This Week in Apps: Parler deplatformed, alt apps rise, looking back at 2020 trends

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using […]

Twitter’s decentralized future

This week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey finally responded publicly to the company’s decision to ban President Trump from its platform, writing that Twitter had “faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance” and that he did not “feel pride” about the decision. In the same thread, he took time to call out a nascent Twitter-sponsored initiative called […]

Google cracks down on personal loan apps in India following abuse and outcry

Google said on Thursday it has pulled some personal loan apps from Play Store in India and was implementing stronger measures to prevent abuse following reports that said several firms were targeting vulnerable borrowers in the country and then going to extreme lengths to recover their money. The Android-maker said users and government agencies in […]

App stores saw record 218 billion downloads in 2020, consumer spend of $143 billion

Mobile adoption continued to grow in 2020, in part due to the market forces of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to App Annie’s annual “State of Mobile” industry report, mobile app downloads grew by 7% year-over-year to a record 218 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, consumer spending grew by 20% to also hit a new milestone of […]

LAUNCHub Ventures heading towards a $85M fund for South Eastern European startups

LAUNCHub Ventures, an early-stage European VC which concentrates mainly on Central Eastern (CEE) and South-Eastern Europe (SEE), has completed the first closing of its new fund at €44 million ($53.5 million), with an aspiration to reach a target size of €70 million. A final close is expected by Q2 2021. Its principal backer is the […]

Healthvana’s digital COVID-19 vaccination records are about communication, not passports for the immune

As the vaccination campaign to counter COVID-19 gets underway (albeit with a rocky start), a number of companies are attempting to support its rollout in a variety of ways. Healthvana, a health tech startup that began with a specific focus on providing patient information digitally for individuals living with HIV, is helping Los Angeles County […]

Parler is officially offline after AWS suspension

True to its word, Amazon Web Services (AWS) suspended services to Parler, the right-wing-focused social network that proved a welcoming home for pro-Trump users who called for violence at the nation’s Capitol and beyond. The service suspension went into effect overnight after a 24-hour warning from AWS, which means that if you now go to […]

Parler jumps to No. 1 on App Store after Facebook and Twitter ban Trump

Users are surging on small, conservative, social media platforms after President Donald Trump’s ban from the world’s largest social networks, even as those platforms are seeing access throttled by the app marketplaces of tech’s biggest players. The social network, Parler, a network that mimics Twitter, is now the number one app in Apple’s app store […]

This Week in Apps: Social apps react to riots, Parler gets booted, FTC threatens regulation

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in global consumer spend in 2019. Consumer spend also hit a record $112 billion across […]

The deplatforming of President Trump

After years of placid admonishments, the tech world came out in force against President Trump this past week following the violent assault of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. From Twitter to PayPal, more than a dozen companies have placed unprecedented restrictions or outright banned the current occupant of the White House […]

Parler removed from Google Play store as Apple App Store suspension reportedly looms

Shortly after Twitter announced Friday afternoon that they were permanently suspending the account of President Trump, Google shared that they were removing Parler, a conservative social media app, from their Play Store immediately, saying in a statement that they were suspending the app until the developers committed to a moderation and enforcement policy that could […]

You’ll never believe what this email thread says about the ad-funded ‘open’ web

Among a number of claims on U.K. adtech lobby group MOW’s website is the canonical biggie that “Advertising funds the open web.” This coalition of “marketers,” whose members are not being made public despite its sweeping claims to love web openness — lest, MOW says, Google rain down punishment upon its ranks of “top companies […]

Google’s plan to replace tracking cookies goes under UK antitrust probe

Google’s plan to end support for third-party cookies in the Chrome browser and its Chromium engine is under investigation by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The antitrust regulator said today that it’s launched a probe under Chapter II of the U.K.’s Competition Act 1998 into “suspected breaches of competition law by Google”. The move […]

