Consumers spent $32B on apps in Q1 2021, the biggest quarter on record

The pandemic’s remarkable impact on the app industry has not slowed down in 2021. In fact, consumer spending in apps has hit a new record in the first quarter of this year, a new report from App Annie indicates. The firm says consumers in Q1 2021 spent $32 billion on apps across both iOS and Google Play, up 40% year-over-year from Q1 2020. It’s the largest-ever quarter on record, App Annie also notes.

Last year saw both app downloads and consumer spend increase, as people rapidly adopted apps under coronavirus lockdowns — including apps for work, school, shopping, fitness, entertainment, gaming and more. App Annie previously reported a record 218 billion in global downloads and record consumer spend of $143 billion for the year.

Image Credits: App Annie

These trends have continued into 2021, it seems, with mobile consumers spending roughly $9 billion more in Q1 2021 compared with Q1 2020. Although iOS saw larger consumer spend than Android in the quarter — $21 billion vs. $11 billion, respectively — both stores grew by the same percentage, 40%.

But the types of apps driving spending were slightly different from store to store.

On Google Play, Games, Social and Entertainment apps saw the strongest quarter-over-quarter growth in terms of consumer spending, while Games, Photo & Video, and Entertainment apps accounted for the strongest growth on iOS.

By downloads, the categories were different between the stores, as well.

On Google Play, Social, Tools, and Fiance saw the biggest download growth in Q1, while Games, Finance and Social Networking drove download growth for iOS. Also on Google Play, other top categories included Weather (40%) and Dating (35%), while iOS saw Health and Fitness app downloads grow by a notable 25% — likely a perfect storm as New Year’s Resolutions combined with continued stay-at-measures that encouraged users to find new ways to stay fit without going to a gym.

Image Credits: App Annie

The top apps in the quarter remained fairly consistent, however. TikTok beat Facebook, in terms of downloads, and was followed by Instagram, Telegram, WhatsApp and Zoom. But the short-form video app only made it to No. 2 in terms of consumer spend, with YouTube snagging the top spot. Tinder, Disney+, Tencent Video, and others followed. (Netflix has dropped off this chart as it now directs new users to sign up directly, rather than through in-app purchases).

Image Credits: App Annie

Though Facebook’s apps have fallen behind TikTok by downloads, its apps — including Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram — still led the market in terms monthly active users (MAUs) in the quarter. TikTok, meanwhile, ranked No. 8 by this metric.

Up-and-comers in the quarter included privacy-focused messaging app Signal, which saw the strongest growth in the quarter by both downloads and MAUs — a calculation that App Annie calls “breakout apps.”  Telegram closely followed, as users bailed from mainstream social after the Capitol riot. Another “breakout” app was MX TakaTak, which is filling the hole in the market for short-form video that resulted from India’s ban  of TikTok.

Image Credits: App Annie

Gaming, meanwhile, drove a majority of the quarter’s spending, as usual, accounting for $22 billion of the spend — $13 billion on iOS (up 30% year-over-year) and $9 billion on Android (up 35%). Gamers downloaded about a billion titles per week, up 15% year-over-year from 2020.

Among Us! dropped to No. 2 in the quarter by downloads, replaced by Join Clash 3D, while DOP 2: Delete One Part jumped 308 places to reach No. 3.

Image Credits: App Annie

Roblox led by consumer spend, followed by Genshin Impact, Coin Master, Pokemon Go and others. And although Among Us! dropped on the charts by downloads, it remained No. 1 by monthly active users in the quarter, followed by PUBG Mobile, Candy Crush Saga, Roblox and others.

App Annie notes that the pandemic also accelerated the mobile gaming market, with game downloads outpacing overall downloads by 2.5x in 2020. It predicts that mobile gaming will reach  $120 billion in consumer spending this year, or 1.5x all other gaming formats combined.

#android, #app-annie, #apps, #computing, #disney, #facebook, #google-play, #india, #messenger, #mobile-applications, #netflix, #roblox, #tiktok, #whatsapp


Facebook’s Clubhouse rival looks a lot like Clubhouse right now

Facebook is building a Clubhouse rival, The New York Times reported in February. But what that product will look like or how it will work have been questions that have remained unanswered. However, new screenshots of a Facebook audio product, still under development, show what appears to be a live audio broadcast experience that’s more of an extension of Facebook’s existing Messenger Rooms, rather than a standalone app experience. Facebook confirmed with TechCrunch the images are indeed examples of the company’s “exploratory audio efforts,” but cautioned that they don’t represent a live product at this time.

The company said also that detailing what a product may look like based on these images would be inaccurate. We’ve decided to publish them anyway with the caveat that, of course, in-development features are very different from live products. Anything and everything could still change between now and a public launch.

But the images at least help demonstrate how Facebook is thinking about live audio and where such a social experience could fit within Facebook’s existing app. And that’s worth considering.

The photos themselves have been shared by mobile developer and reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who came across Facebook’s live audio developments and user interface experiments within the Facebook Android app’s code. Like other reverse engineers, Paluzzi digs around in the code to uncover unreleased products in various stages of development. Some of the products he finds are tested and scrapped, while others eventually make it to market.

In Facebook’s case, the images he shared show a “Live Audio” option for Rooms — Facebook’s social Zoom competitor which first launched last May. At the time, people were hungry for video chat options before our collective Zoom fatigue set in as the pandemic wore on. Now we all want to turn our screens off, and hang out in Clubhouse instead.

Currently, when a Facebook user creates a Messenger Room — which you can do from either Messenger or the Status box on Facebook — it’s a group video chat. Here, friends and family can virtually hang out or even co-watch Facebook videos together. But while Rooms support up to 50 people, they’re not meant to offer a large, public broadcast experience.

The new images show an expansion of Rooms, where you’ll be able to pick from one of three different “types” of Rooms — either a private video room (much like you what’s available today), or either a public or private audio room. The private audio room would be just a place to voice chat with a group of friends, while the “Live Audio” room would instead be an audio-only room where you could broadcast to wider group of listeners.

The latter would be given its own Room Link, which speakers could then promote across Facebook — either in Messenger, through a Facebook post, or within a Facebook Group — or anywhere else on social media and the web.

Meanwhile, the Live Audio Room experience — which Paluzzi mocked up with images of Mark Zuckerberg’s face to represent the users profiles — looks a lot like Clubhouse. The speakers are shown at the top of the room where they’re represented with larger, circular profile pics, while the room listeners appear below. There’s also a “followed by speakers” section that leads the audience section — again, much like Clubhouse.

Paluzzi says the way the live audio rooms product is being developed, it would allow for rooms that anyone on Facebook could join, and those rooms could be accessible from Facebook itself — meaning you would not have to switch to Messenger to join a room. When not expanded to full-screen, the room would display its title, the number of speakers, and total listeners so you could get an idea of the room’s popularity.

Of course, what Paluzzi has come across is not a final product — it’s just a user interface, buried in the code, and none of the backend works. Facebook also stressed that the images were just audio experiments, as noted above.

But the images themselves are real and represent something Facebook has built. They’re worth examining, despite any attempts to downplay their importance.

“We’ve been connecting people through audio and video technologies for many years and are always exploring new ways to improve that experience for people,” a spokesperson said, commenting on the images Paluzzi had published.

It’s no secret that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is bullish on audio, of course. In fact, he’s already appeared on Clubhouse a couple of times, and recently spoke about the potential for social audio in a Clubhouse Room hosted last week by former TechCrunch editor Josh Constine, now an investor at SignalFire. During the chat, Zuckerberg said he believes audio has a number of advantages over other formats.

“You don’t have to prepare. You don’t have to look good before you get on to go to a podcast or Clubhouse or whatever you’re doing,” he noted, of the hosting experience. Plus, he added, “you can walk around a lot more easily. You can consume it without having to look at the screen and kind of do that in the background while doing something else.”

Zuckerberg also praised Clubhouse for what it had pioneered, saying it would end up “being one of the modalities around live audio broadcast.”

