Just a heads up, for those of you who are fans of Amazon’s Android Appstore, we’ve just released Reverse Lookup + over there! Expect to see more of our apps there in the coming months.
Update 10:39PM: All issues have now been resolved and service is now back to normal! Thank you for your patience!
Original Entry – Hey everyone,.. just wanted to let you all know that we are currently facing an outage with some of our backend services for Reverse Lookup. We’re working hard to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but until then, you may experience some issues with Reverse Lookup including slow or spotty search results and an inability to read or leave comments.
We expect to have the issue solved within hours, and will update this post as soon as we have the app running properly again.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused!
As you may know, this weekend we published the most significant update to Reverse Lookup ever. Unfortunately, it seems there has been some confusion about the permissions that the app requests, and Android permissions in general.
So please take a moment to read this blog post, and we’ll teach you a few important things to keep in mind when you are reviewing permissions -
1. Permission requests are not generated automatically.
Whenever we see or hear a discussion about Android permissions, it seems there are always people who assume that the permissions list presented during install is generated based on what the app tries to do.
This is actually false. The permissions that you are asked to approve during install are specifically requested by the developer. If the developer fails to request a needed permission, the app will simply crash when that code attempts to run.
With that being said, it’s generally bad practice for a developer to request unneeded permissions, but they can if they want. In some cases it’s difficult to avoid – some apps are written using third party frameworks that simply request everything(or at least more than what is needed). In this case, the developer may not be able to reduce the list to just what’s needed.
2. Don’t judge a permission by it’s group
When you install an Android app in the latest versions of the Play Store, you are shown a summarized list of permission groups.
In the image below, it looks like we want access to your whole phone, and that’s understandably creepy. Calendar access? Photos? What?
But if you expand each section(image below), you can see the actual permissions we are asking for, and things start to make much more sense. You should do this for any app you install rather than just assuming it’s asking for complete access to each group.
In the case of Reverse Lookup specifically, here’s what the permissions are actually used for:
- Find Accounts – used when creating contacts so they can be attached to your Google account
- Read Contacts - used so that we can omit people you already know from the main screen of the app
- Modify Contacts – self explanatory – so the app can create a contact from found results if you choose that option
- Read Call Log – used to generate the call list on the main screen – this permission wasn’t necessary in the past, but the method we used to query the call log has long been deprecated and has begun causing problems on some newer devices.
- Directly dial phone numbers – The app contains a function to dial a number directly from the results screen
- test access to protected storage/modify contents of USB storage – required by embedded Google maps to store temporary cache files on your SD card in order to improve performance
- Read Phone Status – required for the ability to show a notification when receiving a phone call from an unknown number
- Network access – needed to reach the call databases
- View Network Connections – needed to check for internet connectivity
Recently removed permissions:
- Location access – inadvertently requested in the past but was never used
- Vibration – vibration functions were tested in some early test versions but never in a production release. Permission was left in until recently.
We know permissions are a scary issue for many users, and we always want to be as transparent as possible about the ones we use. We hope that this explanation has shined some light on how permissions work and specifically how and why we are using them.
If you have any further questions, as always, feel free to shoot us an email.
The next update to Reverse Lookup contains a lot of changes, and we wanted to be sure we test it a little more thoroughly than usual before releasing it to the Play Store.
..So we’re happy to announce that the first Beta will be available within the next few hours.
Want to try it out early? All you have to do is join our beta tester Google Group and then follow this link to opt-in: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.esmobile.reverselookupfree
Keep in mind that the point of this test is to see what works and what doesn’t, and while we’re already pretty happy with the stability of the app, there’s always the possibility to encounter bugs. So please bear with us and let us know if something in the app breaks so we can fix it before launch.
We’re expecting to move forward rapidly from this point, so expect another update or two in the beta channel before we launch. We’re primarily working on aesthetics and general UX from here on out, but of course we’ll be trying to eliminate any bugs we discover as well.
Oh, one last thing.. this is a completely open beta so please feel free to share those links with anyone who may be interested.
Our latest game, Sin City Video Poker, is now available on Google Play. We worked hard to make this game reminiscent of the video poker machines you’ve probably dumped thousands of dollars into over the years, and we think you’ll have a lot of fun whether you are a casual player looking to kill a few minutes on a bus or a seasoned gambler who wants to practice their methods without risking real money.
We will also have an in-browser version of the game ready shortly, so check back soon for that if you don’t have an Android device.
Also, from now until the end of February, anyone who gets a Royal Flush and submits a screenshot of the unlocked achievement will receive an ad-free copy of the game. Use the contact page to submit your screenshot.
Well, if you’ve made it here, you now know that esMobile has become Nomadic Ratio. We didn’t change staff or anything like that.. we simply changed our name for better visibility.
So, with that change, we’ve decided to leave our previous home at Tumblr, and move everything over to here.
While you’re visiting, be sure to check out the Sudoku game we just launched. You can play it in your browser or on nearly any Android device. Our intent is to launch a few more games in 2014, so please keep checking back.
And of course, we continue to develop and support Reverse Lookup, which is nearing it’s 1 millionth download.
Thanks as always for your continued support, and please keep checking back for more updates!
Hi all. Just had a back-and-forth with a user who was having issues with the app crashing on his Razr phone after receiving Verizon’s 4.1.2 update. Apparantly this update causes many issues with the device, one being that some apps actually lose their permissions!
The user was able to solve the issue by uninstalling Reverse Lookup and then reinstalling. This forces the phone to re-accept the needed permissions.
This information will be added to the FAQ as well.
Reverse Lookup+ is now 50% off until Monday 11/26 on the Play Store.