one or the other. So yes, the telco industry is a pure monopoly play in the U.S.
Banks: I have no problem with what you are talking about in my personal experience, but you can always switch to a credit union. Basically all a credit union is in practice is a nice bank. That's their niche in the market summed up in 2 words.
> If you're a monopoly and the government doesn't step in, they are basically granting you a fief over that area.
Monopolies don't happen unless the government grants one (either explicitly or implicitly through regulatory capture). A monopoly is not just a giant company with a dominant marketshare. It's easy to compete with those.
Only if you choose to use that type of "software". Literally none of the software I use is subscription or SaaS, because I make it a point to avoid those things.
But chances are the government will force Facebook to be just slightly less destructive, so that people never abandon it en mass, and never find a healthier alternative.
Facebook will kill itself if left to its own design. They are clearly committed to that path.
They have no people to expand to, no new opportunities to monetize the platform. All they can do is squeeze out every last penny they can from the existing user base.
What was the last memorable feature that was added? Stories in like 2015? Facebook (the company) has moved on (to Instagram and WhatsApp), users are less engaged, the content is slowly moving away. Nobody creates a new product and thinks "we gotta have a Facebook presence" anymore.
What was the last Google Search feature? These companies grow not by improving product, but by expanding their reach and squashing competitors.
That's largely because Facebook brings little value unless you're a paying customer.
The Apple App Store seems good enough for most normal people. They will even defend having no alternative means of installing software on their iPhones with „Security“.
You put scare quotes around security, but Apple's approach really does result in a more stable and secure platform.
The world was in no way thinking about switching, that's just a libertarian pipe-dream.
As to why: the costs of the MS browser monopoly didn't hit either MS or the user, it accrued at website developers and MS's competitors. They had to jump through burning hoops to make their sites work both in IE and any other browser.
In fact, the easiest and cheapest way to develop a site was to go with MS's proprietary tech and essentially lock out Firefox, or any Linux (or Mac) browser. Opportunity costs were minimal as Windows enjoyed a >90% market share.
At the time the hammer came down on MS, things had in fact improved a bit due to web 2.0 and other browsers (ie. Firefox) leapfrogging MS. But it is extremely dishonest to claim the ruling somehow prevented OSS to gain market share, that flies right into the face of facts.
It's opinionated, sure. It's my judgement of the situation.
Second: In my opinion, IE was becoming non-viable for end users for security reasons, and baking it into Windows was making the entire system non-viable. If you can't surf the Internet without contracting multiple virii, it's just not a viable product anymore. Especially for businesses and individuals who have bank accounts, credit cards, etc.
I'm one of the many, many people that got screwed by Google in a similar way with their Adsense program. A long time ago it was. Back then there were actually people who communicated with you about it, at least that was my experience. But it was still stupid.
I was running Adsense on a website and got a message that I was not in compliance with their policies. I emailed and got a reply that it was because I need to make sure the ads are clearly separated from the content. I replied with a link to their own guide on how to "blend" ads, which I thought I had followed pretty closely. A person replied and said "That's not what we meant". WTF.
Another time on a food blog I had an article with a title that included the words "Chocolate Fetish" and a photo of two fully clothed women pouring chocolate on each other. I got an email that I was in violation of their policies with a link to that page. I emailed back and asked why. A person replied and said it was adult content. Double WTF.
So yeah, it's been stupid for a long time. And now days it's just all automated stupidity. It's pretty obvious - don't trust your business or anything else to Google.
Half-serious question, did all those replies come from actual human beings?
Reading the original blog post of this story and other comments here, including yours, I get a vague feeling that the communications on google's part are being done either by some kind of a machine, or by humans that can act like a machine, albeit of rather limited capabilities.
With that chocolate fetish thing my thought was that the people they were using for compliance monitoring must be teenage boys with overactive hormones who see adult content in just about everything. But maybe it was actually an algorithm that matched the word "fetish" with some skin tones in a photo (there were faces afterall) and flagged it. Who knows. Who cares.
This happened to me about 15 years ago when I started using AdSense. I literally had JUST crossed the payment threshold and got canned. What pisses me off the most is that they cancel the whole account and don't pay any money at all, despite making it clear that they can detect the supposedly "fraudulent" clicks from real ones, but they'll punish you by cancelling ALL your payments, rather than just whatever supposed fraud there was.
You know what my sin was? I looked at my site a few times. Didn't even click, just loaded it a few times to see how it looked with the ads.
And yes, the "we don't have to tell you want you did wrong" bullshit is also infuriating.
