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Hugo Barra leaving Xiaomi, stays as an advisor


Well, this is unexpected. Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s VP for international business is leaving the company but will stay as an advisor to the company. In his thank you post on Facebook, Hugo Barra announced that due to personal reason he is leaving Xiaomi and moving back to Silicon Valley.

Xiaomi’s President Bin Lin in his reply thanked Hugo for his contribution and goes on to announce senior VP Xiang Wang will take over from him as VP for international business.


Hugo Barra made the news when in 2013 he left Google to join a new startup company at the time, Xiaomi. The company, having a good track record in China is was trying to assert themselves into US market and the arrival of Hugo Barra gave Xiaomi the exposure they need in the West.

Meitu defends photo app, claims user data only for analytics


meitu app

A Meitu spokesperson has issued a final statement in regards to a controversial issues surrounding the photo app.

The company explains that Meitu app only asks for permission similar to those other photo editing apps in the market. The company goes on by saying “Meitu’s sole purpose for collecting the data is to optimize app performance, its effects and features and to better understand our consumer engagement with in-app advertisements. Meitu DOES NOT sell user data in any form. As Meitu is headquartered in China, many of the services provided by app stores for tracking are blocked. To get around this, Meitu employs a combination of third-party and in-house data tracking systems to make sure the user data tracked is consistent. Furthermore, the data collected is sent securely, using multilayer encryption to servers equipped with advanced firewall and IDS, IPS protection to block external attacks.”

Meitu also explains why the need of so many permissions as below:

  • App Store: Meitu follows Apple developer guidelines and terms rigorously
  • Google Play: The permissions requested by Meitu are similar to those users will find with most popular photo editing apps
  • Offsite Server: As Meitu is headquartered in China, many of the services provided by app stores for tracking are blocked. To get around this Meitu uses a combination of third-party and in-house data tracking systems, they’ve developed to make sure the tracked data is consistent. For example:
    • MAC address/IMEI number: In some cases, Meitu cannot get both info at the same time and in some cases different devices even have the same IMEI number, so we combine these two pieces of data into one unique ID to track user devices
    • LAN IP address is used to prevent business fraud
    • SIM card country code is used for a rough location detection
    • GPS and network location are used for detecting countries and regions for Geo-based operation and advertisement placement
    • Phone carrier information is used as a standard tracking channel for analytics, just like the other third-party analytics tools (e.g., Flurry)
    • RUN_AT_START: because the Google service (including GCM) is not available in mainland China, Meitu uses a third-party push notification service called Getui (www.getui.com)
  • Jail Breaking: This is a requirement from both WeChat SDK (Meitu’s sharing module) and for advertising to check if a handset is jailbroken. Meitu implements this verification process because jailbroken devices can manipulate and modify the app source code, thus resulting in commercial settlement errors. Meitu also requires such process to provide protection against malicious modification of the source code and illegal API usage.
  • Offsite Servers: user data is sent ONLY to Meitu. The two reported domain names belong to the top domain name “meitustat.com,” which is owned by Meitu. This can be confirmed via “whois”
    • rabbit.tg.meitu.com ->
    • rabbit.meitustat.com ->

In the essence, Meitu vows that no user data is sold and there are security measure to keep them safe.


Most downloaded iOS apps of 2016



Now that 2016 is behind us it won’t hurt to reminisce about the popular apps from last year. Over the holidays a few gaming apps received a massive rush in traffic, earning them a few of the coveted top 10 spots.

Even with that surge, however, no matter what way you look at it social media apps dominated this year- not much has changed from last year. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are leaders in both lists with Pandora and Netflix appealing to both audiences, too.

Top 10 Most Downloaded Apps from the Apple App Store 2016:

  • Pokemon Go – Developed by Niantic, this mobile augmented reality game had an incredible surge midyear when it was released and another over the holidays. Pokemon Go was just one of Nintendo’s forays into the app market this year. It obviously panned out.
  • Snapchat – A picture-sharing chat app and the top rival of Instagram, was purchased late in the year by Facebook for $5 billion. Its popularity shows no sign of slowing down.
  • Messenger (Facebook) – Quietly sitting near the top of both lists is Messenger, a chat app provided by Facebook. It’s been ranking highly since it was released and should retain its place as long as Facebook remains popular.
  • Instagram – An image-sharing app. In a similar spot as it was last year, Instagram remains in spite of Snapchat’s growing audience of devotees.
  • Facebook – Leading the way in San Francisco mobile app development, Facebook allows you to keep track of and connect with friends, family, and general acquaintances of all stripes. Reviews are improving even with the changes it has gone through over the course of this year.
  • YouTube – Even with YouTube seeing its first ever year of viewership decline, it’s still a massive platform with plenty of exposure both through the web, and it’s streaming app. The decline was mostly focused on big name channels with plenty of new options growing in spite of the overall trend. If you want to grow your YouTube channel, there’s still a chance to earn massive ad revenue.
  • Google Maps – Surprisingly, Google Maps is a top download on the iOS list but not the Play Store list. This app offers it’s users the ability to look at maps and find directions.
  • Pandora – A free music streaming app that adjusts to your tastes. A personalized radio station for every user and mood. Includes ads unless you choose to upgrade for a small fee.
  • Netflix – Video streaming for when you are away from the couch. The Netflix app is a new addition to the top ten list with the promise of becoming a staple.
  • Super Mario Run – A late addition to the list due to its last minute release. Dedicated fans of this video game franchise downloaded this app so many times over the holidays that it beat out some other apps that had all year to gather downloads.

These apps make the top 10 list out of 2.2 million other apps. Notice the top 10 most downloaded ios apps are for pure entertainment and social purposes. Which means, people want to escape to digital entertainment as well as connect with family and friends. Will they keep their momentum coming into 2017 or will they fade down paving way for other new apps in the horizon?

In any cases, which app is your favorite?

Meitu photo app is gathering a whole lot of sensitive user data


One of the trending app in 2017 is an anime face manipulation photo app by Meitu. You might’ve seen a well known figure being portrayed as an cute, adorable anime character. Take “kawaii-trump” below for an example.


The free photo-editing app, although has been around in China since 2008, only recently caught on with users and viral on social medias thanks to people doing anime makeovers to characters such as Donal Trump and Harry Potter’s Severus Snape.

The app is available for both iOS and Android, allows you you to take selfies or upload pictures from your camera roll. It then apply filters which portrayed you or others in the image as an adorable anime character.

Security Concern

If you’re one of the users using Meitu, I would now recommend you to UNINSTALL the app due to security concern. Apparently, rather than seeking permissions to access the phone’s camera and camera roll, the app went further seeking a whole lot more permission before it can be installed and due to this, an investigation has been made. As it turned out this app was found to be sending IMEI numbers to several China-based digital locations.


Meitu in reply says it will only use customers’ data for identity protection, service upgrades, criminal investigations and customer feedback and the IMSI number that is sent to Meitu in the Android version of the app could be used to track users across the web, as they use other apps and browsers.

“I’d like to assure you that we work closely with Apple and Google on every product release and we follow privacy policies rigorously. I tend to think our engineers are smart enough and don’t have to use stolen codes.” – Meitu spokerperson

To users, please keep vigilant when installing app on your phone. Your device house a lot of sensitive data, be wary for any app requesting irrelevant permissions on your phone. For you photo app addict out there, it is time to find another safe photo app alternative.