Google Fi - Porting question from ex-googler

  • Since I used to work for Google, I got in touch with the fi dev team, and there working through the paces to authorize the fi app for open store. I doubt it will be as simple as selecting Ubuntu from the compiler dropdown but there working on it slowly (because of covid 19). Is there any advice I should relay to them on porting the app so Google Fi subscribers can officially use the phone?

    I'm trying to get anbox setup in the meantime but can't quite find a good guide on it yet, but hopefully soon. Would be nice if Anbox was simply in the open store.

  • @Kaelas

    Anbox has limited internet access (some apps have it, some particularly browsers don't) but play store is not enabled in Anbox. So, don't know how that would work on Ubuntu Touch, with or without Anbox. But YES PLEASE! and Google Voice if at all possible.

  • Well one step at a time. I used to work for google, getting them to get things onto a new system is like pulling teeth on a tiger. Fine if you know how to do it and are trained in it, might as well not try if you don't unfortunately. It was one of the reasons I left LOL. But yea if there's any advice on the port I can give them it might speed it up.

  • @Flohack Oh great wizard, I beg of thee, bestow thy knowledge and magic on this traveler....

  • Is this really being contemplated? Under what program can this endeavor be justified to management? The UTtouch market is vanishingly small in comparison to the Duopoly.

    Not to rain on anyone's parade here, but I also do not see how this proposition could be made to work from a technical perspective.

    One of the ways Google Fi helps the customer save money as I understand it, is by the seemless handover between mobile data and wifi. The reliability of this handover varies from device to device on UTouch.

    Also, I doubt there are currently API's in place to allow third party applications to control the network connection in this way while simultaneously respecting Ubuntu Touch's application lifetime cycle scheme.

    Not to speak of how problematic it might be in the perceptions of many patrons of Ubuntu Touch to grant access on such a low level to a component from a known data gathering entity.

  • I'd be happy with a Google voice app (which is all data/wifi) and especially a Duo or Meet app. There shouldn't be much low level integration required for that.

    Webber could allow a Google Meet web app, but UT's browser is not supported. Same with Duo, Chat, etc.

    I can do hangouts via web app but it is clumsy and camera is not available because qt needs to be updated to support it.

    Anbox could also do all of this, but it is sandboxed preventing Mic and Camera access. I know it's possible because it is on x86, but Anbox on Arm is new and undeveloped. I know developers are working on this.

    The only thing lacking from my Google Fi experience now is that seamless hand-off between LTE and Wifi during calls, and the multi-network handover. I only seem to get T-mobile towers on my Nexus 6P, despite it being capable of tri-network. Or maybe I should say Bi-network these days. I've been wondering if Google would replace Sprint with another network now that Sprint is T-mobile.

  • @arubislander the handover isn't needed for simply running on google fi. However if google decides to work on that they will work on that. They'd rather not discriminate against independent company phones, and do want anyone to be able to use their service.

  • @Kaelas Please contact me on Telegram, I need more infos to be able help you. Like, I never heard about Google Fi, so plz gimme a rundown first ^^

  • @Flohack Google Fi is googles cell phone service. And I can't use telegram, as I'm having to work from home we have our business firewall regulations, I can only use skype and hangouts pretty much.

  • @Kaelas can you use XMPP or IRC?

  • @Flohack said in Google Fi - Porting question from ex-googler:


    IRC no, xmpp the tech team is checking to see if its secure enough right now.

  • @Flohack
    From Wikipedia
    VoIP services
    Google Voice permits Voice Over IP (VoIP) as a beta from both the web and Android clients. It formerly supported XMPP signaling but no longer does.[69] However, it has been reported that at one time some users could receive calls with their Google Voice accounts via the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)

    I know It has been hooked to Ekiga, and I think Telegram in the past. It's beyond my skillset to know how to hook it up to Linphone or build a native click app. But, it would really help solve the VoLTE problem that has now escalated in the US market.

  • @Flohack gota wait till monday+ next week. do you have a suggested client for XMPP?

  • @Kaelas I dont know what OS you are using. I wills end you my XMPP address by private message, but I will be on holiday from Mon onwards for 2 weeks. So it might take some time for me to get back on this 🙂

  • (Please tell me if I'm speaking out of turn here) - isn't th point of a privacy respecting phone to escape from the clutches of Google (and the other data gathering corporate giants)? If people still love Google services, why not just use Android?

    I may have missed the point here, but the concept seemed quiet abstract. But then again, I did find in open-store an app for Farcebook too! 🤑

    Although , does UT also attract users with no concerns over privacy, but just a love of Linux?

    Sorry myquestion is less technical, more philosophical, don't mean to go off topic, it just made me think.

  • @scottbouch I was wondering the same thing.

  • We are an open platform. If someone WANTS to use service that have a side agenda he is free to do so. I would not sleep well if our philosophy was to BLOCK things just based on our limited opinion. So, any things like Google calendar, facebook web app or twitter web app are personal choices of the user.