YouTube will start penalizing channels that post election misinformation

YouTube just announced that channels publishing “false claims” about the U.S. presidential election will be penalized with a strike, which would temporarily suspend them from posting videos. If you’re wondering why it took this long, YouTube announced last month (a full month after the presidential election, but right after the “safe harbor” deadline for audits […]

US says India, Italy and Turkey digital taxes are discriminatory, but won’t take any actions for now

Digital services taxes adopted by India, Italy and Turkey in recent years discriminate against U.S. companies, the U.S. Trade Representative said on Wednesday. USTR, which began investigations into the three nation’s digital services taxes in June last year, said it found them to be inconsistent with international tax principles, unreasonable and burdening or restricting U.S. […]

Google to add App Store privacy labels to its iOS apps as soon as this week

Contrary to reports, Google is not delaying updates to its iOS apps because it doesn’t aim to comply with Apple’s recently announced App Store Privacy Labels policy. The new policy, a part of the company’s larger privacy push, requires developers to disclose how data is collected from App Store users and used to track them. […]

Daily Crunch: Hundreds of Google and Alphabet employees unionize

Google employees take another step in their activism, Venmo adds a check-cashing feature and Slack has some issues. This is your Daily Crunch for January 4, 2021. The big story: Hundreds of Google and Alphabet employees unionize More than 200 employees at Google and its parent company Alphabet have announced that they have formed the […]

Hulu’s live TV service gains 14 new channels as result of ViacomCBS deal

A new agreement between Hulu and ViacomCBS will bring 14 new channels to Hulu’s live TV streaming service, while also renewing the deal that allows Hulu to carry various CBS broadcast stations and Showtime. According to ViacomCBS, the new multiyear distribution deal will for the first time allow Hulu + Live TV subscribers to stream […]

Google and Snap in talks to invest in India’s ShareChat

ShareChat, an Indian social network that added Twitter as an investor in 2019, may soon receive the backing of two more American firms. The Bangalore-based startup is in advanced stages of talks to raise money from Google and Snap, as well as several existing investors, including Twitter, three sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. […]

Google, Alphabet employees unionize

A group of more than 200 Google and Alphabet workers have announced the formation of the Alphabet Workers Union, The New York Times first reported. With the help of Communication Workers of America Union’s Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA), the union will be open to both employees and contractors. Of the roughly 227 workers […]

This Week in Apps: Apple bans party app, China loses 39K iOS games, TikTok births a ‘Ratatousical’

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion total downloads and $120 billion in global consumer spend in 2019. Not including Chinese third-party app stores, iOS and […]

NYC MTA’s contactless fare system completes rollout, will phase out MetroCard in 2023

On the last day of 2020, New York City’s Metro Transit Authority announced that it has finished its roll out of contactless payment systems. With the addition of a final stop in Brooklyn, every MTA subway station and bus in the five boroughs now sports the OMNY “Tap and Go” system. We got an early […]

Group Nine Media forms a SPAC to fund acquisitions

Group Nine Media — which owns Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo, Seeker and PopSugar — is the latest company to form a SPAC, according to a filing with the SEC. These blank-check corporations, as they’re also known, have become a popular way to raise money from the public markets. The filing says that Group Nine is creating […]

Google, Cisco and VMware join Microsoft to oppose NSO Group in WhatsApp spyware case

A coalition of companies have filed an amicus brief in support of a legal case brought by WhatsApp against Israeli intelligence firm NSO Group, accusing the company of using an undisclosed vulnerability in the messaging app to hack into at least 1,400 devices, some of which were owned by journalists and human rights activists. NSO develops […]

Daily Crunch: Stimulus bill includes money for broadband and energy

We look at the tech implications of the new stimulus bill, Lockheed Martin makes a big rocket engine acquisition and Google Cloud expands. This is your Daily Crunch for December 21, 2020. The big story: Stimulus bill includes money for broadband and energy The $900 billion pandemic relief bill that lawmakers agreed on over the […]