Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry
There are always those who fight back against perceived injustice. Like the antitrust bodies in India and the Netherlands who are challenging Google and Apple respectively.
We’ve got stories on both those fronts in this week’s edition of the Weekly News Wr(app).
We also have Instagram and Twitter featuring, with their announcements of major app updates.
Check out all the stories below:
1. Google’s Play Store facing increasing scrutiny with India’s CCI
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has deemed Google’s payment policy on the Play Store as “unfair and discriminatory”.
This is of course dating back to September 2020, when Google announced that all developers must use Google’s Billing System for digital transactions. Given the high commissions of between 15% to 30%, app developers were understandably furious with the announcement.
A spokesperson from the CCI was convinced that Google’s policies would hurt developers badly. “(CCI’s) level of clarity on the matter was extremely high, it had taken inputs from all developers and the larger ecosystem and is quite convinced that the (Play Store Billing) policy (will) definitely harm developers if implemented,” said the spokesperson.
Google is also facing backlash for allegedly rigging its search results on the Play Store to favor Google Pay over other payment apps. They’re also being questioned over allegations of barring access to other UPI payment apps to users.
Although Google recently announced that it’s allowing third-party payments, the move included only a limited number of apps like Spotify, which seems discriminatory.
Further hearings between Google and the CCI will happen shortly, as per reports. Let’s hope that the ruling is in favor of developers.
2. Apple to allow alternate payment options to Dutch dating apps
Nine fines and 45 million euros later, Apple is finally complying with the Authorities for Consumer & Markets (ACM). The Dutch regulators have been on Apple’s back since the beginning of 2022 with orders to allow dating apps in the Netherlands to use alternate payment methods.
Apple looks like it's finally following orders. They said are providing “updated and more-specific criteria to evaluate non-Apple payment service providers that developers of dating apps in the Netherlands may use”.
They have also dropped the requirement to create a separate binary for these apps to use alternative in-app payment methods.
The ACM is yet to conclude whether or not Apple is complying with orders. They said they’ll come out with a verdict after consulting with other stakeholders. Fingers crossed on the verdict.
3. 250% increase in app conversions for brands that offer hyper-personalized campaigns
According to research from CleverTap, brands that target users with hyper-personalized campaigns saw a 250% increase in conversion rates. They analyzed 140 million devices and 121 million users to find out that the churn rate after two weeks of installing an app is 86%.
The study also revealed that only 19% of users stay engaged in the first month of use.
Clevertap recommends brands adopt various user retention strategies like an automated onboarding process that increased login rates by 53%.
They also suggested many user engagement methods like loyalty incentives, which are preferred by 75% of customers.
4. Instagram bringing big updates to make its DM more user friendly
The photo-sharing app is focusing on revamping its messaging features in 2022, and the updates are finally here.
Users can now share music previews, reply while browsing, quickly share posts with the tap of a button, see who’s online, and more.
According to the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, messaging is “the primary way people connect online at this point”. He believes that Instagram “can be the best place for people to connect with their friends about their interests, and Instagram is to embrace the fact that messaging is that primary form of communication,”.
Instagram is apparently positioning itself as more than a photo-sharing platform, much like what its parent company Meta claims to be (that is, more than a social media company).
5. “Twitter for Professionals” is now available for all users everywhere
Now users have the chance to switch their accounts to a professional one to promote their brand or products. Previously, users had to especially apply for a professional account before they could access its features. But now, any user can switch by tapping the option in the sidebar.
The feature includes two options, business and creators. Business works well for retailers and service providers. The creator option is best suited for individuals and influencers.
You can switch between business and creator whenever you want. In case you want to move back to a personal account, you can opt out of Twitter for Professionals.
Although the feature is open to all users, parody accounts and fan accounts are not allowed to become professional accounts.
6. Google Meet adding emojis among other features to improve video conferencing
Google’s video conferencing app Google Meet will soon allow its Workspace users to react using emojis during a meeting. Similar to Zoom, participants can let others know how they feel about what’s being discussed without disrupting the meeting.
Google Meet will also introduce the picture-in-picture feature that will allow users to work on a separate window without missing out on whoever is talking.
The company also plans to introduce the option to live stream Meet calls on YouTube. But the feature will not be available to everyone.
Google plans to introduce all these features this month.
7. Google Docs improves its assistive writing features
For those who use Google Docs for their writing purposes, you can expect a lot more help from it to improve your writing.
The company said that it has “added several new assistive writing features in Google Docs, which will provide a variety of tone and style suggestions to help you create impactful documents faster,”.
It will also help you determine whether you’re using an active or passive voice, it’ll help with sentence structure and conciseness. These are very Grammarly-like features, and this move could potentially reduce user dependence on their software.
8. Apple is allowing apps like Kindle, Spotify, and Netflix to link to their own websites
In a move that was promised last year, Apple is allowing developers to link to their own websites from within the iOS apps. This move can help users manage their accounts, or create a new one, right from the app.
It may sound surprising to Android users especially, but Apple would not allow you to create an account like Netflix from your phone. You would need to have an existing account to log in. Sounds strange, but this is one of the ways Apple ensured it got its 30% commission.
However, it’s not so easy for developers. To link to their website, a developer has to request an “entitlement”. Plus, all developers have to put up a warning message to users about the dangers of giving their information to third parties.
The whole affair sounds perplexing and ridiculous at times. But then, that’s Big Tech firms for you.