    So also Google Fi would be something that people WANT to use, it would not be a preinstalled thing. Then, on the other side, it needs probably low-level changes. Until we know more about the requirements I cannot tell you whats in the basket 🙂

  • I do not hate Google, and I do use several of their services. I use Google-Fi specifically because I travel to areas that do not have T-mobile service, and Google Fi phones have the ability to dynamically switch between three networks automatically without needing a second sim or paying three carriers. When I used to travel overseas, I never had to buy a local sim, or get charged extra to use a local network. My phone just worked anywhere i went, same number, same price, no additional fees or set up. That is a cell service that i have not seen anywhere else.

    I also very much enjoy the abilty of Google Fi to be able to forward my phone/video calls and sms/mms to any device i'm using whether it be phone, tablet, computer, or smartwatch. I'm always available to my family who are all in different states and countries. That is really important when none of your family lives close by.

    Why I love Ubuntu Touch, is that I can enjoy those services, and ignore the ones I don't use or care for. I'd just like a little more access to those services that I do use on UT. Most of what I use can be enabled with an update to QT allowing camera acces to the browser, and push notifications to the desktop. Or a hook to a click app that would allow the same access - to google voice, meet, duo. The tri-network thing is probably too much to ask for on UT. But it's worth asking about.

  • @scottbouch I use google fi for a reason. Our phones on google fi are for a start up, which uses Google business. Our play with Google business is unlimited data on drive and emails. Were an RnD company and never had a problem with drive/etc on security. Honestly what you have to remember is Google as a whole is actually several subsidiaries, not all of them are as bad as the others. Android and google search engine, sell things you do. This has not been a problem with their e-mails, or data storage, that part of the company takes privacy seriously enough to have told the FBI on investigations to shove off if there wasn't enough evidence for google drive/email to agree to data transfers to them.

    Our company has all search engines by our google admin policy account to use duckduckgo for search engines, and were working on getting away from android/iOS for the purposes of keeping company data secure. But the price for google fi, and reliability we simply can't argue with. Not to mention our backbone of our network uses a interesting segregation. IPv4 = low security devices, IPv6 = medium security devices, and high security devices connect via our own ToR v3 backbone that isn't connectable by the public.

    Now as far as how Google Fi works, the app they use allows you to use Google voice servers when your connected to WiFi using OAuth2 instead of the cellular network. There are two reasons for this, 1) no matter what OS you use, if you use the cell towers, anyone can track you at any time from security flaws in the SS7 network, 2) it reduces the load Google pays for on the cell network, and there passing that savings to you. Instead a heartbeat is all that goes through the cell network encase you loose wifi signal to transfer the signal to the cell network. It uses that same heartbeat system so when you using data, when your at a wifi you trust, it will use that data immediately without disrupting download.

    Now the problem is most people don't know how to secure their phones, google fi is still perfectly trackable unless you turn off E911 when not using 911 option in android. E911 is something that UBPorts has to add in, without it, if you dial 911, and say can't breathe or talk correctly, emergency dispatchers don't know where you are. Disabling E911 on android turns it off when 911 call is not in use. This actually is a great way of securing an android phone as the tower no longer receives your GPS information every heartbeat. The E911 system is designed for safety, but it was designed to be used by the 911 system. This system doesn't handle encryption well for a reason... Some states have 911 operators using windows 95-98 etc, as there underfunded. As such, 911 can't use modern encryption methods but still need to know where to send people.

    The other reason for E911 for instance, is swatting. The cell towers no matter who you use for legal purposes keep an encrypted database of the last 3 months of all cell phone gps data. Since not many know to secure their phones by turning off E911 except emergency purposes, many of these Swatters used burner phones.... from their house. And were tracked back by this data for misuse of the 911 system calling in a fake report.

    And frankly, data gathering on civilians is far too easy. It doesn't matter what site you post an image on, your Exif data is on your images and videos when you take them on any device by law. There's a reason for this, like the three girls that wanted to join the cartel that took a video of them stabbing another woman to death down in mexico. The video contained their cell phone data as the made by, gps coordinates of where the video was taken, etc. Just like how if you look carefully at any document you print, you'll find little marks all over it. This is the serial of your printer and other data so if you were to make designs for a bomb you used, or a ransom note, even what you print can be traced.

    There was allot of outcry when the FBI released information on Xkeyscore. An open source intelligence system. But that is the thing, open source. It tracked everyone by looking at images posted publicly, and grabbing the exif data. With that the system was able to track many things about everyone. Everyone was upset when they found this out..... You know, that they had been posting all of their lives on facebook and come to find out that's a dumb idea for privacy LOL.

    If you don't want your data tracked by google. The settings let you opt out of data collection. So if your worried about that, just turn the data collection off. And if any company, which are all required to let you opt out of data collection were to steal your data? Honestly since its against the law, a 3 month law student is all you need to file and get allot of money from whoever does it. To quote to the best of my ability my talk with a higher up at Google, "We've tried having an option in android for our data collection to be opted out of when you first set up android. Apparently no one bothers to read and simply tap the check mark box to opt out. So we tried in another version where you had to opt in. And in the options as clearly defined as common sense should allow, they didn't just tap on the box to allow data collection for error reports, they opted into it all."

    Morals of the story:

    1. Your security and privacy is what you make of it by understanding the devices you use, and the websites you visit.
    2. We still don't have a patch for the human bug called 'stupid', suggest rewrite of firmware from the ground up.

  • @Kaelas C'mon, everybody uses Teleports/Telegrams, but which one of us knows what happens with our conversations on their servers?!...

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