Tagged: Google

On Pokemon, Google and April Fools


I love the Pokemon game! So when Google launched their Google Pokemon April Fool’s Game I wasted no time hunting pokemons over google maps in my Droid.

My first catch was a Rotom

Screenshot_2014-04-01-09-30-30

Next was Dragonite
Google Pokemon Challenge

And my first high profile pokemon was Bulbasaur
Screenshot_2014-04-01-09-44-45

For the first ten to twenty or so pokemons, I usually caught them near Google offices worldwide (Googleplex in Mountain View, Google offices in Ireland, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, etc).

Google Pokemon Challenge JP

taipei101

Some other interesting locations: Competitor Campuses (Apple in Cupertino CA)

Google Pokemon Challenge De Anza

Google Pokemon Challenge Cupertino

In the Philippines too: Manila

Google Pokemon Challenge Manila

Google Pokemon Challenge Manila 2

Albay, Bicol, near Mayon Volcano

Google Pokemon Challenge Mayon Volcano

 

In Davao, near Mt. Apo

 

Google Pokemon Challenge Mt Apoand there are some other pokemon too in Batangas (near Taal Volcano) and Palawan.

I then focused on completing my favorite pokemon:

Screenshot_2014-04-01-10-33-10

Screenshot_2014-04-01-10-37-30

Screenshot_2014-04-01-10-30-39

 

I’m happy for the first day!!!

Day 2: Gotta catch them all!!! 150 of them. Its a difficult task but…

Google Pokemon Challenge eevee

Flareon

 

With the help of reddit and other basic internet sleuthing skillz

Google Pokemon Challenge last 1

Completed!!!

Screenshot_2014-04-02-07-55-15

 

 

One of the most enjoyable and fun-filled Google April Fools!

Thank you Google!!!

 

Since I have promised in my Temple Run 2 Download for iPad post that I will give updates whenever I already have Free Temple Run 2 For Android download links, I am constantly looking out for that Temple Run 2 for Android in Google Play Store.

Around 11:35 PM (GMT+8) of January 19, I found these apps in Google Play Store

Temple-Run-2-Android-Screenshot-01

Wow! got 2 hits for Temple Run 2 HD and they are using the new Temple Run 2 logo, really they have it in Android and its in HD (another wow!) am I lucky that day?

Looking closely at the first app I discovered something fishy.

Temple-Run-2-Android-Screenshot-02

Because original developers of the Temple Run is Imangi Studios and _NOT_ IMANGHI (take note of the H). 5900+ ratings. I looked further at the description of the app and its the same cut and paste description text found in the iTunes:

Description
The sequel to the smash hit phenomenon that took the world by storm!

With over 170 million downloads, Temple Run redefined mobile gaming. Now get more of the exhilarating running, jumping, turning and sliding you love in Temple Run 2!

Looking at the second suspicious Temple Run 2 HD for Android app

Temple-Run-2-Android-Screenshot-03
the descriptionIS the same text description found in iTunes. Lazy Ctrl+C – Ctrl+V

Researching further, I looked at the reviews and this KSGBLUEAPPS version already have 122 5-stars. Wow!
Reading the full description of the apps and some of the user reviews I confirmed my suspicions: users are already complaining that these apps are just a puzzle/wallpaper apps, they are _NOT_ the legit Temple Run 2 app and they come with a big twist, with lots of Ads/Advertisement links (and by the sound of the 1-star reviewers comment, loads of Ad/Advertisement-related links for your mobile phone). This is very PREDICTABLE if you will ask me, as Ad/Adverts will bring in cash (kaching-kaching) and that is where the money is 🙂

What I find really amazing is “they” ARE FAST. In less than 2 days after the legit version Temple Run 2 for iOS was released, suspicious Temple Run 2 Android apps already made it in the Google Play Store.

