Verizon Expands Android Carrier Bloatware, Spyware With AppFlash Search Tool

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The last thing that Verizon customers were probably asking for was the addition of yet another app to invade their Android smartphone. But that is just what the nation's #1 wireless carrier is doing with the inclusion of AppFlash, which will gain prominent positioning on the home screens of Verizon smartphones (sans the iPhone, of course).

AppFlash, which was developed by Evie, allows you to discover new apps, browse for music, check out movie showings, or search for restaurants in the area. It will also give you listing of frequently used apps, and provides a universal search feature that is able to comb through all of your installed apps.


In essence, AppFlash doesn’t appear to be capable of doing anything that the Google search bar isn’t already capable of achieving on Android devices. So why should customers be subjected to another superfluous app? To make matters worse, it doesn’t appear that you can uninstall AppFlash completely without rooting your device, something that is beyond the scope of your everyday smartphone user (although you can disable it within settings).

However, once you start digging into AppFlash’s privacy policy, you start to see the real reason why Verizon is pushing the software on its millions of customers. The privacy policy reads:

We collect information about your device and your use of the AppFlash services. This information includes your mobile number, device identifiers, device type and operating system, and information about the AppFlash features and services you use and your interactions with them…

AppFlash information may be shared within the Verizon family of companies, including companies like AOL who may use it to help provide more relevant advertising within the AppFlash experiences and in other places, including non-Verizon sites, services, and devices.

It’s all about collecting as much information on users as possible for monetary gain, although Verizon and Evie are making it seem as though AppFlash provides some sort of benefit to the end-user.

“Ninety percent of our smartphone users love their smartphone and love to get things done — they just want to know how to get them done simpler and easier,” said T.J. Vitolo, director of product management for Verizon, in an interview with TechCrunch (which is owned by Verizon).

While Verizon is the first train stop for AppFlash, Evie is looking to eventually spread to other carriers, with Evie CEO David Zhao stating, “We have no contractual exclusivity with Verizon, but they are our first and most important partner. We are committed to making this work with Verizon first before other carrier/OEM partners.”

(Top Image Sourced From Mike Mozart/flickr)