Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry
When we bring you stories in our Weekly News Wr(app), we want to tell you about stuff you probably don’t know about. So, we won’t talk about Twitter’s potential edit button or Elon Musk buying (or rather not buying) Twitter.
We want to tell you about Google’s movement in the app distribution world, about lawsuits Apple is facing, and more stuff like that.
Now for the stories. Read on, friend.
1. Alternative billing, now in India, brought to you by Google
First, it was 27 EU countries that were allowed alternate billing. Now Google is extending this billing choice to four more countries, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, and one of Google’s largest markets, yours truly (that’s us, India).
The policies remain the same, however. App developers who opt for alternative payment methods will get a discount of 3-4% for each transaction. It’s not a huge margin, but then again, what does one do in a market dominated by just two players? Have an alternative app store, but that is a conversation for another time maybe.
This offer from Google first began with Spotify back in March. With Spotify, it wasn’t clear how much the commissions would be, only that there would be alternate billing. Tinder’s parent company, Match Group was also offered concessions regarding alternative in-app purchases.
The exact timeline on when alternative billing will be rolled out is yet to be determined. So, app developers and users may not yet currently have the options. Google is planning to gradually introduce this to the eligible markets.
2. Apple reaches settlement in a major App Store case
A former Pinterest engineer Kosta Eleftheriou reached a settlement agreement with Apple over an app scam and fraud case. The case, which was filed in March 2021, involved Eleftheriou blaming Apple for lost revenue because of their unfair rejection of his app.
Eleftheriou built an app called FlickType, a keyboard for Apple Watch. He says that App Store rejected the app from being listed but went on to approve competitor apps that used an integrated version of the FlickType keyboard. Competitors included Nano for Reddit, Chirp for Twitter, WatchChat for WhatsApp, and Lens for Instagram. Ironically, FlickType was rejected for giving a “poor user experience” but it was still better than what competitors were offering.
Ultimately, Eleftheriou’s app was allowed into the App Store and it had some success. Unfortunately, the app’s success made it a target for app scammers who released less user-friendly versions but were boosted by fake reviews and ratings. This led to a drop in revenue for FlickType from $130,000 to $20,000.
The case came to a close on 21st July 2022 when Eleftheriou requested to dismiss the case after his company and Apple reached a settlement. The terms of the settlement are unknown currently.
Eleftheriou’s case is just the tip of the iceberg, however. There’s more discontent amongst app developers than what we read online. And that’s one of the problems of a monopoly.
3. JioMart and WhatsApp team up
WhatsApp users may soon get to order groceries right from the app. Reliance Retail and Meta are partnering to bring online grocery shopping to the half-a-billion WhatsApp users in India.
CEO of Meta Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement that they’re excited to launch its partnership with JioMart in India. “This is our first-ever end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp — people can now buy groceries from JioMart right in a chat. Business messaging is an area with real momentum and chat-based experiences like this will be the go-to way people and businesses communicate in the years to come,”, he added.
When it launches, users will be able to browse JioMart’s offerings on WhatsApp and order and pay without leaving the app.
Mukesh Ambani said that this partnership is an example of an innovative customer experience. He went on to say that the “JioMart on WhatsApp experience furthers our commitment of enabling a simple and convenient way of online shopping to millions of Indians.”
Now order your bag of chips and coke while waiting for that reply. How does that sound to you?
4. BeReal app gaining popularity in the US market
There’s a slew of “anti-Instagram” apps that’s been gaining popularity amongst US Gen Z users. One of them is called BeReal, an app that encourages users to be their real selves. In July, the app was downloaded 1.1 million times more than Instagram. In August, it got a further 2.5 million downloads. BeReal surpassed TikTok in the first week of August itself.
BeReal goes against spending too much time on taking the perfect picture with a filter that goes with it.
To ensure this, BeReal came up with a unique way to force users to take unfiltered, real photos. It sends a notification to click a picture to you and all your friends at the same time. This notification can come at any time during the day and it allows you only 2 minutes to take a picture. Given such a short time frame, users are forced to click a picture in whatever condition they are, giving it a more authentic feel. Another interesting feature is that BeReal takes a picture using the front and back camera, giving users a feel of what everyone is doing.
Because of its unique positioning and exciting functionality, it has gained popularity among younger users. It’ll be interesting to see if it ever makes headway in India and how Indian users will react to it.
5. Twitter testing a new feature called Tweet Tiles
Twitter has a feature lined up called Tweet Tiles that will present URLs in a more visually appealing format. Currently, only a few iOS and web users are able to view this feature since it’s only in testing.
Simply put, the Tweet Tiles will make a link stand out with a larger display of the featured image and a more prominent CTA button. This will potentially help publishers with their engagement and click-through rates. Plus it’ll give a facelift to the timeline with this bold and colorful change.
No official timeline for Tweet Tiles is given yet.