The Scoop

A blog about what's new and changing on sacbee.com

April 4, 2011
Sac Bee Android app now available

We are very pleased to announce that our Sac Bee Android App is now available for downloading from the Android Marketplace (click here to download).

Our latest mobile app provides Android users with a comprehensive news reader containing easy access to the latest Sac Bee stories, blog posts and columnists, all organized by topic and section.

The app also features an engaging way to view our photography (including Day in Pictures, local photos and sports photos), local movie times and weather, as well as the ability to share our content via Facebook, Twitter and email.

With an increasing number of our readers accessing Sac Bee via their mobile devices, this latest app release from The Sacramento Bee joins the already-released iPhone app and mobile-friendly website. It is part of our ongoing effort to enhance how we make our content available to our readers.

Next on our radar: iPad and Blackberry apps. Stay tuned.

Update (04/06/11):
Some readers have stated concerns over the permissions required by the Android application. Following is a detailed explanation of each permission with detail on how we use it. If you're new to Android, you will begin to notice that it is common for applications to request a long list of permissions. Also, some permissions are rather broad, so we have to ask for, e.g., "Phone Calls" when we only need to determine a unique identifier for the type of Android device you are using. At The Sacramento Bee, we take your privacy very seriously and will always adhere to the standards set in our company's privacy policy.

* Hardware controls: Take pictures and videos
This feature was in our original release. Our development partner includes this for photo and video sharing, but it is not currently used by our version of the application. This should be removed in the next few days. We will never monitor what a user is viewing.

* Your location
Both location permissions are used to target advertisements within the application. In the future this will also be used to automatically customize movie and weather information. We are not storing your personally identifiable location information.

* Network communication
This permission allows the application to access the Internet to retrieve content.

* Phone calls
We use this permission to create our own unique device identifier necessary for the secured delivery of content and to measure standard Web analytics, such as visits and unique visits data. We don't actually collect and store your device's ID, but perform a one-way hash on your device's ID to eliminate the ability to tie the unique identifier back to any individual user's device.

* Storage
This is necessary for storing any custom settings you set within the application such as font size or Twitter and Facebook access. This also allows you to save stories and read while not connected to the Internet.

* System tools (prevent device from sleeping)
This one's a little technical, so we're quoting the developer: "We found that when content update transactions (network activity that leads to cache writes) are interrupted by the device going to sleep, the cache can become corrupted. We'll temporarily prevent the device from sleeping during such transactions until they've finished or can be safely canceled."

* Hardware controls (control vibrator)
This feature was in our original release. This is for future push notification of breaking stories functionality. We also expect this to be removed in the next few days, until this feature is fully operational.

* Network communication (view network/Wi-Fi state)
This lets the application know when it is connected to the Internet and able to update with new content properly.



About The Scoop

The Scoop is a blog where the managers of sacbee.com talk about new initiatives and our plans for sacbee.com. You can reach us by at the e-mail addresses below or you can comment on our postings.

Tom Negrete is managing editor of The Bee and oversees the daily work of journalists who produce news content for the newspaper and sacbee.com. Negrete, who has been at The Bee since 1994, has served as assistant managing editor for business and sports, sports editor and assistant city editor. E-mail him at tnegrete@sacbee.com or reach him at (916) 321-1171.

Seán McMahon is The Bee's Director of Digital Media, overseeing the interactive efforts of the company. His e-mail is smcmahon@sacbee.com.

Linda Gonzales is digital team leader for Sacbee.com and has been an editor at The Bee since 1995. You can email her at lgonzales@sacbee.com.

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