Image Credits: Alessandro Paluzzi

In other words, it appears Facebook sees Clubhouse as a feature it can reproduce — similar to how it borrowed the concept of Stories from Snapchat for Instagram, and the way it’s more recently copied the TikTok experience for Instagram Reels. It doesn’t have to launch a new app to counteract the Clubhouse threat, it just has to launch a place for people to use audio on Facebook. (And of course, there’s something to be said about praising Clubhouse on Clubhouse while simultaneously building a copy.)

“Overall, I think that this is going to be a pretty big space,” Zuckerberg said of social audio. “The work that we’re doing in this is trying to basically build out a bunch of the tools across the spectrum of how people would want to use audio. I’m really excited about this,” he added.

#apps, #audio, #clubhouse, #facebook, #mark-zuckerberg, #messenger, #messenger-rooms, #social, #social-audio, #social-media, #social-software


Facebook Messenger lands on Oculus Quest

Facebook spent more time than usual talking about their success with VR in their quarterly earnings call, taking time to note developer success and their own wins peddling their latest Quest 2 VR headset.

One of the VR platform’s remaining quirks is a general lack of third-party support for apps that go beyond gaming. The headset is a powerful piece of hardware with few VR ports of mobile apps available, even available streaming apps from Hulu and Netflix have seen scant updates due to the relatively small number of headsets out there.

Facebook, a major app maker itself, has seemed to be playing a fairly delicate balancing act in bringing some of the mothership’s utility to the headset without alienating consumers who might be less interested in a clearly Facebook-branded piece of hardware. After mandating Facebook-login last fall it seems like most bets should be off there. Today, the company announced that Quest and Quest 2 users will now gain access to Messenger chats inside the app, enabling users to fire off a quick canned message to friends, use the in-VR keyboard to pound out a quick message, or use the headset’s voice-to-text feature.

For those upset about Facebook’s increasingly heavy-handed software presence on their VR platform, this will likely be another reason to avoid the Quest 2, but for those eager to make their VR gameplay a more social experience or avoid the total isolation that comes from strapping a headset on and ignoring your phone, it will be much more welcome.

Alongside, the Messenger update, Facebook also shared that with the new update, they will be rolling out what they call App Lab, essentially a TestFlight-like feature to allow Quest users to download content outside of the curated Oculus Store. It’s a feature meant to address develop complaints that Facebook has boxed fledgling game designers out from bringing content to the Quest. Users can search for the title by name in App Lab or click a link to be directed to the title. The new feature competed directly with SideQuest, a startup that has been building a hub for more experimental Quest content.

Facebook says that the new update is rolling out “gradually” to users so not all users may see the update immediately.

#app-maker, #computing, #facebook, #google-daydream, #messenger, #mixed-reality, #netflix, #oculus, #samsung-gear-vr, #sidequest, #social-media, #software, #technology, #virtual-reality, #vr, #wearable-devices


Pebble founder launches Beeper, a universal chat app that works with iMessage and others

Decades ago, a software program called Trillian introduced a way for internet users to interact with multiple IM networks, like ICQ, AIM and MSN Messenger, in a single window. Now, Pebble founder and Y Combinator Partner Eric Migicovsky is revisiting this concept, but this time with a focus on centralizing access to modern-day chat applications. Through the newly launched app, Beeper, users can connect with 15 different messaging services, including WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Instagram and Twitter DMs, Messenger, Skype, Hangouts and others — even, through a few tricks, iMessage.

Migicovsky says he first came up with the idea for a universal chat app while working on the smartwatch pioneer Pebble, before its acquisition by Fitbit.

“We really wanted Pebble to be able to send iMessages, but we could never figure out a way to do it because there’s no API for iMessage,” he explains. But the idea for Beeper came to a head two years ago when he learned about a protocol called Matrix. “All of Beeper is built on top of Matrix, which is this open-source federated, encrypted messaging protocol,” he says.

Migicovsky describes Matrix as mostly “a hacker thing,” but believes it’s starting to take off among developers. Basically, Matrix offers an API that allows developers to connect with other chat networks using a “bridge,” which relays the messages back and forth from one side to another.

“When I learned about that, I was like ‘hey, we could build Trillion using Matrix,’” Migicovsky says.

Image Credits: Beeper

Migicovsky began to work on Beeper as a side project with Tulir Asokan, a Matrix contributor he met in a Matrix chat room.

To make Beeper (previously called Nova) work with all the different chat apps, they had to build these connecting “bridges.” This code is also open-sourced and available at

“We think it’s really important for people to know what code they’re running — so it’s all open source. People can inspect it,” notes Migicovsky.

Because of this, people also don’t have to pay Beeper the $10 per month it’s charging for access to the service. If they know what they’re doing, they can just run the bridges on their own servers, if they choose.

While every messaging platform has its own unique setup in Beeper, making iMessage work was the most complicated. And the workaround here is somewhat involved, to put it mildly.

Beeper actually ships its users an old, jailbroken iPhone (iPhone 4S, because it’s cheap) to serve as the bridge. The code installed on the iPhone reads and writes to the database file where your iMessages are stored. The iPhone encrypts the messages with your own private key and then sends it over the Beeper network. This means Beeper, the company, can’t read your messages, Migicovsky says.

This process allows Android, Windows and Linux users to use iMessage. But it’s not the only way Beeper can make iMessages work. Mac users with an always-on device can instead choose to install a Beeper Mac app to work as the bridge.

Migicovsky says he’s not afraid of any shutdown attempts or litigation by Apple.

“What are they going to do?,” he asks, rhetorically.

Even if Apple somehow stopped Beeper from providing jailbroken iPhones to users, the company could redirect their customers to acquire their own old iPhones from Craigslist instead. Meanwhile, the software itself is open-source and running on an iPhone at the user’s house — so Beeper isn’t really “hacking” into iMessage itself.

“I think given the current climate of messaging freedom — I think it would be insane for Apple to start picking a fight with their own users,” Migicovsky adds. Plus, he notes that the European Commission is working on draft legislation similar to the GDPR that mandates all companies to open up messaging for other platforms.

“When that passes, they legally won’t be able to block people from doing something like Beeper,” Migicovsky notes.

Beeper, of course, is not the first or only startup focused on trying to break through the iMessage lockdown. Other apps have tried to do this in the past, like AirMessage or weMessage, for example. They have only seen limited adoption, however. And Beeper is not the only startup to try to centralize chat applications, either — is developing a similar system.

That said, signups for Beeper were bigger than Migicovsky expected, he says, though declined to share the details. He says Beeper is slowly onboarding users as a result. (For that reason, we have not been able to actually use Beeper. We can’t speak to its claims or usability.)

Despite the competition, where Beeper may have an advantage is in understanding what makes for a great user experience. Pebble, after all, sold over 2 million watches.

Today, Beeper promises features like search, snoozing, archiving, and reminders, and works across MacOS, Windows, Linux‍, iOS and Android.

Longer-term, Migicovsky envisions a platform that could do more than just text and share media, stickers and emoji, like other chat apps. Instead, the team is building a platform that would allow people to build more tools and apps on top of Beeper — a system sort of like Gmail’s plugins. For example, there could be tools that would let users schedule calendar events from within their chats. Or perhaps a tool could help you see all the most recent messages you’ve had with a particular user across different platforms, like Clearbit.

Migicovsky declined also to detail how the work on Beeper is being financed but when asked if Beeper could be the next step for him — as in, a new company to work on — he replied, “possibly.”

“I’m enjoying my time at YC. It is fantastic. I was just inspired by all the companies that I work with to do this. Part of being VC is talking to all these founders who are building cool stuff and launching it. And I got a little bit jealous,” he admits.

#apps, #beeper, #chat, #chat-apps, #eric-migicovsky, #imessage, #matrix, #messages, #messaging, #messaging-apps, #messenger, #sms, #tc, #y-combinator


Signal and Telegram are also growing in China – for now

As fears over WhatsApp’s privacy policies send millions of users in the West to Signal and Telegram, the two encrypted apps are also seeing a slight user uptick in China, where WeChat has long dominated and the government has a tight grip on online communication.

Following WhatsApp’s pop-up notification reminding users that it shares their data with its parent Facebook, people began fleeing to alternate encrypted platforms. Telegram added 25 million just between January 10-13, the company said on its official Telegram channel, while Signal surged to the top of the App Store and Google Play Store in dozens of countries, TechCrunch learned earlier.

