The Weekly News Wr(app) – Travel Apps Returning to Pre-pandemic Numbers, Tata Enters the UPI Market, Instagram Releases New Parental Controls

Travel Apps

Weekly News For You To Stay Updated With The App Industry

The world of apps is a fun place but we still need to be cautious, especially for our children.

We’ve got stories of Instagram and Snap taking steps to protect teenagers, we’ve got stories of Netflix’s price change (not in India though), and we have news about how apps in the food delivery and travel industry are growing.

Read all about it in our latest edition of The Weekly News Wr(app).

[Click here in case you missed last week’s stories of Amazon’s rival app for Clubhouse and South Korea’s bold moves against Google and Apple]

1. Food Delivery apps hit record numbers: Zomato & Swiggy ranked second and seventh in Global Downloads

The demand for food delivery is set to keep growing as seen in numbers of Q4 2021. According to (formerly App Annie), the global user sessions rose by 69% in December 2021. User session refers to the amount of time a user interacts with the app and the activity s/he carries out during that time. Simply put, people are using food delivery apps more than ever before.

A major shift in the services offered lies in quick food delivery. Companies across the world are offering features like “10-minute deliveries” which has led to an increase in demand. We see it here in India too with Zomato’s recent announcement of 10-minute food delivery.

The food delivery app boom is also seen in the downloads. Both Zomato and Swiggy featured in the top 10 list of most downloaded food delivery apps in 2021. Zomato ranked second, sandwiched between Uber Eats and the McDonald’s App. Swiggy was placed 5 rungs below Zomato at seventh.


Airplane Image

2. Travel app downloads slowly return to pre-pandemic numbers

According to a study conducted by Apptopia in the US, people are gearing up to travel more in the coming months as seen by their downloading behavior. Worldwide downloads show apps like rank as high as no.3 on the list.

Google Maps, however, is ranked on the top. Maybe that shows that people are truly heading outside?

It’s definitely a time for travel apps to suit up and wait for the waves of travelers in the coming months.


Tata Logo

3. Tata has a new UPI app to compete with PhonePe and Google Pay

The Tata Group’s plan to have a meaningful foothold on the digital space is slowly coming to fruition with its own UPI app. The UPI market in India is booming with 4.52 billion transactions completed in February 2022, according to the NCPI.

Right now, most of these transactions are happening through PhonePe and Google Pay (with other significant players like Amazon Pay and Paytm). But Tata also wants a piece of the pie and that will start by the end of this month.

The UPI market is starting to look crowded with the release of another app. Tata will have to heavily incentivize users to start using their app.


4. Instagram releases new parental controls to protect minors on the app

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced the release of new parental controls for the app. The new feature will allow parents and guardians to monitor the activity of their underage kids.

The parental controls include limiting the amount of time spent on the app, updates on whom they follow and are followed by, and notifications on accounts reported by them.

Instagram has come under heavy criticism following the release of a study that shows the ill effects the app was having on teens and pre-teens. They are also releasing a Family Center that grants access to supervision tools across Meta’s various platforms.

For now, the parental controls are released in the US only, but will soon roll out globally according to Mosseri. Even so, come soon parental controls.


5. Netflix wants you to stop sharing your password (because its losing money)

Right off the bat, this is not happening in India. Netflix hasn’t done so great in India so far which led them to reduce prices here. But in other parts of the world, Netflix wants to discourage users from sharing their accounts with non-family members.

According to Chengyi Long, director of product innovation at Netflix, this password-sharing habit is impacting their ability to invest in new TV and films for their members.

So to counter this, Netflix is introducing an “Extra Member” feature that will allow users from another household to use an account. This extra member feature is not for free, by the way. Netflix is taking a fee for those extra members.

Fair enough, Netflix, just don’t do this in India.


6. Snap suspends two anonymous messaging apps on its platform

Snapchat is suspending two messaging apps on its platform following a lawsuit filed against them by a grieving mother whose teenager died by suicide after online bullying. These third-party apps, called Yolo and LMK, offer anonymity while messaging on Snapchat which could possibly encourage bullying.

Snapchat issued the following response after the suspension: “While we know that most Snapchatters used these anonymous integrations in fun, engaging, and entirely appropriate ways, we believe some users might be more prone to engage in harmful behavior — such as bullying or harassment — if they have the shroud of anonymity”.

All kinds of online bullying must stop, and companies like Snap need to ensure that all users, especially those under 18, are shielded from characters with ill intent.


Google Doc Logo

7. You can soon send emails directly from Google Docs

Yes, you can compose emails directly on Gmail, but with this new feature, you can invite others to contribute to drafting an email. This works best in a professional setting where you would need input from colleagues or bosses for a particular email.

This is Google's way of allowing users to seamlessly use its suite of work products.

For now, the feature is rolled out for all its Workspace users and will be available for more users in the coming weeks.


8. MGM, the studio behind James Bond and Rocky snapped up by Amazon

The famous Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Studios is now under the care of Amazon. The deal is reportedly valued at $8.45 billion and the purchase was greenlighted by the EU’s antitrust regulator.

This means that Amazon Prime Video acquires MGM’s huge collection of films including the James Bond movies, The Handmaid’s Tale, Rocky, etc. Plus you can expect the, to invest in originals.

Basically, movie buffs can expect great things soon.


9. Whatsapp will allow you to do something else while you listen to a voice note

For those of us who receive audiobook-length voice messages from people, there’s some good news. You can multitask while listening to these voice notes because Whatsapp is testing a feature that allows you to do so.

Right now leaving a chat while listening to a voice note will stop it from playing which is frustrating if the voice note is long.

But with the new feature, which Whatsapp will hopefully roll out for all users soon, you can listen to your loquacious friend while you attend to other things as well.


To read more of our Weekly News Wr(app)s, click here.

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