The Weekly News Wr(app): 1-7 November 2021

Indus OS Bazaar

Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry

In-app Stories: the new way to keep users engaged, Google gives in to South Korean law, the story of Facebook killing Phhhoto emerges. The world of apps is as exciting as ever.

Check out all the news in our latest round of the Weekly News Wr(app):

1) Google Adheres To South Korean Law

The Korean Communications Commission (KCC) announced on September 14th that Google and Apple cannot force apps to use their billing system. Almost two months later, Google has finally shifted its stance on in-app payments.

Earlier, Google had mandated a 30% commission on every in-app purchase followed by the rule that all developers must use Google’s billing system. In South Korea however, the National Assembly passed a new Telecommunications Business Act on August 31 which led to the aptly named “anti-Google law”.

Now Google will allow developers to use alternative billing systems, in adherence to the law.


Localising App Store

2) Shopping App Installs Peak in October 2021

The data from Sensor Tower showed that Shopping App installs reached 80 million in July 2021. Meesho, the social e-commerce company, contributed 12 million to that number. This is the first time since October 2020 such a high number was reported.

According to preliminary data, October 2021 saw 113 million Shopping App installs in India.

All these numbers coincide with the Diwali shopping season in India.

However, the pace at which apps were downloaded and installed during the peak pandemic season in 2020 has slowed down. Now numbers are similar to the pre-COVID times.

In South-East Asia, Indonesia maintains the top position for shopping app installs and Vietnam reported the highest year-over-year growth in July 2021.


3) Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat Face Huge Losses

According to Lotame, the ad technology company, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube lost a mammoth $9.85 billion in revenue. This was due to Apple’s new privacy policy introduced earlier this year.

The privacy policy, called App Tracking Transparency (ATT), allowed users to opt-out of being tracked across websites apps.

While this move ostensibly meant greater protection to users' privacy, it left the advertising efforts of other companies hanging. The move also helped triple Apple’s ad revenue which raises questions on the motive of the new policy.

Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg said, “One is that the accuracy of our ads targeting decreased, which increased the cost of driving outcomes for our advertisers. And the other is that measuring these outcomes becomes more difficult”.

Those at Facebook also believe that this move will hurt smaller businesses that rely on targeted ad campaigns.


4) Skymet Weather Releases New Air Quality App

Skymet Weather released a new app on 1st November that enables users to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) and PM (particulate matter) in over 400 locations.

India’s leading weather analytics firm believes that this will help users to plan their daily routines, exercise schedules, and travel plans with the advent of the notorious winters.

Being the leaders in the weather segment, we also aim to provide better air quality solutions to everyone. This step will enable people to take precautionary measures as per the pollution levels and keep their dear ones safe. We have also enabled API integrations for businesses that aim to keep their stakeholders informed. We believe our small steps can make a huge difference this winter season," said Yogesh Patil, CEO of Skymet Weather.

The app is available for download on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store.




5) Clubhouse Adds 13 New Languages And 5 Of Them Are Indian

Clubhouse released 13 new languages for its Android app and it includes 5 Indian languages. They are Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu.

It also added support for international languages like German, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

And for the very first time, there will be an Indian artist portrayed on their app icon. Anirudh Deshmukh, to whom that honor belongs, is a star creator on the platform and has 72,000 members in his club.

Clubhouse also announced new features like pinned links which will help creators post external links thus generating revenue for them. They also introduced a feature that allows users to record and replay conversations and download 30-second clips that can be shared on social media.

This app is currently available for Android only. They plan to release the same on iOS soon.


6) Another Lawsuit: Facebook Accused Of Killing Phhhoto

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is facing a new lawsuit in addition to the many levelled against them. This time it’s from the photo editing app, Phhhoto. The company closed down in 2017, 5 years after it was founded, due to the alleged malpractices of Facebook.

The story follows Mark Zuckerberg himself, who downloaded and started using Phhhoto in 2014. Kevin Systrom, the erstwhile CEO of Instagram, also started using the app alongside other top executives and managers at Facebook.

By then, Phhhoto was already making waves in the app world received huge praise from celebrities like Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry.

However, this did not sit well with those at Facebook. They approached the founders of Phhhoto on the pretense of forming a partnership, however, that was just a farce. The remained non-commital throughout the talks.

According to the lawsuit, “Hurren, then Facebook’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, reached out to Phhhoto, asserting that Phhhoto was “really awesome.” Hurren first offered to incorporate Phhhoto’s technology into the Facebook Messenger service. When Phhhoto declined, Hurren offered to incorporate Phhhoto’s content into Facebook’s users’ Newsfeeds. Phhhoto invested heavily in this project, but ultimately Hurren did not move forward, citing internal “legal conversations” that “hung” the project up.”

What actually happened was that Instagram was building a feature similar to Phhhoto (Boomerang). They were also reducing Phhhoto’s visibility on Instagram.

In October 2015, just before Phhhoto released their Android app, Instagram announced the Boomerang feature, which was the exact imprint of Phhhoto.

The jury is still out on this case, however, there is hope with Gary L. Reback, a well-known lawyer who won a case against Microsoft back in 2001 for violating antitrust laws.


7) The Financial Guidance App Fi, Raises Fresh Funds

Fi raised $50 million in its latest round of funding led by B Captial and Falcon Edge Capital.

The app helps working professionals open free saving accounts and ultimately improve their saving habits.

The bank accounts are powered by Federal Bank, but more banks will be on-boarded soon according to Sumit Gwalani, co-founder of Fi.


8) InAppStory Reports A Positive Response

InAppStory, a tool that allows you to embed a Story within an app reported a 72% increase in user engagement.

One of their clients, Tele2, was quite happy with InAppStory’s success rate. They said that users played an average of 2.5 of the in-app Story games and over 300,000 unique users played the game.

The tool helps boost overall user time spent within the app and improves conversion rates.



We will be discussing the topic "Taking App Personalization To The Next Level" during our next Clubhouse Session. Join us on 16th November at 6 PM IST here:

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