The migration was accelerated when, on January 7, Elon Musk urged his 40 million Twitter followers to install Signal in a tweet that likely stoked more interest in the end-to-end encryption messenger.

The growth of Telegram and Signal in China isn’t nearly as remarkable as their soaring popularity in regions where WhatsApp has been the mainstream chat app, but the uplift is a reminder that WeChat alternatives still exist in China in various capacities.

Signal amassed 9,000 new downloads from the China App Store between January 8 and 12, up 500% from the period between January 3 and 7, according to data from research firm Sensor Tower. Telegram added 17,000 downloads during January 8-12, up 6% from the January 3-7 duration. WhatsApp’s growth stalled, recording 10,000 downloads in both periods.

Sensor Tower estimates that Telegram has seen about 2.7 million total installs on China’s App Store, compared to 458,000 downloads from Signal and 9.5 million times from WhatsApp.

The fact that Telegram, Signal, and WhatsApp are accessible in China might come as a surprise to some people. But China’s censorship decisions can be arbitrary and inconsistent. As censorship monitoring site Apple Censorship shows, all major Western messengers are still available on the China App Store.

The situation for Android is trickier. Google services are largely blocked in China and Android users revert to Android app stores operated by local companies like Tencent and Baidu. Neither Telegram nor Signal is available on these third-party Android stores, but users with a tool that can bypass China’s Great Firewall, such as a virtual private network (VPN), can access Google Play and install the encrypted messengers.

The next challenge is actually using these apps. The major chat apps all get slightly different treatment from Beijing’s censorship apparatus. Some, like Signal, work perfectly without the need for a VPN. Users have reported that WhatsApp occasionally works in China without a VPN, though it loads very slowly. And Facebook doesn’t work at all without a VPN.

“Some websites and apps can remain untouched until they reach a certain threshold of users at which point the authorities will try to block or disrupt the website or app,” said Charlie Smith, the pseudonymous head of Great Fire, an organization monitoring the Chinese internet that also runs Apple Censorship.

“Perhaps before this mass migration from WhatsApp, Signal did not have that many users in China. That might have changed over the last week in which case the authorities could be pondering restrictions for Signal,” Smith added.

To legally operate in China, companies must store their data within China and submit information to the authorities for security spot-checks, according to a cybersecurity law enacted in 2017. Apple, for instance, partners with a local cloud provider to store the data of its Chinese users.

The requirement raises questions about the type of interaction that Signal, Telegram, and other foreign apps have with the Chinese authorities. Signal said it never turned over data to the Hong Kong police and had no data to turn over when concerns grew over Beijing’s heightened controls over the former British colony.

The biggest challenges for apps like Signal in China, according to Smith, will come from Apple, which is constantly under fire by investors and activists for submitting to the Chinese authorities.

In recent years, the American giant has stepped up app crackdown in China, zeroing in on services that grant Chinese users access to unfiltered information, such as VPN providers, RSS feed readers and podcast apps. Apple has also purged tens of thousands of unlicensed games in recent quarters after a years-long delay.

“Apple has a history of pre-emptively censoring apps that they believe the authorities would want censored,” Smith observed. “If Apple decides to remove Signal in China, either on its own initiative or in direct response to a request from the authorities, then Apple customers in China will be left with no secure messaging options.”

#apple, #asia, #beijing, #china, #encryption, #facebook, #firewall, #google-play-store, #government, #great-fire, #messenger, #tc, #telegram, #tencent, #vpn, #wechat, #whatsapp


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 $143 billion, led by markets that included China, the United States, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Consumers also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone, the report found.

In another shift, app usage in the U.S. surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours on their mobile device.

The increase in time spent is a trend that’s not unique to the U.S., but can be seen across several other countries, including both developing mobile markets like Indonesia, Brazil and India, as well as places like China, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., Germany, France and others.

The trend isn’t isolated to any one demographic, either, but is seen across age groups. In the U.S., for example, Gen Z, millennials and Gen X/Baby Boomers spent 16%, 18% and 30% more time in their most-used apps year-over-year, respectively. However, what those favorite apps looked like was very different.

For Gen Z in the U.S., top apps on Android phones included Snapchat, Twitch, TikTok, Roblox and Spotify.

Millennials favored Discord, LinkedIn, PayPal, Pandora and Amazon Music.

And Gen X/Baby Boomers used Ring, Nextdoor, The Weather Channel, Kindle and ColorNote Notepad Notes.

The pandemic didn’t necessarily change how consumers were using apps in 2020, but rather accelerated mobile adoption by two to three years’ time, the report found.

Investors were also eager to fuel mobile businesses as a result, pouring $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year. According to Crunchbase data, 26% of total global funding dollars in 2020 went to businesses that included a mobile solution.

From 2016 to 2020, global funding to mobile technology companies more than doubled compared with the previous five years, and was led by financial services, transportation, commerce and shopping.

Mobile gaming adoption also continued to grow in 2020. Casual games dominated the market in terms of downloads (78%), but Core games accounted for 66% of games’ consumer spend and 55% of the time spent.

With many stuck inside due to COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines, mobile games that offered social interaction boomed. Among Us, for example, became a breakout game in several markets in 2020, including the U.S.

Other app categories saw sizable increases over the past year, as well.

Time spent in Finance apps in 2020 was up 45% worldwide, outside of China, and participation in the stock market grew 55% on mobile, thanks to apps like Robinhood in the U.S. and others worldwide, that democratized investing and trading.

TikTok had a big year, too.

The app saw incredible 325% year-over-year growth, despite a ban in India, and ranked in the top five apps by time spent. The average monthly time spent per user also grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, including 65% in the U.S. and 80% in the U.K., surpassing Facebook. TikTok is now on track to hit 1.2 billion active users in 2021, App Annie forecasts.

Other video services boomed in 2020, thanks to a combination of new market entrants and a lot of time spent at home. Consumers spent 40% more hours streaming on mobile devices, with time spent in streaming apps peaking in the second quarter in the west as the pandemic forced people inside.

YouTube benefitted from this trend, as it became the No. 1 streaming app by time spent among all markets analyzed except China. The time spent in YouTube is up to 6x that of the next closet app at 38 hours per month.

Of course, another big story for 2020 was the rise of e-commerce amid the pandemic. This made the past year the biggest ever for mobile shopping, with an over 30% increase in time spent in Shopping apps, as measured on Android phones outside of China.

Mobile commerce, however, looked less traditional in 2020.

Social shopping was a big trend, with global downloads of Pinterest and Instagram growing 50% and 20% year-over-year, respectively.

Livestreaming shopping grew, too, led by China. Downloads of live shopping TaoBao Live in China, Grip in South Korea and NTWRK in the U.S. grew 100%, 245% and 85%, respectively. NTWRK doubled in size last year, and now others are entering the space as well — including TikTok, to some extent.

The pandemic also prompted increased usage of mobile ordering apps. In the U.S., Argentina, the U.K., Indonesia and Russia, the app grew by 60%, 65%, 70%, 80% and 105%, respectively, in Q4.

Business apps, like Zoom and Google Meet among others, grew 275% in Q4, for example, as remote work and sometimes school, continued.

The analysis additionally included lists of the top apps by downloads, spending and monthly active users (MAUs).

Although TikTok had been topping year-end charts, Facebook continued to beat it in terms of MAUs. Facebook-owned apps controlled the top charts by MAUs, with Facebook at No. 1 followed by WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

TikTok, however, had more downloads than Facebook and ranked No. 2 by consumer spending, behind Tinder.

The full report is available only as an online interactive experience this year, not a download. The report largely uses data from both the iOS App Store and Google Play, except where otherwise noted.

