The Weekly News Wr(app) – App Spending Rises Albeit Slowly, WhatsApp Testing More Emoji Reactions, Google Agrees $90m Payout

App spending rises albeit slowly, Whatsapp testing more emoji reactions, Google agrees $ 90m payout

Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry

Instagram is on a mission to take on TikTok. So they’re doing something to their video posts. You want to know what? Read on to find out.

As always, our Weekly News Wr(app) is here to serve you the most stimulating news bites. Enjoy.

Google play store logo

1. Google to compensate for its malpractice with a $90 million payout

Forgive us for being so blunt. But we cannot mince our words while talking about Google’s practice of arm twisting. In other words, its practice of forcing developers to use its own billing system while charging a commission of 30%.

Now, however, Google’s misuse of power is catching up with them following the verdict of a 2020 lawsuit by some American app developers.

According to the lawsuit, Google gained an unfair advantage in the Android app distribution space “through a series of anticompetitive contracts, strategic abuses of its dominance in other Android software applications, deficits in consumer knowledge and information, and the cultivation and exploitation of device users’ fear of malware.” Bolstered by such anti-competitive policies, Google levied a huge commission fee and collected it through the Google Billing System.

But with the lawsuit’s verdict against Google, they agreed to pay $90 million as a settlement charge. This payout will be given to all eligible app developers. The minimum amount due for a developer is set at $250 according to Hagens Berman who legally represents the developers.

The law firm's comments on the final verdict voiced the collective relief of the developers. They said in a statement, “nearly 48,000 hardworking app developers are receiving the just payment they deserve for their work product — something Google sought to profit from, hand over fist. With this settlement, developers will have more room to grow and more money in their pockets to promote their hard efforts.

Legal tussles are no one’s cup of tea. But it’s a necessity in the face of flagrant injustice. We wish we could see some of this in India. Similar to what we see in the EU, Japan, South Korea, etc.


2. Global app spending rises albeit slowly

The app spending on the Play Store and App Store combined saw a 1% year-on-year increase in the first half of 2022. According to Sensor Tower, app spending hit $65 billion globally, a marginal increase from the $64.4 billion in the first half of 2021.

Popular apps like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, etc. have been mainstays in the top charts and have continued to do so even now.

With regard to app revenue, the App Store generated $43.7 billion and Google’s Play Store recorded $21.3 billion in revenue.

In an unusual turn, Apple experienced a higher year-on-year growth compared to Google. During the same period last year, Google generated $23 billion but saw a 7.4% drop off this year. On the other hand, Apple saw a 5.6% year-on-year increase from last year’s $41.4 billion.

Even though the reported numbers are slightly lower than the heights of the pandemic-induced numbers, Sensor Tower predicts app spending to increase by 77% by 2026.


3. WhatsApp to expand its reaction emojis roster

Months after releasing the emoji reactions feature, WhatsApp is testing an expansion of the same feature. Currently, you can use only six basic emoji reactions but WhatsApp plans to allow users to use any emoji they want. The basic emoji reactions were becoming pretty handy for users, so imagine how helpful the use of any emoji will be.

WhatsApp’s move looks like an imitation of Telegram’s feature.

But Telegram allows only 17 emoji reactions, which is higher than WhatApp’s current number but will soon be surpassed if WhatsApp officially rolls out the feature.


Instagram Reels Logo

4. Instagram may soon all turn video posts into Reels

Instagram is continuing to focus its efforts on improving Reels. Recently, they increased the recording time for Reels to 90 seconds ostensibly to take on TikTok. Now they’re testing a feature that will turn video posts into Reels.

According to a Meta spokesperson, this move is an attempt to “simplify and improve the video experience on Instagram”.

It’s not clear how a feature like this will affect the current videos on Instagram or how users view all their videos turning into Reels. But according to the company, people spend more than 20% of their time on Instagram watching Reels. So such a move makes sense to them.

The feature is still in its testing phase so there’s no word on when or if this will be officially announced.


Airbnb Image

5. Airbnb stops the party: permanent ban on all parties

Back in 2020, Airbnb users were notified of an indefinite ban on all house parties. This was to prevent conducting unauthorized parties and avoid disturbing neighbors.

Now, this ban has become permanent across all Airbnb properties. So no more parties at an Airbnb-affiliated house ever again. 

Airbnb said that this ban was effective in reducing the number of parties on their properties by 44%. They said in a statement that there is a “direct correlation between our implementation of the policy in August 2020 and a 44% year-over-year drop in the rate of party reports.”

They also added that most of the Airbnb hosts were in favor of this ban. “The ban has been well received by our Host community and we’ve received positive feedback from community leaders and elected officials. As we build on this momentum, we believe the time is right to codify this policy,”.

Sorry friends, you’ll have to make alternate arrangements for your parties from now.


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