So I did NOT download it and I forgot about it already (Either I’m getting old or I’m a very busy guy yah know :p)

Fast forward to January 22 around 4PM (GMT+8), a teammate send me an email asking about some malicious Android app related to Temple Run 2. So I checked their concern and remembered my weekend ad-friendly apps. I also searched for them, yup the previous Temple Run 2 HD for Android apps by Imanghi and KSGBlueApps from Google Play. Alas! both apps are already _NOT_ available via Google Play. I have several (conspiracy) theories on why they were removed but I will keep them to myself. What is important now is that Trend Micro already detects the said apps as ANDROIDOS_FAKETEMPLRUN.A, a Malware Blog post is already publicly available:

Fake Versions of Temple Run 2 Sprint Their Way to Users via Trend Micro Security Intelligence Blog.

and the said malicious apps are already kicked out in Google Play Store 🙂

Some questions remain:

  • Are the apps (I screen captured) exact copies of those apps that my teammates analyzed for the Malware Blog post: Maybe. If we will base it from company name, description and related strings, most probably its the same.
  • Am I sure about this? Not 100%. Sorry I do not have the exact APK file to compare it byte per byte to come up with a conclusion.
  • Why did Google removed them from Google Play? I don’t know. You better ask them not me :p
  • Do you see where these questions are leading you? (hehe conspiracy theorist = menard)

Lesson learned. Back to basic security tip: Be cautious of what you search, download and install to your mobile phone (this also applies to desktop/PCs). Be careful also with other unofficial Android Markets and websites offering free apps.

Better be safe than sorry OK?

AI: Do a blog post as an awareness campaign. Check!

Again be careful: malicious Temple Run 2 Android apps are out there in the wild.

Lastly some disclosure:
I work at Trend Micro. The views expressed in this blog post are mine and mine alone and do not necessarily represent my employer’s positions, strategies or opinions.
To know more about me (work and other stuff), kindly visit my about page.
To know more about my blogs full disclosure policy, kindly visit my disclosure page.

ScreenCapture Credits: Me and Gorehowldroid

Update: 2013.01.26

Legit Temple Run 2 For Android available now via Google Play Store:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.imangi.templerun2

Add Author’s Name and Google+ Profile to Google Search Results

The past few months, I noticed something new in the Google Search Results. On some of the search results, the name of the author is now displayed like:


Clicking the Author’s name will redirect to their Google+ profile. Wow! Neat feature!!!

I noted this first when the top results are from my pinoy blogger friends and I was really wondering how do they do that (add Authors name and Google+ Profile in Google Search Results)?
Good thing Allen Michael Gurrea  shared some simple steps on how to add Authors name and Google+ Profile in Google Search Results. I will be quoting the steps that he blogged at Silkenhut’s World with additional notes of mine at the end.

1. In your blog, create a site wide link to your Google+ profile but add the rel=author tag in your anchor parameters.

It will be like this:   <a href=”your google+ profile” ref=”author”>Your Name</a>

2. In your Google+ profile, edit your profile on the Contributor to part. Add a link to your blog there.

Allen’s third part is optional, and the google document link is not available anymore so I skipped it.

Here are my additional personal notes, and some extra steps and tip to make it more simple and easy to follow:
For the first part: that “google+ profile is the” link is the same as

https://plus.google.com/xxxxxxxyyyyyyyzzzz

Where the xxxxxxxyyyyyyyzzzz is long unique numeric identifier (21 digits in my google+profile)

Make this link a site wide link (meaning in each page of your blog it will be seen/visible).

For the part 2 Contributor part:
The Google+ profile Contributor part can be accessed by going to your Google+ profile and clicking on the profile button (see Step 1) and clicking edit profile (see Step 2)


Scroll down and click on Contributor to edit it (see Step 3)


And input a Label Text for your website and the corresponding URL of your website (see Step 4)
And of course Save changes (see Step 5)

And then wait for Google to do its magic (read: crawl, index, blah blah and other search engine wizardry to your website). Then check Google Search Results after some hours or days.

My personal experience is that I made the changes in menardconnect.com over the weekend and today it is now reflected in Google PH Search Results. Cool!!!