#amazon, #android, #app-annie, #apps, #argentina, #brazil, #china, #computing, #e-commerce, #facebook, #financial-services, #france, #freeware, #germany, #google, #india, #indonesia, #instagram, #japan, #kindle, #linkedin, #messenger, #mobile-app, #mobile-applications, #mobile-commerce, #mobile-device, #mobile-devices, #mobile-technology, #operating-systems, #pandora, #paypal, #pinterest, #roblox, #russia, #snapchat, #social-media, #software, #south-korea, #spotify, #the-weather-channel, #tiktok, #twitch, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #video-services


Instagram businesses and creators may be getting a Messenger-like ‘FAQ’ feature

Instagram is developing a new product, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), that will allow people to start conversations with businesses or creators’ accounts by tapping on a commonly asked question within a chat. Those who already have the feature available report they’re able to create set of up to four questions which can optionally be displayed at the beginning of a conversation with other users.

The feature could be useful for businesses that are often responding to customer inquiries about their products or services, or for creators who receive a number of inbound requests from fans or brands interested in collaborations, for example.

The product’s introduction highlights the extent that Instagram’s messaging platform now overlaps with Facebook Messenger, following the recent launch of the new Instagram messaging experience. In September, Facebook announced Instagram users would have the option to upgrade to a new inbox that now offers a number of Messenger-inspired features — like the ability to change your chat color, react with any emoji, set messages to disappear, and more. The upgrade also introduced cross-app communication between Instagram and Messenger’s platforms.

With these changes, it appears Facebook is paving a road towards making the Instagram messaging experience more on par with Messenger.

Today, the Messenger app offers a similar FAQ option for Facebook Page owners under the Automated Responses section in Messenger’s settings. Here, Page owners or admins can set up a series of frequently asked questions and their responses to those questions which can be presented at the beginning of conversations with their Page — just like this new Instagram feature offers.

The Instagram FAQ option had been spotted earlier this year while in development, but seemed to be only for Business accounts, according to the app’s code.


However, new reports and screenshots from one Instagram user with access to the feature indicate the FAQ will be available for creator accounts, in addition to businesses.

The feature was spotted on Monday by social media consultant Matt Navarra, who credited @thenezvm for the new discovery.

Given that @thenezvm has access to the feature now, as the above credited screenshots show, the FAQ option could either be in early testing or starting to roll out more broadly.

It’s likely the former, however, as Instagram declined to comment or provide details, when TechCrunch asked for more information.

#apps, #facebook, #facebook-messenger, #faq, #instagram, #instagram-direct, #messenger, #social, #social-media


Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine shows high efficacy, and is cheaper to make and easier to store

Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine, being developed in partnership with drugmaker AstraZeneca, has shown to be 70.4% effective in preliminary results from its Phase 3 clinical trial. That rate actually includes data from two different approaches to dosing, including one where two full strength does were applied, which was 62% effective, and a much more promising dosage trial which used one half-dose and one full strength dose to follow – that one was 90% effective.

Oxford’s results may not have the eye-catching high efficacy headline totals of the recent announcements from Pfizer and Moderna, but they could actually represent some of the most promising yet for a few different reasons. First, if that second dosage strategy holds true across later results and further analysis, it means that the Oxford vaccine can be administered in lower amounts and provide stronger efficacy (there’s no reason to use the full two-dose method if it’s that much less effective).

Second, the Oxford vaccine can be stored and transported at standard refrigerator temperatures – between 35° and 45°F – whereas the other two vaccine candidates require storage at lower temperatures. That helps obviate the need for more specialized equipment during transportation and on-site at clinics and hospitals where it will be administered.

Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine also uses a different approach to either Moderna’s or Pfizer’s, which are both mRNA vaccines. That’s a relatively unproven technology when it comes to human therapeutics, which involves using messenger RNA to provide blueprints to a person’s body to build proteins effective at blocking a virus, without any virus present. The Oxford University candidate is an adenovirus vaccine, which is a much more established technology that’s already been in use for decades, and which involves genetically altering a weekend common cold virus and using that to trigger a person’s own natural immune response.

Finally, it’s also cheaper – in part because it uses tried and tested technology for which there’s already a robust and mature supply chain, and in part because it’s easier to transport and store.

The Phase 3 trial for the Oxford vaccine included 24,000 participants, and it’s expected to grow to 60,000 by the end of the year. Safety data so far shows no significant risks, and among the 131 confirmed cases in the interim analysis that produced these results, none of those who received either vaccine dosage developed a severe case, or one requiring hospitalization.

This is great news for potential vaccination programs, since it introduces variety of supply chain into an apparently effective vaccine treatment for COVID-19. We’re much better off if we have not only multiple effective vaccines, but multiple different types of effective vaccines, in terms of being able to inoculate widely as quickly as possible.

#astrazeneca, #biotech, #health, #medical-research, #medicine, #messenger, #moderna, #oxford-university, #pfizer, #tc, #unproven-technology, #vaccination, #vaccine, #vaccines


Instagram revamps its mobile messaging app Threads

Instagram is continuing to develop its standalone messaging app, Threads. Last month, the company modified the app to make it possible for users to message everyone, instead of just “close friends,” as its other messaging app, Direct, once did. Today, Instagram is releasing a redesigned version of the Threads app with updated navigation and a Status tab, as well as support for posting photos and videos to your Instagram Story.

The changes address some of Threads’ shortcomings in usability. Though the app offered a way to update your Status or even automatically update it, based on your location, it was difficult to move between the different sections of the app.

The redesign attempts to make it easier for Threads users to view and interact with friends’ statuses and their Stories, or quickly switch back to the Camera interface or their messaging inbox, through a new navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. This navigation change, which adds the Status tab, will go live globally starting on November 19, says Instagram.

In addition, Instagram says Threads users can now take a photo or video and share it out to their Instagram Story, in addition to only their Close Friends Story directly in the Threads app.

The more recent change to the inbox, which added a new tab for “Everyone Else,” is also now globally available, as of today’s update.

These changes represent another step away from Threads being an app only meant to be used to keep with close friends.

The updates to Threads follow a period of overhaul for Facebook’s family of mobile messaging apps, including Messenger and Instagram itself, which saw another set of updates to its own inbox in recent weeks. Yesterday, Facebook announced that more features that were a part of the big overhaul of the Instagram messaging experience had become available, including an expanded co-watching feature, Watch Together, which now lets users watch IGTV, Reels and TV shows together in real-time over video chat.

It also rolled out chat themes, including a new one that featured characters representing the seven members of BTS. The company in September had announced cross-app communication with Messenger for users who upgraded their messaging experience on Instagram. That update had included the ability to change your chat color, react with any emoji, among other new features. Vanish mode is still to come to Instagram, but should arrive soon, Facebook said.

These changes, focused on Facebook’s flagship apps, may have left some wondering what would become of Threads — an app that hasn’t gone mainstream. As of the time of writing, the app was ranked No. 66 in the Photo & Video category on the U.S. App Store, and No. 1,031 Overall. But as these new efforts show, Instagram is continuing to tweak the user experience on Threads, in an effort to cater to those often use Instagram for messaging.

To be clear, some users may have had access to the new features ahead of today’s announcement, but they’re now broadly available.


#apps, #facebook, #facebook-applications, #instagram, #instagram-story, #messaging-apps, #messenger, #social-media, #social-software, #tc


Facebook’s Messenger Kids app redesigned to look more like Messenger

Facebook today is rolling out an updated version of its Messenger Kids app with the goal of making it easier for kids to interact with their friends and family, navigate the app, and personalize their experience with features like custom chat bubble colors. The redesign also gives the kid-friendly app a look-and-feel that’s more like Messenger itself.

The updated app does away with the larger, colorful blocks that would flash when messages arrive for a more traditional messaging app design where chats are stacked in a vertical list. The child’s unread messages, now at the top of the inbox, are in bold with a blue dot next to them to call the eye’s attention. Media and message previews have also been added, too, allowing kids to more easily see updates for their conversations.

The redesign introduces new navigation with two dedicated “Chat” and “Explore” navigation tabs at the bottom of the screen, allowing for kids to switch between their conversations and the other in-app activities the app provides, like its mini-games

And with a new swipe gesture, kids can start a call from their inbox.

Finally, the update introduces a new option to personalize conversations, including both individual and group chats, with a custom chat bubble color.

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook refers to the update as a “test,” but the changes here are not small tweaks to the layout, navigation or feature set — they’re a revamp. That makes it less likely that this is just some experiment that will later be rolled back based on user feedback. Instead, by referring to it as a test, Facebook gives itself more time before committing to a global rollout.