After a few messages there is phone verification and then after continuing to send out the accounts were banned. Contacting support was just a big 'we confirm the terms of service breach and we so not reinstate accounts'.
Those accounts were in some cases the sole admins of discord communities, and the ToS breach can't have been of anything specified in the ToS, but just falls under 'anything we decide in addition'.
But there is no alternative service people want to use.
A day later, I receive an automated email stating that they were "unable to confirm my account information" and that "I will not be able to transact in the future". I was given absolutely zero info on why they were unable to verify me or any corrective actions I could take to fix it.
My comment was correct,
but even if it wasn't, it wasn't against the rules,
and even it if was against the rules, their own guidelines say you get a warning first,
and even then, the sitewide rules say that mods should hear appeals. But nah, forget all that. I'm just gone.
Is the WoW server a bootleg? I'm not a WoW player so not sure what's out there, but I wouldn't be surprised if Discord-the-company was involved in something that might be considered anti-piracy actions.
The other question would be if they were doing something that would be detected as spamming, either for your discord community or the game. If the invites were sent via DM but were the only DM messaging between the admins and users they may well have tripped an automatic detection.
I guess I'm lucky that almost all my friends vastly prefer TS3. Being on servers that aren't self-hosted at the mercy of random bans etc. always makes me uncomfortable.
I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but it sounds like your client is selling dietary supplements which Google has been (IMO rightfully) aggressively removing.
However it would be nice if Google at least made an attempt to explain to people why they are banking them. And an appeals process.
Right now this is basically the wild west with if sherif says it, it is reality. We need more of a due process.
Why the aversion to "FDA Approved"?
It is a boogeyman term not because of what it actually means but how it is leveraged to say something it doesn’t mean.
Only for food and drug ingredients. The FDA has no such process for supplements. They FDA only evaluates supplement products after public health concerns arise from a product already on the market.
"FDA is not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.
If the dietary supplement contains a NEW ingredient, manufacturers must notify FDA about that ingredient prior to marketing. However, the notification will only be reviewed by FDA (not approved)"
The FDA says they cannot be used this way but they are.
1. Where does the FDA say that you can't say "Made in an FDA inspected facility"?
"Made in an FDA inspected facility" is not "Made in an FDA approved facility" nor is it "Inspected by the FDA" and it's definitely not "Approved by the FDA".
2. "Someone is doing something unscrupulous on Amazon.com" Gosh. Say it ain't so.
The FDA does not "approve" supplements, period.
"FDA doesn’t approve dietary supplements." (from ^)
FDA approval means, specifically, that "the agency has determined that the benefits of the product outweigh the known risks for the intended use." (from ^)
And the FDA makes no such determination for dietary supplements. (from ^)
Taking GP at their word, whatever it was was FDA approved. If the FDA doesn't approve supplements, then whatever GP represented couldn't have been a supplement, which gets back to my original question:
Why is "FDA approved" being treated here as a boogeyman by the parent?
Only because they assume that the original commenter said something untrue. The original commenter never said anything about supplements.
Except that actually getting FDA approval suggests to me that it isn't slimy at all.
> it sounds like your client is selling dietary supplements
The FDA doesn't "approve" dietary supplements, so either the person you're replying to is lying, ill informed (which I suspect), or it's not supplements.
Another loophole that these dietary supplement companies use is the "FDA Inspected" stamp.
Can you link to a supplement that claims to be FDA approved as opposed to claiming that some included component has been approved for something unrelated, which is not the same thing?
> Another loophole that these dietary supplement companies use is the "FDA Inspected" stamp.
That's not a loophole. That's just preying on ignorance and inattentiveness.
It is a loophole in that they can list "FDA something" on their product and prey on consumers who do not know any better.
That product in fact does NOT say that it is FDA approved, nor does it say that any of its ingredients are FDA approved. So it is not an example of "stamp the FDA approval on themselves".
> It is a loophole in that they can list "FDA something"
They are making a statement of 100% fact. Their facility was inspected by the FDA. Outlawing saying so would violate the constitution. Notably they are not saying that the product is approved by the FDA.
This is so obvious that I think you're intentionally missing this just to be argumentative.
They're an awful company with horrible customer support. It's frustrating too, because my startup has investors who keep trying to get us to switch to GCP, but I don't think any responsible company would ever make themselves dependent on Google.
I tried in all ways to get an explanation why my account was locked down and what I could do to resolve it: without any success.
The whole situation is just depressing because there is literally no way to discuss it in a reasonable manner other than automated canned answers or being ignored.
