Google brings down the banhammer on app developer for producing fake clicks

This is a photo of the Google Play Store in 2019

Popular Chinese developer DO Global is in hot water today after Google banned many of its apps from the Google Play Store over ad fraud and user permission abuses, reported BuzzFeed News.

According to the report, 46 apps out of DO Global’s roughly 100 apps have been taken down. An unnamed source told BuzzFeed News that more app removals will follow, with Google moving to ban DO Global from the Play Store altogether.

It also appears that DO Global’s apps no longer include purchasable advertisement inventory through Google’s AdMob network. That suggests that Google even banned DO Global’s ad products.

Android Authority reached out to Google for comment, with a spokesperson issuing the following statement:

We take our responsibility to protect users and advertisers seriously, and invest in tools and resources to fight fraud and abuse globally. We actively investigate malicious behavior, and when we find violations, we take action, including the removal of a developer’s ability to monetize their app with AdMob or publish on Play.

The ban follows an investigation conducted by BuzzFeed News and security researchers at Check Point Research. According to the investigation’s findings, at least six of DO Global’s apps included code for fraudulent ad-clicking. The fake clicks then produced ad revenue for DO Global and even worked if you kept the app closed.

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Compounding matters, DO Global supposedly published apps under generic developer names “Pic Tools Group” and “Photo Artist Studio,” hosted the apps’ privacy policies on Tumblr, and didn’t disclose to users that the apps under the aforementioned developer names were from DO Global.

Prior to today’s ban, DO Global’s apps garnered over 600 million installs. DO Global told BuzzFeed News that the company has over 250 million monthly active app users and reaches 800 million users through its ad platform.

NEXT: 15 best Android apps of 2019!

Attack on Titan: Assault is up for pre-registration on the Play Store

Are you patiently waiting for the fourth season of Attack on Titan? You might want to look at Attack on Titan: Assault, the mobile incarnation of the popular anime series.

Previous Attack on Titan games for consoles and handheld systems were open-world action games that let you explore the world and fight Titans in real time. Attack on Titan: Assault still lets you explore the world in real time, but fights are now turn-based with quick time events showing up here and there.

Attack on Titan: Assault also features a card-building mechanic. Characters like Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, Armin Arlert, and many more exist in the form of cards. You can then use the cards to assemble your team.

It’s worth paying attention to who’s on your team. Certain combinations, such as the 104th Trainees and Squad Levi, trigger special bond abilities during battle. You can also upgrade and get equipment for each card, further increasing a character’s abilities in fights.

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In addition to a single-player mode, Attack on Titan: Assault also lets you play alongside and against other players. Finally, the game pulls various locations like Shiganshina, Trost, Calaneth, the Forest of Giant Trees, and more from the anime series.

You can pre-register Attack on Titan: Assault on the Play Store at the link below.

Critically-acclaimed platformer Oddmar is now available on the Play Store

Winner of the Apple Design Award 2018 and one of the best platformers on iOS, Oddmar is now available on the Google Play Store.

Oddmar stars the lazy and selfie Oddmar, who is pressed into service after the village chief forces him to carry out his Viking duties. In order to earn his place in Valhalla, Oddmar must burn down a forest. However, it’s this forest that grants him several powers from magical mushrooms if he protects the forest from evil creatures.

The story won’t win awards, but the looks sure will. Oddmar’s quality of animation doesn’t have a peer in the world of mobile games and is on par with Ubisoft’s Rayman games from the early 2010s. You’ll have to play it to properly understand, but the animation makes Oddmar better to play with your fingers than with a controller.

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Speaking of which, the game’s description in the Google Play Store says it supports game controllers, but we couldn’t get our Shield controller to work with it.

Oddmar features 24 levels with various traps and challenges. Each level features three challenges, with some challenges tasking players to complete certain levels as quickly as possible.

You can download Oddmar at the link below. The first chapter is free, with the remaining chapters costing $5.49 to unlock. 

The new National Geographic app looks nice, but still needs a bit of work

National Geographic

  • National Geographic launched a new app on the Play Store.
  • The app replaces the current National Geographic magazine app.
  • Unfortunately, only folks in the U.S. and Canada can download the new app.

National Geographic launched a new app for folks in the U.S. and Canada. The app replaces the current National Geographic magazine app and looks very clean, but it needs just a bit more time in the oven.

Opening the app brings you to the Home section, which features four tabs: For You, Read, Look, and Watch. As the name suggests, the For You tab is a list of personalized and curated content that updates as you consume more stories.

If curation isn’t your jam, the Read and Look tabs let you read articles and look at pictures, respectively. The Watch tab contains numerous National Geographic clips. You’ll still have to download the Nat Geo TV app if you want full episodes.

The next app section is Magazine, which contains National Geographic’s current and previous magazines. You can even go all the way back to the original issue in 1888.

The last two sections are Search — in addition to a search bar, the section contains a small list of trending topics you can search — and Settings.

The app sections and tabs help navigation remain as straightforward as possible. It also helps that the app as a whole is aesthetically pleasing, though haters of white app backgrounds should look away.

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My only issue with the new National Geographic app is the performance and a bug or two in some areas. For example, the most recent National Geographic magazine didn’t show up for me after I finished watching a video in the Watch tab. I had to load in older magazines for the newest magazine to show up again.

Another bug I encountered was in the Watch tab, where the Nat Geo TV app ad at the top was absent for a few seconds after I finished a video. Finally, the Settings section was a stuttering mess before smoothing things over on its own.

I’m sure National Geographic will improve the app’s performance and squash some bugs in future updates. In the meantime, you can download the new app at the link below.