The company says the new features will first roll out to kids using iPhones in the U.S. and Canada. The update will later expand to other devices and markets in the months ahead.

The changes arrive shortly after Messenger itself received a significant update of its own, which included a visual makeover and new features, including support for chat themes, custom reactions, selfie stickers and vanish mode, in addition to support for cross-app communication with Instagram users. Those updates could have led to the Messenger Kids makeover as well, given there’s likely some underlying messaging infrastructure that’s shared here.

The Messenger Kids app has been steadily updated in the years since its launch, most recently with a big explainer on what Facebook is doing with all that data it’s collecting.

Image Credits: Facebook

Parents should be aware this app today collects a lot of personal information, including names, profile photos, demographic details (gender and birthday), a child’s connection to parents, contacts’ information (like most frequent contacts), app usage information, device attributes and unique identifiers, data from device settings (like time zones or access to camera and photos), network information and information provided from things like bug reports or feedback/contact forms. While some of this does allow the app to properly function, there’s also concern from some parents about how this data is really being used.

While the app does offer a suite of parental controls that make it easier for parents to monitor and restrict how and when their children chat online, Messenger Kids’ privacy policy still leaves itself a lot of wiggle room about how the data may be used to “evaluate, troubleshoot, improve, create, and develop our products” and be shared with other Facebook Companies. Parents should carefully weigh the risks of allowing their child to use a Facebook product with the conveniences of being able to use an app with a robust set of parental controls.

#apps, #facebook, #facebook-messenger, #instant-messaging, #messaging-apps, #messenger, #messenger-kids, #social, #social-media, #tc


Moderna reports its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective in first data from Phase 3 trial

Following fast on the heels of Pfizer’s announcement of its COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, Moderna is also sharing positive results from its Phase 3 trial on Monday. The biotech company says that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown efficacy of 94.5% in its first interim data analysis, which covers 95 confirmed COVID cases among its study participants, of which 90 were given the placebo, and only 5 received Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccine. Further, of 11 severe cases of COVID-19, none were found among those who received the actual vaccine candidate.

This is another very promising sign for the potential of having effective vaccines available to the public in some kind of significant volume at some point next year. As mentioned, it’s worth pointing out that this is just a first interim report, but it is data that comes from the safety board overseeing the trial appointed by the National Institutes of Health, which is an independent body not affiliated with Moderna, so it’s a reliable result that provides hope for continued and final analysis.

Moderna says that it will be submitting for an Emergency Use Authorization of its vaccine candidate based on the results within the coming weeks, looking to get approval from the FDA to use it in emergency circumstances ahead of a full and final approval. That EUA, should it be granted, will be based on data from 151 confirmed cases among the Phase 3 participant group (which included 30,000 participants in total), and data from follow-ups extending on average over two months after case confirmation.

All final data will also be submitted to the scientific community for independent peer review, which is a standard part of the ultimate vaccine trial and approval process.

Both these and Pfizer’s vaccine candidate, which it developed in partnership with BioNTech, are mRNA-based vaccines. These are relatively new in terms of human use, and differ from traditional vaccines in that they use messenger RNA to instruct a recipient’s cells to generate effective antibodies, without actually exposing them to any virus, whereas more traditional vaccines in general use typically use either small, safe doses of active or inactive virus in order to trigger a patient’s immune system to generate their own antibodies.

#biontech, #biotech, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #fda, #health, #medical-research, #medicine, #messenger, #moderna, #pfizer, #tc, #vaccination, #vaccine, #vaccines


Facebook’s Snapchat-like ‘Vanish Mode’ feature arrives on Messenger and Instagram

Facebook today announced its new Snapchat-like feature for disappearing messaging, Vanish Mode, is arriving on Messenger and Instagram. The feature, meant for more casual conversations, allows users to set chats to automatically delete after the message is seen and the chat is closed.

In Vanish Mode, Messenger and Instagram users can send text chats, emoji, pictures, GIFs, voice messages, and stickers, which will disappear after they’ve been seen and users leave the chat, Facebook explains.

Image Credits: Facebook

However, unlike on Snapchat, Vanish Mode is not a default setting. Instead, users are meant to enable it from within an existing chat by swiping up on their mobile device’s screen while in the chat.

Upon first launch, a screen will appear explaining how Vanish Mode works. It also notes that users will be alerted if someone takes a screenshot of the conversation — as Snapchat does.

For safety purposes, Facebook supports blocking and reporting in Vanish Mode. If a user in the conversation reports a chat, the disappearing messages will be included for up to 1 hour after they disappear, the company explains. This allows Facebook to review the reported conversation and take action, if need be.

Image Credits: Facebook

Vanish Mode is also an opt in experience — meaning you can can choose whether to enter a Vanish Mode chat. And it only works with people you’re connected to, Facebook says.

Once in Vanish Mode, the screen goes dark to signal the change. To exit Vanish Mode, you tap on the “Turn Off Vanish Mode” button at the top of the screen.

Facebook’s plans for Vanish mode were announced earlier as part of its overhaul of the Instagram messaging experience in September. This update had included the ability for Instagram and Messenger users to communicate across apps, along with other “fun” features.

As a part of that update, Instagram received many Messenger-inspired additions — like the ability to change the chat color or react with any emoji, for example. But though announced, the Vanish Mode feature was then said to be coming “soon.”

Image Credits: Facebook

To be clear, Vanish Mode is not designed to cater to those looking to secure an entire conversation. Though the feature is end-to-end encrypted, Facebook already offers a fully end-to-end encrypted conversations feature, Secret Conversations. Instead, Vanish Mode’s main focus is to chip away at yet another advantage held by rival Snapchat.

That’s part for the course for Facebook these days. The company already copied the Stories format popularlized Snapchat, and now that product alone on each of its platforms is used by more people (500M+) than all of Snapchat. (249M).

To get Vanish Mode, and other recent updates to the Instagram messaging experience, users have to opt-in to the upgrade. Essentially, these new features are being used as lures to get Instagram users to agree to the upgrade.

The upgrade then locks them further inside the Facebook universe as they then also receive the ability to communicate cross-platform with users on Facebook. Eventually, WhatsApp may become a part of this cross-platform communication strategy, as well.

Once upgraded, people can use just one messaging apps to reach friends and family on two of the largest social networks in the world. And with additions like Vanish Mode, they won’t miss out on things found on competitors’ apps. Meanwhile, with Reels on Instagram, Facebook aims to retain TikTok users, too.

Facebook says Vanish Mode is launching starting today on Messenger in the U.S. Canada, Mexico, Peru and Bangladesh, and on Instagram (soon) in Canada, Argentina, Chile, Peru and a few other countries. It will soon roll out to other countries across both platforms, the company says.


#apps, #facebook, #facebook-messenger, #instagram, #messaging-apps, #messenger, #snapchat, #social, #social-media, #social-networks


Bridgefy launches end-to-end encrypted messaging for the app used during protests and disasters

Offline-messaging app Bridgefy — which innovatively uses Bluetooth and Wi-fi — became known as the go-to app by thousands of protesters around the world to keep communications going even when oppressive regimes blocked or shut down the Internet. Recently, activists in Nigeria and Thailand have urged supporters to download the app, as last year, when protesters in Hong Kong downloaded Bridgefy to face the government’s censorship of phone services or data connections. In the last 12 months, the startup says it’s reached 2 million downloads. And since the events of the weekend, when Turkey and Greece were hit by an earthquake, the app is now trending on app stores for those regions.

Bridgefy is now publishing a major new update, with a new, crucial feature for activists: end-to-end encrypted messages. This will allow people to securely send and receive messages when they don’t have access to data and will use the same encryption protocol used by Signal, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger .

Bridgefy launched in 2014 (and appeared on the TechCrunch Disrupt stage in 2017) when the founders identified the problem of not being able to communicate during the earthquakes in Mexico City. It started as a mobile app, and an SDK was added a few years later so other apps could also work without the Internet. The Bridgefy SDK is now licensed to companies on an annual subscription model, based on user volume and is integrated by more than 40 companies across payments, messaging, gaming, social media, dating, and natural disaster apps. Technically-speaking, its competitors include GoTenna and the moth-ball gathering Firechat, although Bridgefy has become better known in the activist space.