It was actually for me a mind changing event because it illustrated how the whole "internet is freedom" idea was a really stupid logical construct.
Still bitter about it.
Many current tech companies are in the same position. They physically cannot afford to pay for actual support. Instead, they rely on algorithms and things like this article; if it becomes popular enough, it will get handled. The alternative is covert support via Bezos' personal address, for example.
People that have worked in software at non-fashionable companies outside the region can usually see it, but when people move to the bubble (geographically or mentally) they often get assimilated.
It's hard to talk about, except in person. Online they can swarm any conversation, and they're from the west coast which means they're experts at passive-aggressively tearing people apart.
A common argument is that people don't "scale" quite like automation and algorithms do, but we have millennia in expertise in labor markets (humanity survived quite a while without algorithms pretending to be customer service) that we could do much better, if so much of SV wasn't about avoiding and/or entirely shirking labor costs for "shinier" technology solutions.
Does Google credit the advertisers when they cancel click-bait websites/apps?
I know Google has a refund process that ad buyers can try to use if they have evidence of fraud.
However, does Google pro-actively do refunds when they cancel fraud sites/apps?
Absolutely the same story happened with me.
Few years back I had an option to work on a recommendation system for a large video hosting service used by most media companies. They allowed me to spend two weeks with their engineering and sales teams. It was scary to say the least. The number of companies and layers of infrastructure all just mindlessly optimizing for ad clicks, watching viewers being bought and sold in real time like some kind of mad fish market, targeting of specific groups purely because they are hooked to the content rather than a valid target for the ad etc etc etc. I got out of there as fast as I could.
There is a category of dumb people in the world, who don't have the capacity to understand how dumb they are, nor does humanity yet posses the skills to enlighten them in a timely and effective manner.
Historically this group's stupidity has had localized effects. Today thanks to a global network they are hooked into, the effects of their mindlessness is amplified to levels no one has ever imagined.
At the beginning they do what they are told to do or what people around them are doing. And if they get very good at it and you tell them to stop because its causing issues, they wont. They cant. There is nothing sophisticated, that can be done about them other than cutting access to the network. This will take decades to fix.
When people sit around wondering (and coming up with all kinds of reasons which further obscure things) why they see random, inexplicable events happening all over the world, ask them to take a peak behind the curtain, at the mindless mega machine that is the ad serving ecosystem.
Saying that "well but probably there are people that had it coming" does not add anything to the discussion. In fact it diminishes the quality.
The article on the comments are talking about examples of people the affirm having being treated wrongly. If there are other cases of people that have been punished correctly or these cases are lying, then some sort of proof, at least implying that, would be in order.
See, if a company can do something for years then the least thing you can do is explain why they've been banned, 'policy violation' is such a great fig-leaf for a lot of trickery that it should be a requirement to spell out exactly what the violation was unless the account was only a few days old and did not have a history of good behavior right up to that point.
If Google wants to hide behind the mantra that they do not wish to tell the world what rules they have to avoid giving spammers an edge then they should improve their enforcement; not to send away the bulk of the complainants without a way to improve or some kind of dialogue.
They do provide a pretty lengthy legal contract and terms to developers, which are partially outlined in this article. I think they just realize that the ball is in their court, and if the company wants to sue them then that is when they present the evidence.
I agree that it would be helpful for people that legitimately don't know and may have made some minor mistake to get more information to correct it, and prefer businesses be transparent when implementing their policies, but from a purely legal perspective it makes sense why Google doesn't do this.
This is literally what each and every company does - P&G could sell me the toothpaste cheaper, but guess what, they want my money. Very rarely a business deal - money exchanging hands - is "fair" to everybody involved. What would you expect, somebody stop trying everything to make money because of the "greater good"?
The fact is, as bad as Google is sometimes about user privacy and „borg behavior“. Their adversaries (malvertising, spammers, clickfarms, bot-armies, state actors) are so committed to manipulating humans for money and/or influence, that they must be hindered wherever possible. It‘s the war for attention. And it‘s only going to get more intense.
If enforcement can't be managed at that scale, things of that scale should be shut down. Platforms are not an inherent good.
Sure you could go back to selfhosting. But monetization and, more importantly, discovery will not work that way.
Or we go back to the days of yesteryear with vetted and sanitized gatekeepers (also beholden to advertisers) in place.
So yeah. Until there is a empathetic, nuanced AGI/ASI in charge of policing content there’s not gonna be a good solution. That might take longer than a while.
Many of the banned probably did something most of us (and they) deem "shady".
The problem is Google's complete lack of transparency and super reliance on automation.
