SwiftKey Updates App And Re-Enables Cloud Account Sync

SwiftKey have updated the Android keyboard application and their servers in order to resume the prediction database synchronization that was disabled at the end of July. However, simply downloading and installing the updated keyboard application is not enough to immediately resume the synchronisation procezs: some users are reporting that it takes several hours before SwiftKey's cloud services resume. SwiftKey have explained that there have been several changes behind the scene and it may take some time before all customers' sync service is resumed.

The cloud sync service was suspended after reports that some users' word prediction databases started containing strange (to them) email addresses and other words taken from strangers' cloud sync accounts. The idea behind the cloud sync service is that SwiftKey is able to access various accounts - such as Google, Facebook and Twitter - to see what common expressions and phrases customers use. It then populates the prediction database with these entries and this in turn is one of SwiftKey's tricks in order to enhance the typing experience. SwiftKey point out that the service does not download a copy of your information but merely has access to look through it in order to build the database.

However, our keyboards are one of our most trusted on-device applications because the majority of applications use the device keyboard to handle input, from typing in email addresses to entering passwords and PIN codes. This is the reason why some especially sensitive applications include their own keyboard, such as banking applications. The implications of SwiftKey's cloud sync accounts being mixed up or the underlying database being merged with others could potentially be far reaching as the service has access to potentially sensitive information. After discovering the issue, SwiftKey moved quickly to disable the sync service. It's not yet clear what exactly went wrong, but now that the problem has been found and resolved, SwiftKey are rolling out another update (to to re-enable the sync service. Once the sync service has been re-enabled and all devices using the keyboard have updated to the new version, SwiftKey users will have their word prediction databases updated. This might take longer than usual as SwiftKey has become a very popular keyboard application and many users will be receiving the update at the same time.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.
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