Do you want to add Authors name and Google+ Profile to Google Search Results too? If yes, just try the easy steps above, and let me know if it works (via adding some comments below or saying “hi and hello” or “It works” to me via twitter, google+ or facebook)

Again, special thanks to Allen Michael Gurrea for the tips he shared 🙂

Hope you like my blogging tips post 🙂

Google+ Games: Let the Google Plus Games Begin


The Internet was abuzz with Google+ Games yesterday as majority of the major news sites reported that Google+ Games is now live. I checked my Google+ console yesterday but I got the usual four Google Plus icons only: Home, Photos, Profile and Circles.

But this morning came the big surprise, the fifth icon: Google+ Games.

Here are some available Google+ Games now

I tried the famous Angry Birds from Rovio.

And the Google+ Games will ask for user’s permission to access some of your data just like the Facebook app and Facebook games. If you don’t agree then you can decline but sorry no Google Plus Games for you.

I also tried Zynga Poker as Zynga gave me my favorite Facebook games before and another google+ games request permission access page is present

It is interesting to note that if you click more info, the google+ games developer email will be shown. The request permission page also have link to google plus game developers Terms of Service and Privacy Policy pages.

Going back to the Google+ games Angry Birds. One glaring observation that I have is that commercialization is back as a lot of angry birds merchandize and goodies are available. I guess this is where the money is (for the devs/publisher) so it will be a staple feature.

But an interesting feature for Google+ games Angry Birds is the Teamwork level.

Latest from Angry Birds: Chirp! Have you checked out the teamwork level yet? Pop pigs with your friends and pool your stars to unlock exclusive new levels!

Some sample list of Google+ Games available:
Angry Birds
Zynga Poker
Collapse! Blast
Crime City
Sudoku Puzzles
Zombie Lane
Dragons of Atlantis
City of Wonder
Edgeworld
Flood-It!
Diamond Dash
Bubble Island
Wild Ones
Bejeweled Blitz Beta
Monster World
Dragon Age Legends

Well I hope Google+ learns from the lessons on security and privacy of their competitor. And I pray that my google+ stream will not be flooded by google+ games notifications.

Hope you like my google plus games post.

Google Search Top Results Change

Have you tried searching for your favorite blog or website using its domain name/URL via Google recently?

I tried and I liked the result 🙂

I am not sure what this display is called (too lazy to research for it) and when did Google change it but it is a welcome change.

I tried other blogger-friends’ site and most searches returned this kind of display results.

And we love it 🙂

Want Some Google+ Invites?

Update 2011.07.07 12:30PM (GMT+8)
The capacity limits have been lifted (I think). Google+ is FREE FOR ALL now! Just log into your google/gmail account and activate googleplus or go to plus.google.com

***
I have been hearing stuff about this Google+ for the last couple of days already. But since I was busy with other official stuff, I just ignored it.

Today a blogger friend offered some Google+ invites in our Facebook group, and I immediately ask for an invite (and so did some of my blogger friends). Curiously some of us received the Google+ invites quickly while others are still waiting after some xx number of hours. So I asked some other contacts (read: office dudes and dudettes) and they mentioned that Google have reached the capacity limits already. Hmmm.

They say curiosity killed the cat but… (ooops I forgot the next line so I will stop being poetic here) so I tried again and again and using different channels and skillz (sorry I cannot reveal which channel + skillz worked) and got some confirmation: Google said

We’ve temporarily exceeded our capacity. Please try again soon

Quoting Google Plus Message:

Google+ is in limited Field Trial
Right now, we’re testing with a small number of people, but it won’t be long before the Google+ project is ready for everyone. Leave us your email address and we’ll make sure you’re the first to know when we’re ready to invite more people.

I am not buying that “Google exceeded our capacity” explanation. I was not born yesterday y’ know. I believe this is the “google drool effect” technique (marketing/RD or whatever) and it seems it’s working on me (as a consumer) as I am more intrigued and more eager to grab a Google plus invite now.

I am seeing some reviews from the lucky ones that got their Google+ accounts activated already and majority of it are positive evaluations. On the other side some AV friends at Sophos and GFI have seen some security concerns already via Google+ so this is really getting more exciting (+10 maybe) for me.

But at the end of the day, I believe I can wait for a day or two (or maybe up to three), so Google please don’t fail me on my Google+ invitation request OK?