The startup is now raising a Seed round and has already raised $800,000 USD, with investors including Twitter cofounder Biz Stone, Alchemist Accelerator and GAN Ventures.

#biz-stone, #bluetooth, #bridgefy, #cofounder, #computing, #europe, #facebook, #firechat, #mesh-networking, #messenger, #mexico-city, #nigeria, #operating-systems, #phone-services, #social-media, #software, #tc, #techcrunch, #thailand, #whatsapp, #wi-fi


WhatsApp is now delivering roughly 100 billion messages a day

WhatsApp, the popular instant messaging app owned by Facebook, is now delivering roughly 100 billion messages a day, the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said at the quarterly earnings call Thursday.

For some perspective, users exchanged 100 billion messages on WhatsApp last New Year’s Eve. That is the day when WhatsApp tops its engagement figures, and as many of you may remember, also the time when the service customarily suffered glitches in the past years. (No outage on last New Year’s Eve!)

At this point, WhatsApp is just competing with itself. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp together were used to exchange 60 billion messages a day as of early 2016. Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in May that iMessage and FaceTime were seeing record usage, but did not share specific figures. The last time Apple did share the figure, it was far behind WhatsApp’s then usage (podcast). WeChat, which has also amassed over 1 billion users, is behind in daily volume of messages, too.

In early 2014, WhatsApp was being used to exchange about 50 billion texts a day, its then chief executive Jan Koum revealed at an event.

At the time, WhatsApp had fewer than 500 million users. WhatsApp now has more than 2 billion users and at least in India, its largest market by users, its popularity surpasses those of every other smartphone app including the big blue app.

“This year we’ve all relied on messaging more than ever to keep up with our loved ones and get business done,” tweeted Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp.

Sadly, that’s all the update the company shared on WhatsApp today. Mystery continues for when WhatsApp expects to resume its payments service in Brazil, and when it plans to launch its payments in India, where it began testing the service in 2018. (It has already shared big plans around financial services in India, though.)

“We are proud that WhatsApp is able to deliver roughly 100B messages every day and we’re excited about the road ahead,” said Cathcart.

#apps, #facebook, #imessage, #messenger, #social, #whatsapp


Study shows which messengers leak your data, drain your battery, and more

Stock photo of man using smartphone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Link previews are a ubiquitous feature found in just about every chat and messaging app, and with good reason. They make online conversations easier by providing images and text associated with the file that’s being linked.

Unfortunately, they can also leak our sensitive data, consume our limited bandwidth, drain our batteries, and, in one case, expose links in chats that are supposed to be end-to-end encrypted. Among the worst offenders, according to research published on Monday, were messengers from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Line. More about that shortly. First a brief discussion of previews.

When a sender includes a link in a message, the app will display the conversation along with text (usually a headline) and images that accompany the link. It usually looks something like this:

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#biz-it, #facebook, #instagram, #instant-message, #messenger, #policy, #privacy, #security


Facebook introduces a new Messenger API with support for Instagram

Following the updates to Instagram and Messenger that delivered cross-app communication and other features, Facebook today announced its Messenger API has also been updated to allow businesses to manage their communications across Instagram, in addition to Messenger .

Before today, businesses could only respond to customer inquiries through the Instagram app and through Facebook’s unified business inbox. This could work for some smaller businesses, but for larger brands with a high volume of messages, it could be difficult to be efficient this way.

The update means businesses will be able to now also integrate Instagram messaging into the applications and workflows they’re already using in-house to manage their Facebook conversations. Specifically, they’ll be able to use rich media — like photos, URL links and more — and work with developers to integrate the API with their product and customer databases to provide the same experience on Instagram as they do today on Messenger.

For example, a business with a CRM system integration would be able to view the customer loyalty information and take that into account when they respond.

Businesses using the API can also manage their Instagram presence, including their Profile, Shops and Stories, Facebook says.

Image Credits: Facebook

The change comes at a time when Instagram is pushing Shopping as a core activity on Instagram, and follows the launch of Instagram shops and visual changes to the app to highlight shopping features.

According to Facebook, daily conversations between people and businesses on Messenger and Instagram combined grew over 40% over the last year.

With the launch of the new API, Facebook is also introducing new features on Instagram that will allow businesses to respond immediately to common questions using automation, while still offering to connect customers to live support, if needed. An alpha test with partner Clarabridge on this feature indicated that client brands improved response rates on Instagram by up to 55% by managing DMs through its platform.

The updated Messenger API is launching into beta testing with businesses like Adidas, Amaro, Glossier, H&M, MagazineLuiza, Michael Kors, Nars, Sephora and TechStyle Fashion Group, among other consumer brands. The beta is also open to a limited number of developer partners. Today, other businesses and developers can join a waitlist to request access to the API post-beta.

Cross-app communication, a key part of the recent Instagram and Messenger update, is not available in the API at launch, however. For now, the messages will appear a brand’s Messenger or Instagram tab depending on where their customers are messaging from. However, Facebook confirmed it plans to “eventually” bring cross-app communication to businesses and developers in a later update.

#api, #apps, #brands, #developers, #facebook, #instagram, #messages, #messenger, #shopping, #social, #social-media


Messenger’s latest update brings new features, cross-app communication with Instagram

Facebook Messenger is getting a visual update and a number of new features, including support for chat themes, custom reactions, and soon, selfie stickers and vanish mode. The changes are a part of Facebook’s overhauled messaging platform, announced in late September, which introduced the ability for Instagram users to communicate with people on Facebook for the first time.

While Instagram users had to opt-in to the upgraded new feature set in order to also gain access to the cross-platform communication capabilities, Messenger users don’t have to make a similar choice.

Instead, Facebook says this morning that cross-app communication with Instagram will be rolled out soon to users across North America. (At the time of the Instagram announcement, Facebook hadn’t yet confirmed which markets would receive the update first.)

Image Credits: Facebook

Messenger users won’t need to take action to gain the new feature set either. These will also be rolled out to users automatically, as they become available in the user’s region.

On the visual side, one noticeable change — meant to be reflective of Messenger’s cross-platform messaging capabilities — is the updated Messenger logo. It now looks more Instagram-esque with shades of blues, purples and pinks, instead of being Facebook blue.

Image Credits: Facebook

Messenger’s default chat color will be changed to match the new style, as well.

New chat themes, including love and tie-dye, will also now begin to roll out to users, as well as custom reactions, which allow you to react with a variety of emoji instead of the standard set offered today.

Other features are expected to arrive “soon” thereafter, including selfie stickers, which let you decorate your own photo to use a sticker, and a vanish mode to make chats disappear.

These are the same features Instagram users received in their latest update, too.

Before today, Messenger had received a number of new features, including most recently, the ability to co-watch videos with friends and family in Messenger or in Messenger Rooms.

Facebook’s decision to lock users into a new messaging platform with cross-app communication capabilities will make it more difficult for users to defect to other competitive messaging apps. After all, why bother when one app can reach two of the largest social networks? (And one day, possibly, it will incorporate WhatsApp, too.)

It will also make it more difficult for Facebook to unwind its separate businesses, if required to do so by regulars in the future.

Today’s announcement follows last week’s antitrust report put out by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which recommended Congress to review a number of potential remedies for Facebook’s monopoly power, including to split parts of its business, as one solution. However, regulators may be more focused on how Facebook acquires competitors to gain an advantage, rather than how it operates its existing apps today, like Instagram and Messenger.





#apps, #facebook, #facebook-messenger, #instagram, #messaging-apps, #messenger, #mobile, #social, #social-media, #social-networks, #tc


Facebook introduces cross-app communication between Messenger and Instagram, plus other features

Facebook announced today it will begin rolling out new functionality that will allow Instagram and Messenger users to communicate across apps, in addition to bringing a host of Messenger -inspired features to the Instagram inbox. On Instagram, users will be presented with an option to update to a new messaging experience that offers the ability to change your chat color, react with any emoji, watch videos together, set messages to disappear and more. As a part of this update, they’ll also have the option to chat with friends who use Facebook, the app will inform them.

