Google removes Adblock Fast app from Play Store, others to follow?

google, samsung, browser, google play, adblock, ad blocker, samsung internet browser, adblocker, content blocker extension api, samsung browser, adblock fast, rocketship apps

Samsung earlier this week added support for ad blocking via its new content blocker extension API. What that means is third-party developers can now create apps that, when installed, block ads when using Samsung Internet Browser, the company’s own mobile web browser.

As you can imagine, third-party developers jumped at the opportunity and have since published ad-blocking apps on Google Play. Google, however, isn’t terribly thrilled with this development and is reportedly pulling such apps from its mobile store.

One of those yanked apps is Adblock Fast from startup Rocketship Apps. The app shot up the free charts in the Productivity category, amassing more than 50,000 installs and a 4.25 star rating this week before being pulled.

Rocketship Apps CEO Brian Kennish told TechCrunch that Google said the app was removed for violating “Section 4.4” of the Android Developer Distribution Agreement. That section states that developers aren’t allowed to publish apps that interfere with the operation of other services or apps.

In this case, Samsung has granted developers permission to block apps in its mobile browser but that apparently doesn’t matter to Google. Of course, that’s not surprising considering the bulk of Google’s revenue comes from its advertising business.

Interestingly enough, similar ad blockers like Crystal for Samsung Internet and Adblock Plus (Samsung Browser) are still available on Google Play. It’s unclear if they will remain live or if Google simply hasn’t got around to pulling them down yet.

Microsoft buys excellent predictive keyboard maker SwiftKey for $250 million

microsoft, android, smartphone, keyboard, acquisition, swiftkey

If you’ve ever been frustrated with your smartphone’s shoddy keyboard, you’ve probably been recommended SwiftKey as a replacement due to its excellent prediction engine. According to a report from The Financial Times, Microsoft has recognized the quality of SwiftKey’s product, and has acquired the company for $250 million.

The buyout will net founders Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock upwards of $30 million each, which is a pretty decent sum for a product they created only eight years ago.

SwiftKey has reportedly been installed on more than 300 million devices worldwide, either through a free download from the Play Store or App Store, or via pre-installations on some devices. While SwiftKey does make some money from in-app purchases, they’ve also licensed their technology to other companies for their own stock keyboards or other applications.

Microsoft appears most interested in the artificial intelligence technology behind SwiftKey, which allows the keyboard to make incredibly accurate predictive text suggestions. Considering Microsoft’s own Windows Phone keyboard is pretty solid in the prediction department, the company probably has other interesting plans for SwiftKey’s underlying technology.

With the acquisition of SwiftKey set to be finalized next week, it will join a growing list of app purchases by Microsoft, including other productivity tools like to-do list app Wunderlist, email app Accompli, and calendar app Sunrise.