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Google bans predatory personal loan apps

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Google has banned services that offer predatory personal loans from the Play Store. The change was quietly revealed on the company’s ‘restricted content’ policy page, which now lists high-interest loan services among the types of apps no longer allowed in the store, including certain payday loan apps, ones offering access to peer-to-peer loans, title loans, and similar.

Many financial apps are available through the Google Play Store, including ones offered by banks and third-party apps used for investments, money management, budgeting, and similar. In addition, Google allows apps related to car loans, student loans, mortgages, and revolving credit, which includes things like credit cards.

Going forward, however, the company no longer allows personal loan apps for loans that come with a 36-percent or greater APR; as well, the company requires apps to disclose the service’s loan APRs, as well as the minimum and maximum repayment period for the products and an example of the total cost of a loan.

Google is also banning apps that offer personal loans that must be fully paid back within 60 days, something often referred to as short-term or ‘payday’ loans. The restriction covers a variety of apps, including ones that merely link to third-party lenders offering these products.

These apps join the Google Play Store’s growing list of restricted content. Google already prohibits a number of other financial apps, including ones that enable users to mine cryptocurrency and to trade binary options. Beyond finance, the company also restricts certain types of gambling apps, ones involving illegal activities, and more.

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TikTok owner ByteDance plans to launch music streaming

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(Reuters) – TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co Ltd is in talks with big music labels – Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music – for global licensing deals to include their songs on its new music subscription service, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

ByteDance is looking to launch its music streaming as soon as next month, initially in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Brazil, before a future opening in the United States, the FT reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

In addition to on-demand music, ByteDance’s app will include a library of short video clips for listeners to search through and synch to songs as they listen, the report added.

ByteDance has not given a name to its music app yet and pricing remains unclear, although it is expected to cost less than the $10 a month charged by Spotify Technology SA, Apple Inc and others in the United States, according to the report.

The company was not immediately available for comment on Sunday.

(Reporting by Anurag Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Apple announces press event on Dec. 2

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Apple will host an event on Dec. 2

Apple just announced a press event that it will hold at 4 p.m. ET on Dec. 2 in New York City. The event will be focused on “honoring our favorite apps and games of 2019.” A tagline on the invite says “Loved by millions. Created by the best.”

Apple typically issues a press release detailing its favorite apps and games of the year annually, but this time there may be some sort of awards ceremony instead of just a release. New products are not expected at the event.

Reports had suggested Apple was planning to hold some sort of press conference in October, although the company ultimately announced and released products instead of holding a splashy event. Recent announcements included the new 16-inch MacBook Pro and new AirPods Pro with noise cancellation.

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Samsung’s Star Wars-themed Galaxy Note 10 Plus

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With the impending December 20th release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker looming like a nearby Death Star, Samsung has announced a Star Wars-themed Galaxy Note 10 Plus that’s giving off some major Kylo Ren energy. It will be on sale in the US on December 13th for $1,299.99.

The phone looks really slick. I love the red lightsaber-style S Pen. It’s a black Note 10 Plus with a First Order emblem on the back and red trim on the buttons and around the camera. In the Kylo Ren-themed box, you’ll also get black Galaxy Buds with a red inner casing, a Ren-themed leather phone case, and a Ren-themed “metal badge.”


Samsung says the phone will come with exclusive Star Wars-themed wallpapers, shutdown animations, icons, and sounds.

With a price tag of $1,299.99, it’s a little more expensive than a base Galaxy Note 10 Plus — which you can buy on Samsung’s website at a sale price of $839.99 — but the extra Star Wars-themed goodies might make the extra cost worth it.

Samsung says bundle will be available in Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UAE, the UK, and the US. In select markets, it will be available starting on December 10th, which is a bit sooner than the US release date.

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