Image Credits: Facebook

The broad set of more “fun” additions to the Instagram inbox will serve as a way to entice users to agree to the upgrade. This decision, in turn, locks users further inside the Facebook universe. With cross-platform messaging interoperability, users may see fewer reasons to try a different chat app as one messaging app can reach friends and family across two of the world’s largest social networks.

Facebook says the new interoperability will also work even if the Instagram users don’t have a Facebook account, and vice versa.

In time, Facebook plans to fold WhatsApp into the experience, too, in a further consolidation of its market power.

Though many users may choose to update for the fun enhancements, Facebook notes they can then opt out of being reachable across platforms using new privacy controls, after the fact.

Through an expanded set of privacy tools, users can specify who can reach their main Chats list, who is sent to the Message Request folder and who can’t reach them at all. If an Instagram user doesn’t want to hear from anyone on Facebook, they can turn this feature off.

Image Credits: Facebook

These controls can also be managed in the new Accounts Center, which Facebook launched yesterday. The tool allows users to manage a growing set of cross-app features, like Single Sign On and Facebook Pay.

As before, users on both Instagram and Messenger apps will be able to block and report suspicious and unwanted messages and calls on an as-needed basis. But blocking and reporting will be expanded to allow users to report full conversations in addition to single messages on Instagram. The “Safety Notices” feature in Messenger, which helps users spot and respond to suspicious activity, will also come to Instagram — initially to minors’ accounts.

Image Credits: Facebook

Even if you agree to being reachable across platforms, Facebook clarifies that it’s not actually merging your inboxes.

In other words, you won’t see all your Instagram chats in Messenger or vice versa. Instagram users’ messages and calls from friends and family will remain in the Instagram app, but these may now include messages initiated by a Facebook user, if permitted.

If these changes seem a bit confusing, that could be by design. Facebook and Instagram users have to navigate a labyrinth of privacy and security settings that grow more complicated every year as the functionality offered by Facebook’s networks also expands. Though Facebook offers a range of nuanced controls, many users no longer bother to try to figure them out, as they’re constantly changing, relocated or made more complex.

Consumers may only view the messaging interoperability as a handy way to reach their friends on other services. But for industry observers, it’s another example of how Facebook appears to be leveraging its market dominance to possibly stifle new competition. For a company already under multiple antitrust investigations, it’s a move that seems to thumb its nose at government regulators.

The project to make Facebook’s chat platforms interoperate has been a significant technical undertaking from an infrastructure perspective. Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailed the company’s plans for messaging interoperability as part of his larger vision for a more private social networking experience.

Earlier this summer, Facebook began testing the changes with a small percentage of users.

In terms of the larger update beyond interoperability, Instagram users will also be able to watch videos together, including those from Facebook Watch and soon Reels.

Image Credits: Facebook

They’ll also be able to make their messages disappear, like Snapchat, with a “Vanish Mode” option. Other new features include Boomerang-like “Selfie Stickers,” the ability to personalize the chat’s colors, use custom emoji reactions, forward messages with up to five friends or groups, reply directly to a specific message in a group chat for clarity’s sake and add visual flair to messages with animated effects.

Facebook says the features will begin rolling out to the general public, initially with a handful of countries around the world before expanding globally.

#apps, #facebook, #instagram, #messenger, #social, #tc


Pivoting during a pandemic

Like everywhere else, the COVID-19 pandemic created a new “no normal” at Facebook .

The seismic shifts and disruptions reverberated across the globe and we had to accept that and adjust, quickly. Suddenly, our products were more important than ever yet we had to rethink everything we had planned, including the very nature of the way we work. One of the things that helped me most was recalling the lessons learned from my days leading startups. We were frequently forced to adapt to constantly shifting priorities and changing markets. These experiences prepared me to be much more effective and agile, at-scale.

As a global organization, our first priority was to determine how we could help. We saw many governments and health agencies were already using Messenger to communicate with people in their communities about the virus. We also saw that in an environment full of so much uncertainty and fear, connecting people to reliable information about COVID-19 was absolutely paramount. Our team quickly mobilized, remotely, to help health organizations in their efforts.

In a matter of weeks we created a program in partnership with our developer community to offer free services to government and NGO health organizations around the world. Developers built tools to help agencies leverage Messenger’s unique reach and scale to provide as many people as possible with accurate information about COVID-19. This included organizations like WHO, UNICEF and many others across nearly all levels of government.

Usage was spiking across Facebook’s family of apps and we knew we would need to dramatically speed up our product roadmap. We were able to hyperaccelerate the launch of products we knew people needed. This included Messenger Desktop, a new version of the app that enables video calling on the larger desktop screen. We also launched Messenger Rooms, a free and unlimited video calling service that lets up to 50 people join a video call even if they don’t have a Facebook account. And just this week we launched Watch Together, which lets people watch videos and other entertainment while on group video calls to give them a sense of being together in-person even when they can’t be.

It also became clear to us that our efforts to stop the spread of misinformation online were now more critical than ever. While we were already focused on this, especially given the fact that there’s national elections this year in the U.S. and other countries, we could see that the many unknowns surrounding COVID-19 were fertile ground for people to send false, misleading and even dangerous information. To help combat this, we implemented new forwarding limits on the number of people or groups a message can be forwarded to at one time. We know this is an effective way to help slow the spread of viral misinformation or harmful content that can cause real-world damage.

All of these efforts have been made while our entire workforce has been remote since March. This has been an incredibly profound shift for so many people and one that will require businesses everywhere to rethink how they manage their employees. At Messenger, we were fortunate to have the resources and type of work that helped with our transition and I suspect many other companies, especially tech companies, were in a similar situation. People are now used to interacting on our screens watching each other’s children or pets pass by in the background.

The real challenge will be when more people start going back to the office. We’ve obviously done well in mode 1: “Everyone is in the office.” We’ve managed to adapt to mode 2: “Everyone is remote.” But it’s clear that companies will need to figure out how to manage their people in a hybrid remote/office environment or mode 3. I suspect that this third mode is the hardest one to nail. At Facebook we recently announced that 50% of our workforce will be remote in the next five to 10 years. It’s pretty clear that the “office” will never be the same and we’ll have to navigate that together as one organization.

As these changes settle in, people will obviously need to continue to adapt. And we will. For me, the last six months has shown that people are resilient, and that when faced with a common threat or the need to suddenly rethink everything they might know, we quickly rise to the occasion.

I saw this in our team here at Messenger as everyone dealt with their own personal struggles while still showing up (remotely, that is) everyday and actually overdelivering on the new aggressive goals and deadlines we set for ourselves.

I’m very proud of the Messenger team, and the way we’ve been able to adapt and serve people who use the service, and each other, during this unprecedented time.

#column, #covid-19, #facebook, #facebook-messenger, #health, #messenger, #opinion, #product-development, #remote-work, #social, #social-media, #tc


Facebook introduces Accounts Center, a tool for managing a growing number of cross-app settings

Despite being under antitrust investigations in U.S. and E.U., Facebook today is rolling out a new feature that highlights the extent to which its suite of apps now interoperate. The company this morning introduced a consumer-facing tool called “Accounts Center,” which is found in the Settings section of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. The feature aims to give users the ability to manage their connected experiences across Facebook-owned apps, like Single Sign On and Facebook Pay, for example.

In Accounts Center, users will be able to optionally turn on or off Single Sign On, an authentication option that  allows you to do things like use your Facebook account information to log into Instagram or to recover your accounts.

Image Credits: Facebook

In the new settings area, you’ll also be able to make adjustments to how your Stories post — for instance, whether you want your Stories to publish to both Facebook and Instagram at the same time.

Though not available at launch, Facebook says it will add Facebook Pay to the Accounts Center later this year. In the U.S., you’ll then be able to enter your payment information in one place then use it across both Facebook and Instagram when you make purchases, like in the new Facebook and Instagram Shops, or when you make donations.

Facebook says users who choose to use Accounts Center won’t have to publicly use the same identity across all of Facebook. You could, for instance, continue to use a personal profile on Facebook while using Instagram to promote your business or hobbies. But the feature will likely be more useful for those who do maintain the same identify across platforms, as you can do things like sync your profile photo across apps.

