One of the best things about Android is the sense of community among its users. We are sharing locations with each other, updating our status in social networks, messaging each other all day long. The sense of community doesn’t end there, though. How many times have you taken time to help a fellow Android user? Whether it is for simple things like recommending an app, or spending hours trying to root a device, I have noticed that we are always there for each other. Just how far are we willing to go for the Android community, though? Would you be willing to share all of your smartphone habits for an Android usage research?
This is exactly what PhD student Daniel Wagner at the University of Cambridge (UK) is doing, and anyone with an Android device can be part of this research. Upon becoming part of this project, the participant would be accepting to share information about device usage with the University. This information goes quite deep, as it includes things like how often the phone is charged, numbers and length of calls/texts, which applications are being used, which networks the device is connected to, usage of WiFi and bluetooth, and even the device’s settings.
These are only some of the things that the University would have access to, can you imagine what else they can find out? Android smartphones are not only powerful, but they hold powerful information. I personally have credit card information, access to all of my networks, schedules, calendar info, etc., so I am very careful about who I allow to access my device. In a world of hackers, stalkers, and “e-thieves,” many Android users hesitate to even share their location with Google. Is the University of Cambridge doing anything to keep people safe?
We know we can’t provide the participants with a guarantee of anonymity, however we do remove strongly identifying data before publicly releasing it, and we are giving participants information about what we collect and the means to opt-out retroactively. If the data collection concerns or worries you, it is easy to have your data removed permanently.Dr. Alastair BeresfordUniversity of Cambridge
As Dr. Beresford mentions, you are not exactly imprisoned with the research after you agree to give them your information. In an effort to make participants more comfortable, the University gives them the option to opt out of this project if they feel like certain data can be harmful in any way. Users have continuous access to all of the data that the University is recording, and no information is made public until 3 months of being part of the research. Before this 3-month period, one can simply opt out of the study, and all private data will be removed, along with any record of participation.
What would one gain out of this? There is no immediate satisfaction, but this study will be made available to everyone at no price. Manufacturers could take this data into consideration when making your next favorite device. Such information would help manufacturers optimize devices’ performance and battery life, based on the way we use smartphones as a whole. Aside from helping the Android community, participants could also improve their device management, as they would be able to access this information at any time. This aids you in improving your battery life, which is a big issue in the Android universe, as we all know.
Currently, there are more than a thousand people participating in this study, which is little compared to how many Android devices are being activated daily (about 400,000 a day). Regardless, it is good to see that Android studies are now starting to show up, as they can substantially improve devices to come. If you trust the University of Cambridge with your information, you can go ahead and sign up at http://deviceanalyzer.cl.cam.ac.uk and become part of this research. Anyone out there willing to get in on the action? Would you guys be comfortable sharing your private info with university students?
Via: Android and Me