Welcome to This Week in Apps. This is our weekly TechCrunch series for the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications, and the overall app economy.
Global app spending in the first half of 2022 will reach $65 billion, up slightly from $64.4 billion in the same period in 2021. This is due to the slowdown in rapid growth caused by the pandemic. But overall, the app economy continues to grow, with record downloads and consumer spend in both the iOS and Google Play stores in 2021, according to multiple year-end reports. Worldwide spending on iOS and Google Play was $133 billion last year, and consumers downloaded his 143.6 billion apps.
This Week in Apps brings together the latest in the world of apps – news, updates, startup funding, mergers and acquisitions – all in one place, giving you a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry.
Want the app of the week in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newsletters
year end app scoreboard
Apptopia is the first to open its doors at the year-round retrospective of the world’s top apps. The app intelligence company released 33 top charts this week based on combined iOS and Google Play data. However, China data is for iOS only. Data was collected from 01/01/2022 to 12/20/2022.
The company has created its own category to highlight apps that don’t yet have their own app store category (such as quick service restaurants). (McDonald’s beats Starbucks here.)
Overall, the top app globally was TikTok with 672 million installs. This was followed by Instagram, WhatsApp, CapCut (on the back of TikTok’s success), Snapchat, Subway Surfers, Facebook, Stumble Guys and Spotify.
Apptopia also chose to classify TikTok as entertainment rather than social networking this year. This has surpassed Netflix as the most installed entertainment app.
Aside from endless runner Subway Surfers (!!) first released in 2012, other older games such as Candy Crush Saga, 8 Ball Pool and Among Us have proven to have staying power.
Other highlights include SHEIN’s first appearance as the #1 shopping app this year, compared to #2 last year and #4 last year. Wish, on the other hand, did not make the cut. Cryptocurrency apps, like China’s Didi Chuxing, also fell off the top charts due to the impact of the country’s zero-coronavirus policy. But Sweatcoin’s token-based plans have turned the workout app into the number one health and fitness app in the world.
It will be interesting to compare Apptopia’s data with other companies’ data once the 2022 reports start rolling in.
- Google’s Play Store now allows parents to approve apps and in-app purchases initiated by their children. Parents, as Family Managers for their Family Account, authorize purchases where no payment method is available and specify payment methods for apps and other purchases.
- Google is appealing a ruling by India’s antitrust body that alleges it engages in anti-competitive practices surrounding Android mobile devices.
- Google launched HD maps as part of Google Automotive Services. Volvo and Polestar were the first to merge.
- Android Auto introduces a new design aimed at making it easier to navigate, play music and podcasts, and communicate on the go.
- At CES, Google announced a new media playback feature. This includes better playback options for Spotify Connect-enabled devices and cross-device notifications for resuming media playback while on the move.
- Apple has finally shut down Dark Sky. Dark Sky is a weather app they acquired to improve their own Weather app offering. According to Slate’s article, the app was liked by users but not by meteorologists.
- Apple had to temporarily pull a new HomeKit architecture from the iOS 16.2 update to fix Home Sharing issues.
- A French court has fined Apple €1 million for abusing App Store practices over a “serious imbalance” in its relationships with app developers.
- Amazon-owned encrypted messaging app Wickr Me has stopped accepting new signups and will close on December 31, 2023, the company announced today. The app was previously accused of allowing people to trade child sexual abuse material.
- WhatsApp will end support for many older devices, including mobile phones from Apple, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung, Sony and others.
- WhatsApp has also launched official proxy support for global users, allowing users to stay connected even if their connection is blocked or interrupted. depends.
- Telegram has been updated with new features like Hidden Media, which adds a layer to blur your images. A new tool to manage the storage space used by your media, files and music. New drawing and text tools. Other profile and group changes.
- A cryptic tweet from Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has made people wonder if Fortnite will return to the iPhone in 2023. murmured “On iOS next year!” — perhaps suggesting the game maker will release games on Apple’s platform again. is causing
- The FTC also fined Epic Games $520 million for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and manipulative “dark patterns” to trick users into making purchases. This money was refunded to the customer and is the largest refund in a gaming case and the largest his FTC executive order ever.
- Amazon introduces subscription-based Prime Gaming to India, offering games on PC, Mac and mobile. Top titles include League of Legends, DeathLoop, Quake, COD Season 1, EA Madden 23, FIFA 23, Apex Legends, Destiny 2, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
- China’s online game regulator has approved 45 foreign games, ending its crackdown on game releases from abroad. Pokemon Unite is one of the newly approved titles.
- Nvidia has upgraded its $20/month GeForce Now plan (Ultimate) to a new server with better hardware components. The service works on Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV, and select web browsers including Safari on iPhone and iPad.
- Tumblr has added support for live streaming on its mobile apps for iOS and Android. The service uses Livebox, which allows users to tip streamers. The service, called Tumblr Live, is a new[Live]It can be found in tabs and came out at a time when the app was growing rapidly thanks to the Twitter leak.