Google's defense is that they do not want to give out even one bit of information so theoretically some bad actors could assemble a composite model on how Google banning algorithm works.
Ok, but how about giving some sort of reasonable response and some sort of reasonable appeals process?
We are rapidly heading to "Computer's Don't Argue" society: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computers_Don%27t_Argue
Psychopaths and corporations game the system as they have no morality. There isn't all that much the system can do about powerful forces gaming it. For instance car companies calculated that the cost of paying for injury lawsuits was less than recalling defective cars that were killing people. This is gaming the system.
It would be interesting if the courts started finding corporations having psychological disorders and punishing them for it by for instance replacing their upper leadership if found to have certain tendencies which were socially unacceptable.
"GOOG agreed to provide my company a service that we have reasonably relied on"..."GOOG struck my app for no cause causing my business damage..." and so on.
Though, in-real-life, people who use google services have probably agreed to terms to bar any such claim.
Google sounds like they are using their control of the Android store to prevent an application being published that competes with their Google Maps Mobile App, which also offers similar public transport tracking and time-table information
The issue is that they're not being told what they did wrong, which instantly puts Google in the wrong as far as in concerned.
App developers are not customers; they're indentured peasants.
I’m not saying your wrong in this case, but that’s not a very reliable measure. Companies that have the best product can treat their customers like shit. Companies that have the lowest prices can treat their customers like shit. Any company that has a strong competitive offering that’s not based on service can treat their customers like shit.
I might feel differently if it were a site focused on a particular topic, ads might be relevant to the audience, and the income were material. But, as it was, it just seemed better to keep it non-commercial.
Fair and impartial courts is one of the prerequisites for open, efficient markets.
Trust busting of Big Tech should focus on eliminating the self dealing, conflicts of interest, anti-competitive behavior, and fraud.
I don't care if Google & YouTube are together or apart. Ditto Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp.
I do care that one entity controls an entire ad network, using it to better compete against their own customers, and to squelch competition.
+100 This has been my feeling ever since I first started using the android SDK. Google put the developer very low on the priority list, but, at the same time, the end user is also very low on the list.
The only people high on the list appear to be Google shareholders and the Google employees who work on android.
Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to apply to my local general contractors, painters, landscapers, electricians, etc.
Incorrect. The easiest way to identify a monopoly is to identify the number of competitors in that space. Google has at least one meaningful competitor to Android -- Apple -- so it can't be a monopoly.
Anticompetitive behavior would be illegal, except this isn't anticompetitive, since there is a meaningful competitor, Apple, and Google isn't locking this developer into Google's platform -- in fact it's the opposite. This is just merely bad behavior -- also one that could be corrected by the markets.
It's worth noting there was a time where Microsoft was the big bad monopolist, and everyone was clamoring for the government to break them up. In the end, it was deep competition from Apple and Google that knocked them off their throne, not some big FTC antitrust lawsuit.
The problem compounds when Google and apple are both horizontal and vertical oligopolies.
If I complain that adwords scammed me (in a court of law), they could retaliate by terminating my GCE instances and gmail accounts.
That's different, Google search AFAIK is a monopoly. And an oligopoly by definition are not monopoly. If Google and Apple conspired together to prevent competition, that would be illegal.
But AFAICT, the remedy for the developer is to simply not develop on Android. You're not making a strong enough case here for what would appear to be an argument for government intervention.
Anti-competitive behavior would be if Google bought up all the manufacturers in China say. And kicking off a developer off the play store doesn't do anything to Apple as far as I can tell.
The only way of identifying a monopoly is to see if they have (very close to) 100% market share.
What you're talking about is a company with market power. Incidentally, this is also what the FTC regulates. Being a monopoly is 100% legal as long as you don't abuse your market position. And you can abuse your market position without being a monopoly.
Maybe you think that's pedantic, but I think it's an important distinction. Google is not a monopoly - they have significant competition in every market they're in. But they are still very abusive in wielding their power.
> especially when the markup on any non-google phone can easily be 1000%.
I'm not really sure I understand. The newest Google pixel and iPhone are similarly priced. Unless by "Google phone" you mean Android, in which case yes apple lacks choice on the low end but 10x is still a bit of an exaggeration.
iOS also has >20% market share globally, while we are arguing about numbers. This gets back to my "significant competition" remark. Are you arguing that Apple is insignificant?
This competitor is also in a completely different market segment.
Is there anything but Google (for this purpose I count anything with Google Play) in the <$400 market?
All that it takes for the rise of evil is for good men to do nothing and all that.