Google Play Vs. Apple’s App Store, Netflix Starts Blocking Users… [Tech News Digest]

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The big difference between Google Play and Apple’s App Store, Netflix blocks the unblockers, Google is trying to serve better ads, get The Witcher 2 for free on Xbox, and the day Darth Vader got attacked by a dog.

Google Is Popular, But Apple Makes Money

You don’t really get to choose which app store you use. If you want to own an iPhone then you simply have to use Apple’s App Store. And if you prefer Android then you’re stuck using Google Play. Both have their advantages and their quirks, but there’s one key difference between the two…

According to metrics company App Annie (via The Next Web), Google Play is much more popular, but Apple’s App Store is much more profitable. Google Play racked up around 200 million downloads in 2015, compared to the 100 million downloads from the App Store. However, conversely, Apple brought in twice as much revenue as Google from app downloads.

Why is this? Well, Android is the biggest mobile operating system on the planet, but its users are likely to be more budget-conscious than their iPhone-owning brethren. So, while the average Android user will download plenty of apps, they’re unlikely to pay for the privilege of doing so. Unlike the average iPhone user, who will gladly pay for the right app. Or is that too simplistic an explanation? Let me know in the comments below.

Netflix Starts Blocking the Unblockers

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As promised, Netflix has started blocking users from accessing content not available in their region. Earlier this month Netflix announced a crackdown on VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) or proxy servers, which can be used to watch Netflix programming not licensed in your country. And that crackdown has now begun.

According to Engadget, customers of Australian unblocker uFlix have lost access to the U.S. catalog. Those formerly able to watch American-only programming through an American server are now being told, “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again”.

We suspect uFlix will be the first of many such services affected in this way. However, uFlix is already “working on a solution to get around these new measures”. And while this is a cat-and-mouse game set to last for years, we believe the crackdown will ultimately fail for various reasons. The biggest of which is that people always find a way when their happiness is at stake.

Google Tackles Bad Ads

Google has released its Better Ads Report for 2015, which details the efforts the company is making to improve the quality of advertising we all see online. Google boasts of having 1,000+ people dedicated to removing bad ads, who between them disabled 780 million ads in 2015. They also stopped 25,000 apps from displaying ads for not following the rules.

Ads labeled as “bad” include those that obscure content, deliver malware, or promote fake goods. Some of the worst offenders are pharmaceutical companies, weight loss scams, and those peddling unwanted software. Google insists it wants to “make sure all the ads you see are helpful and welcome” while promising to “keep fighting to make that a reality”.

I’m fully expecting to get comments complaining that all advertising is bad, and a Web free of adverts would usher in some kind of Utopian future. However, it’s important to remember that if you remove all advertising from the Web, your favorite sites will cease to exist. Because, like it or not, if you kill the revenue you kill the content.

The Witcher 2 Is Free on Xbox

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, which was originally released on the Xbox 360 in 2011, is free on until February 5th. As it’s an Xbox 360 game, you’ll need to download it to that console. However, it has also been added to the list of Xbox One backwards-compatible games.

There’s no explanation why The Witcher 2 is suddenly being given away for free. It could just be a way of ensuring coverage for the backwards-compatibility feature, which the Xbox One has, and the PlayStation 4 does not. It helps that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was one of the best games of 2015.

Darth Vader Is No Match for This Dog

And finally, even Darth Vader has bad days. There was that time when Obi Wan Kenobi cut his legs off and left him for dead. And when Luke Skywalker killed him by cutting off his right hand. And also when he got a lightsaber in the nuts and was then attacked by a dog.

OK, that wasn’t in the Star Wars movies, but it definitely happened. We know because there’s video proof of it on the Internet. And as we all know by now, if it’s on the Internet it must be true. Or it could just be a cosplayer discovering that you should never work with animals. [H/T The Mirror]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Do you prefer Google Play or Apple’s App Store? Has Netflix’ crackdown on proxies affected you yet? What’s the ultimate solution to monetizing the Web? Will you be downloading The Witcher 2? Have you seen a funny video cosplayers? If so, leave a link in the comments!

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Maurizio Pesce via Flickr