Welcome to TechCrunch's This Week's Apps, a roundup of the latest news on the mobile operating system, mobile apps, and the app economy in general.
Global app spending rose to $65 billion in the first half of 2022, up from $64.4 billion in the same period of 2021, as excessive growth caused by the pandemic slowed. But overall, the app economy continues to grow, with multiple year-end reports showing record downloads and consumer spending on iOS and Google Play Stores in 2021. Last year, global spending on iOS and Google Play totaled $133 billion, and consumers 143.6 billion. downloaded apps.
News, updates, startup financing, M&A, and more this week in the apps. It provides a way to keep up with this growing industry with the latest news from the world of apps, including
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Presentation of results tables at the end of the year
Apptopia is the first company to market an annual retrospective of the world's best apps. This week, the app analytics firm released the top 33 charts based on combined data from iOS and Google Play, excluding data from China, for iOS only. Data collected from January 1, 2022 to December 20, 2022.
The company even created its own categories to highlight apps that don't have their own category on the App Store, like fast food restaurants. (McDonald's beat out Starbucks here.)
Overall, the company found that the best app in the world is TikTok, with 672 million installs. It is followed by Instagram, WhatsApp, CapCut (based on the success of TikTok), Snapchat, Subway Surfers, Facebook, Stumble Guys and Spotify.
This year, Apptopia also decided to classify TikTok as an "entertainment" rather than a "social network," allowing it to overtake Netflix as the most installed entertainment app.
Aside from Subway Surfers, which is an endless running game first released in 2012(!!), other retro games like Candy Crush Saga, 8 Ball Pool, and Among Us have also proven their worth:
Other highlights include SHEIN's debut as the number one shopping app of the year, after being ranked second last year and fourth the year before. Meanwhile, the desire did not stop. Cryptocurrency apps like China's Didi were also absent from higher levels as the country was hit with coronavirus politics. However, the Sweatcoin token-based plan made the workout app the #1 health and fitness app in the world.
When the 2022 reports start to come out, it will be interesting to compare Apptopia's data with that of other companies.
- The Google Play Store now allows parents to approve child-initiated apps and in-app purchases. Parents will act as admins for the family account to approve purchases if there is no payment option and select how they want to pay for the app or other purchases.
- Google is appealing an Indian antitrust ruling, alleging that the company engages in anti-competitive practices with its Android mobile devices.
- Google has released HD Maps as part of Google Car Services. Volvo and Polestar were the first companies to integrate with it.
- Android Auto has been redesigned to make it easier to navigate, play music and podcasts, and communicate on the road.
- At CES, Google announced new media playback features, including enhanced playback options for Spotify Connect-enabled devices and notifications to resume media playback on the fly.
- Apple eventually shut down Dark Sky, the weather app it acquired to improve its Weather app. The Slate article notes that the app has been well received by users, but less so by meteorologists.
- Apple had to temporarily remove the new version of HomeKit from the iOS 16.2 update to fix the Home Access issue.
- A French court has fined Apple €1 million for misconduct on the App Store due to a "major flaw" in its relationship with software developers.
- Wickr Me, the Amazon-owned encrypted messaging app, announced that it will accept new registrations and close on December 31, 2023. The app was previously criticized for allowing people to share pedophilia-related material.
- WhatsApp is ending support for a large number of older devices, including Apple, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung, Sony, and other phones.
- WhatsApp has also launched official proxy support for global users, which allows users to connect even if their connection is blocked or disconnected. This feature relies on servers created by volunteers and other organizations.
- Telegram has been updated with new features like hidden media, which adds an image blur layer; new tools to manage storage space used by media, files, and music; new drawing and text tools; Other changes in profiles and groups.
- Epic CEO Tim Sweeney's tweets have people wondering if Fortnite will return to iPhone in 2023. "Next year on iOS," the official said in the message. – It is possible that the game developer will re-release the game on the Apple platform. Epic is currently filing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and is pursuing a similar lawsuit against Google.
- The FTC also fined Epic Games $520 million for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and "dark patterns" of defrauding users. The money will be returned to customers, making it the largest refund in the gaming industry and the largest administrative order in FTC history.
- Amazon launches subscription-based Prime Gaming in India, offering games for PC, Mac and mobile devices. Top games include League of Legends, DeathLoop, Quake, COD Season 1, EA Madden 23, FIFA 23, Apex Legends, Destiny 2, and Brothers. A story of two children.
- China's online gaming regulator has approved 45 foreign games, ending the ban on foreign games. Pokemon Unite was one of the newly confirmed games.
- Nvidia has updated its $20 per month GeForce Now (Ultimate) plan with new servers with better hardware components. The service works on select web browsers, including Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV, and Safari on iPhone and iPad.
- Tumblr has added live streaming support to its iOS and Android mobile apps. The service runs on the Livebox platform, which allows users to provide information to broadcasters. The service, called Tumblr Live, can be found in the new Live tab and comes at a time when the app is experiencing a growth spurt thanks to its spin-off from Twitter.