- TikTok is now telling users why the video is on the For You feed. Users will now have access to a new feature called “Why this video?” The question mark icon tells you why your video was recommended. For example, content you’ve previously watched, content you’ve searched for, comments you’ve posted, and videos you’ve shared.
- Snapchat+, Snapchat’s subscription service, has added three more features. Gift a subscription to a friend. Or change the camera button to a heart, soccer ball, or another image.
- Twitter Blue, Twitter’s subscription service, now supports videos up to 2GB, 60 minutes long, and 1080p on iOS. Android is limited to 512MB, 10 minutes.
- Twitter has added crypto support to its “cashtag” feature for tracking the market price of a particular coin. We’ve also added public tweet counts, previously a private analytics feature. Australia and New Zealand also experienced outages of more than 12 hours. Wow.
- Instagram has added a reel template for creating 2022 recaps with up to 14 photos. In the past, users often used third-party apps like Top Nine to summarize.
- Meta shut down a Cameo clone called Super that offered virtual encounters with creators.
- Mastodon’s monthly active users increased from about 300,000 in October to 2.5 million thanks to the Twitter leak. The company is primarily funded by Patreon, which has increased from $7,000 in November to about $31,000 per month. and wants to commercialize the platform.
- Quora launched an AI chatbot in its iOS app that lets users ask questions and have conversations back and forth. The bot, called “Poe,” is currently by invitation only and offers access to a number of text-generating AI models, including ChatGPT. (Not sure if the company has a partnership here, but ChatGPT doesn’t offer a public API).
- Apple has launched AI-powered book narration in Apple Books. The company says the feature will help independent authors who may not be able to convert their titles to audiobooks due to the “cost and complexity of production.”
- Picsart debuts SketchAI, an iOS app that uses AI to transform photos and drawings into digital art
- YouTube has beaten Apple in the NFL Sunday Ticket streaming deal. This landmark deal will allow the company to offer subscriptions as an add-on to YouTube TV or YouTube primetime channels. The multi-year contract is pegged at $2 billion.
- According to The Information, Amazon is developing a standalone app for streaming sports content. The move could help Amazon more effectively promote live sports content, such as the NFL’s Thursday Night Football.
- Spotify may also be working on HealthKit integration, which could suggest songs based on the exercises you’ve performed.
- Snap is discontinuing Snap Camera, a desktop camera app that provided filters for video calls on Skype, YouTube, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom.
- TikTok has expanded its audience management capabilities, allowing creators to restrict their videos to adult audiences. Previously, this was only available on his TikTok Live.
- TikTok has partnered with IMDb to introduce a new feature that allows users to tag TikTok videos with movies and TV shows.This link takes the viewer to an in-app page with IMDb information about the title, and allows the creator to add the title to their profile as a new[お気に入り]Can be saved in tabs. MovieTok will love this.
- Pinduoduo’s discount marketplace app Temu became the most downloaded app in the US between November 1st and December 14th. Found data for Sensor Tower. The app has been installed 10.8 million times in the US since September 1st.
- The IRS has decided to postpone the requirement that e-commerce apps such as Venmo, PayPal, Cash App and Etsy were forced to submit tax returns to small businesses for transactions of $600 or more.
government, policy, litigation
- France’s data protection watchdog, the CNIL, has fined Apple 8 million euros (about $8.5 million).
- Viva Republica, which operates South Korea’s financial super app throw awayhas raised $405 million in Series G funding, valuing the business at KRW 9.1 trillion ($7 billion). Previously, the company was valued at KRW 8.5 trillion in June 2021.
- Indian fintech app Money View has raised $75 million in Series E funding round led by Apis Partners, valuing the business at $900 million. The company aims to expand its credit business and offer more products for the South Asian market.
- Jakarta-based fintech app Akulaku has raised $200 million from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), Japan’s largest bank. This strategic investment will help the company expand into new markets and build products with MUFG.
- From backers like Slow Ventures, Coatue, K5 Global, Mantis Ventures, Benchmark’s Peter Fenton, Insight Partners co-founder Jerry Murdock, and the obscure Snap, Product Science, makers of mobile app performance monitoring tools, has so far raised $18 million in seed funding. vice president.
- Indian fintech company KreditBee has raised an additional $100 million led by Advent International as part of a larger Series D funding now closed at $200 million.
- 10-year-old Chipolo explains why he’s not worried about Apple’s AirTag: Chipolo still runs its own app for trackers like AirTag, but it also incorporates Find My integration. Unlike Tile, the company told his DoJ that it wasn’t worried about Apple’s entry into the market.
- FluentPet’s talking button system allows you to get “text” from your dog. FluentPet has launched FluentPet Connect, an app-connected talking button system that integrates a mobile app with a dog communication tool (programmable buttons that speak recorded words when pressed with the dog’s paw). The new product is an update to the model first made popular by a dog named Bunny, whose more than 9 million social media followers are now on Forbes’ list of the Top 50 Social Media Creators of 2022. landed Sheepardoodles in