Boyfriend Tracker, Bang With Friends, Dumbphones Tand More of This Week In Geek
The Week In Geek is our round-up of this week's best under-the-radar tech stories—the stuff we laughed at, were amazed by, and nerded out about.
Google won't let you spy on your significant other anymore.
Well, god damn. The notorious "Boyfriend Tracker" app on Google's App Store had a variety of uses, all of them creepy: you could track your partner's every move and location, pocket-dial yourself from their phone to listen in on conversations, and even get your man's text conversations forwarded to your phone.
The app spread like wildfire in Brazil, because Brazilians "really appreciate having a tool to help them find out whether they’re being cheated on," according to the app's founder. Unfortunately, Google felt that the app crossed the line from "keeping a loving eye on things" to "dangerously aiding stalking," and removed it.
Crafty grandparents create app so their overseas grandkids will hang out with them.
A pair of grandparents with children and grandchildren sprinkled across America felt that they weren't spending enough time hanging out with them; Skype just "wasn't engaging enough" for the kids. So, they created an app called FamZoom, which is awaiting App Store approval and cost the grandparents a cool $300,000 to make.
FamZoom provides a space for separated families to "hang out" online: you can read a book together, doodle, play a board game, shop online, and/or video chat at the same time. "To us, it's a legacy piece," said the grandparents. "To be able to put this kind of thing in front of families who are separated."
Dumbphones are getting prettier.
We'll explain. Smartphones are all the rage, but some people are still keen on "dumbphones:" cheap, basic, WiFi-less devices that let them text and call to their heart's content (and not play Words With Friends, ever.) Cell phone companies have typically concentrated on improving their smartphones, but the people over at Nokia have noticed that there's a serious market for a good-quality dumbphone, as well.
They've created a state-of-the-art phone, whose feature is apparently "being featureless." Very meta.
Bang With Friends is back!
Once upon a time, there was an app called Bang With Friends, which let you select "down to bang" and suggest to your Facebook friends — at least the ones who also used the app — that you were bang-available. Apple felt it was all a bit obscene, and pulled it from the App Store, to cries of horror.
Now it's back, and with a new name: "Down." (Down for what, we wonder?)
And as the summer leaves us this weekend, we'll let Grumpy Cat take you on a trip down memory lane, courtesy of Freemake . (This has nothing to do with tech, in case you were wondering.)