- TikTok now tells users why a video is in their feed. Users have a new "Why this video?" Question mark icon to indicate why the video was recommended to them, such as content they previously viewed, searched for, commented on, or shared.
- Snapchat+, Snapchat's subscription service, has added three more features: the ability to add a custom chat background; gift a subscription to a friend; Or change the camera button to a picture of a heart, football, or other image.
- Twitter Blue subscription service now supports videos up to 2GB in size, 60 minutes in length, and 1080p resolution on iOS; Android is limited to 512 MB, 10 minutes.
- Twitter has added cryptocurrency support to its hashtag feature to track the market price of a particular coin. It also added public tweet counters, previously a private analytics feature. Australia and New Zealand also experienced outages of more than 12 hours. Yeah!
- Instagram has added a Reels template to compile photos from 2022 to 2014. In the past, users often turned to third-party apps like Top Nine for information.
- Meta has released a Cameo replica called Super, which offers a virtual meet-and-greet with the creators.
- Thanks to a subsidiary of Twitter, Mastodon has gone from about 300,000 users in October to 2.5 million monthly active users. The company is heavily funded by Patreon and makes around $31,000 a month, up from $7,000 in November. The company rejected investment offers from venture capitalists, saying they did not understand its goals and wanted to commercialize the platform.
- Quora has launched an AI chatbot on its iOS app that allows users to ask questions and participate in conversations. The bot, called Poe, is currently invite-only and provides access to a number of text-based AI models, including ChatGPT. (It's not clear if the company has a partnership here, but ChatGPT doesn't offer a public API.)
- Apple has started turning AI-powered books into Apple Books. The company said the feature would help independent authors who are unable to convert their books to audiobooks due to the "cost and complexity of production."
- Picsart introduces SketchAI, an iOS app that uses artificial intelligence to transform photos and drawings into digital art.
- YouTube beats out Apple for NFL Sunday Ticket streaming deal. This historic agreement will allow the company to offer subscriptions in addition to the YouTube TV or YouTube Primetime channels. The multi-year contract is worth $2 billion.
- The information indicates that Amazon is developing an independent sports streaming program. The move could help Amazon better promote its live sports content, including Thursday Night Football NFL.
- Spotify also integrates HealthKit to recommend songs based on the exercises users have completed.
- Close Snap Snap Camera, the desktop camera app that offered filters for video calls on Skype, YouTube, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom.
- TikTok has now expanded its audience management feature, which allows creators to limit their videos to adult viewers only. Previously, it was only available on TikTok Live.
- TikTok has partnered with IMDb to introduce a new feature that allows users to feature movies and TV shows in their TikTok videos. The link directs viewers to an in-app page with IMDb information about the title and allows creators to save titles to a new Favorites tab on their profile. MovieTok will love it.
- According to Sensor Tower, the Pinduoduo Temu marketplace app was the most downloaded app in the US between November 1 and December 14. Since September 1, the app has been installed 10.8 million times in the United States.
- The IRS decided to remove a requirement that would have forced e-commerce apps like Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, and Etsy to provide tax forms for small and medium-sized businesses with transactions over $600.
Government, politics and judicial process
- France's data protection authority, CNIL, fined Apple €8 million (~$8.5 million) for failing to obtain consent from mobile device users before placing (and/or reading) advertising identifiers on their devices in connection with the display of personalized advertisements in the application). . Commerce: .
- Viva Republica, which operates South Korean financial super app Toss , has raised $405 million in Series G funding, valuing the business at 9.1 trillion won ($7 billion). The company was previously valued at 8.5 trillion won in June 2021.
- Indian fintech app Money View has raised $75 million in a Series E funding round led by Apis Partners, valuing the business at $900 million. The company intends to expand its credit business and create more products for the South Asian market.
- Jakarta-based fintech app Akulaku has raised $200 million from Japan's largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). The strategic investment will help the company expand into new markets and create products with MUFG.
- Product Science, a maker of mobile app performance monitoring tools, has raised $18 million to date from Slow Ventures, Coatue, K5 Global, Mantis Ventures, Benchmark's Peter Fenton, Insight Partners co-founder Jerry Murdoch, and backers anonymous. burst Vices
- Indian fintech firm KreditBee has raised an additional $100 million led by Advent International as part of a larger Series D funding round currently closed at $200 million.
- Chipolo, 10, explains why Apple doesn't care about AirTag . Chipolo still runs its own AirTag-like app, but it also uses the Find My integration. Unlike Tile, the company has told the Justice Department that it is not concerned about Apple entering the market.
- FluentPet's chat button system allows you to text your dog; FluentPet has launched FluentPet Connect, an app-connected talk button system that connects a mobile app to canine communication tools via programmable buttons when pressed with the dog's paw. Say the words you wrote. The new product is an update to the model first made famous by Bunny, a dog whose 9 million social media followers made it to Forbes' 2022 list of the top 50 social media creators.
This week in apps. This 2022 review by Sarah Perez was originally published on TechCrunch