The new feature, however, brings to light the extensive data collection operation Facebook has built by way of its various apps. In a blog post, Facebook clearly states that it uses information from across its suite of apps to personalize your experience, including which ads are shown. In other words, even if you maintain different identities publicly, Facebook is aggregating your data behind the scenes. This allows it to maintain its market dominance in social and potentially stifle new competition. This matter has been at the forefront of the U.S. government’s antitrust investigations, and elsewhere, which are still ongoing.

Without intervention from regulators, Facebook isn’t slowing on plans to make its suite of apps ever more interoperable. This summer, for example, it began testing the merger of Instagram and Messenger chats. Those efforts continue today.

Facebook says the test of the new Accounts Center will begin this week across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

#antitrust, #apps, #facebook, #instagram, #messenger, #policy, #privacy, #settings, #social


Courier raises $10.1M Series A to help developers integrate multi-channel notifications

Courier is an API platform with a no-code twist that helps developers add multi-channel user notifications to their applications. The company today announced that it has raised a $10.1 million Series A funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Matrix Partners, Twilio and Slack Fund also participated in this round.

Previously, the company raised a $2.3 million seed round led by Matrix Partners, with participation from Y Combinator. That round, which closed in April 2019, was previously unreported. Bessemer Venture Partners’ Byron Deeter and Matrix Partners’ Patrick Malatack, the previous VP of Product at Twilio, will join Courier’s Board of Directors.

“While at Twilio, I saw developers wrestling with integrating multiple channels together into a single experience,” says Malatack in today’s announcement. “Courier’s vision of a single platform for connecting and managing multiple channels really compliments the channel explosion I was seeing customers struggle with.”

Image Credits: Courier

Courier founder and CEO Troy Goode previously led an engineering group at marketing automation firm Eloqua, which was acquired by Oracle in 2012, and as the CTO and Head of Product at logistics software provider Winmore. Eloqua is clearly where he drew his inspiration for Courier from, though, which he built out during his time at Y Combinator.

“And one of the things that I noticed and became very frustrated by was that with Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot, there were a ton of different tools for marketing teams to use to communicate with prospects and our leads,” Goode told me. “But as soon as somebody became a customer, as soon as somebody became a user, we weren’t using those platforms. All of a sudden, we were manually plugging in infrastructure level systems like SendGrid and Twilio.”

The idea behind Courier is to provide development teams with a one-stop service for all their notification and communication infrastructure needs without having to build it from scratch. As Goode noted, large companies like Airbnb and LinkedIn can afford to build and maintain these systems to send out transactional emails to their users, often with teams that have dozens of engineers on them. Small teams can build less sophisticated solutions, but there’s really no need for every company to reinvent the wheel.

Today, Courier integrates with the likes of Slack, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SendGrid, Postmark, Mailgun, MessageBird, Twilio and Nexmo, among others.

One thing that makes the service stand out is that it offers both a no-code system for users to build their massaging flows and templates, as well as the APIs for developers to integrate these into their applications. That means anybody within a company can, for example, build rules to route messages through specific channels and providers based on their needs, on top of managing the content and the branding of the messages that are being sent.

Image Credits: Courier

“You’ve got this broad array of potential providers,” Good said. “And what you need to do is figure out, okay, which provider am I going to use? And sometimes, especially at large organizations, the answer is multiple providers. And or email, you might need a backup email service in case your primary goes down, or you need to warm up an IP pool for SMS . You might have different providers per geography for both deliverability and price reasons. That’s really hard stuff to build yourself.”

But in addition, different recipients also have different preferences, too, and while users can build rules around that today, the company is looking at how to automate this process over time so that it can, for example, automatically ping users on the channel where they are most likely to respond (or purchase something) at a given time of the day.

Goode noted that it may be hard to convert big businesses to move to its platform given that they have already invested a lot into their own systems. But like Stripe, which faced a similar problem given that most potential users weren’t waiting to rip out their existing payment infrastructure, he believes that partnering with companies early and having patience will pay off in the long run.

#airbnb, #api, #bessemer-venture-partners, #byron-deeter, #ceo, #computing, #courier, #eloqua, #facebook, #hubspot, #mailgun, #marketo, #matrix-partners, #messenger, #microsoft, #microsoft-teams, #operating-systems, #oracle, #recent-funding, #sendgrid, #slack, #slack-fund, #sms, #software, #startups, #twilio, #whatsapp


Facebook touts beefed up hate speech detection ahead of Myanmar election

Facebook has offered a little detail on extra steps it’s taking to improve its ability to detect and remove hate speech and election disinformation ahead of Myanmar’s election. A general election is scheduled to take place in the country on November 8, 2020.

The announcement comes close to two years after the company admitted a catastrophic failure to prevent its platform from being weaponized to foment division and incite violence against the country’s Rohingya minority.

Facebook says now that it has expanded its misinformation policy with the aim of combating voter suppression and will now remove information “that could lead to voter suppression or damage the integrity of the electoral process” — giving the example of a post that falsely claims a candidate is a Bengali, not a Myanmar citizen, and thus ineligible to stand.

“Working with local partners, between now and November 22, we will remove verifiable misinformation and unverifiable rumors that are assessed as having the potential to suppress the vote or damage the integrity of the electoral process,” it writes.

Facebook says it’s working with three fact-checking organizations in the country — namely: BOOM, AFP Fact Check and Fact Crescendo — after introducing a fact-checking program there in March.

In March 2018 the United Nations warned that Facebook’s platform was being abused to spread hate speech and whip up ethnic violence in Myanmar. By November of that year the tech giant was forced to admit it had not stopped its platform from being repurposed as a tool to drive genocide, after a damning independent investigation slammed its impact on human rights.

On hate speech, which Facebook admits could suppress the vote in addition to leading to what it describes as “imminent, offline harm” (aka violence), the tech giant claims to have invested “significantly” in “proactive detection technologies” that it says help it “catch violating content more quickly”, albeit without quantifying the size of its investment nor providing further details. It only notes that it “also” uses AI to “proactively identify hate speech in 45 languages, including Burmese”.

Facebook’s blog post offers a metric to imply progress — with the company stating that in Q2 2020 it took action against 280,000 pieces of content in Myanmar for violations of its Community Standards prohibiting hate speech, of which 97.8% were detected proactively by its systems before the content was reported to it.

“This is up significantly from Q1 2020, when we took action against 51,000 pieces of content for hate speech violations, detecting 83% proactively,” it adds.

However without greater visibility into the content Facebook’s platform is amplifying, including country-specific factors such as whether hate speech posting is increasing in Myanmar as the election gets closer, it’s not possible to understand what volume of hate speech is passing under the radar of Facebook’s detection systems and reaching local eyeballs.

In a more clearly detailed development, Facebook notes that since August, electoral, issue and political ads in Myanmar have had to display a ‘paid for by’ disclosure label. Such ads are also stored in a searchable Ad Library for seven years — in an expansion of the self-styled ‘political ads transparency measures’ Facebook launched more than two years ago in the US and other western markets.

Facebook also says it’s working with two local partners to verify the official national Facebook Pages of political parties in Myanmar. “So far, more than 40 political parties have been given a verified badge,” it writes. “This provides a blue tick on the Facebook Page of a party and makes it easier for users to differentiate a real, official political party page from unofficial pages, which is important during an election campaign period.”

Another recent change it flags is an ‘image context reshare’ product, which launched in June — which Facebook says alerts a user when they attempt to share a image that’s more than a year old and could be “potentially harmful or misleading” (such as an image that “may come close to violating Facebook’s guidelines on violent content”).

“Out-of-context images are often used to deceive, confuse and cause harm. With this product, users will be shown a message when they attempt to share specific types of images, including photos that are over a year old and that may come close to violating Facebook’s guidelines on violent content. We warn people that the image they are about to share could be harmful or misleading will be triggered using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human review,” it writes without offering any specific examples.

Another change it notes is the application of a limit on message forwarding to five recipients which Facebook introduced in Sri Lanka back in June 2019.

“These limits are a proven method of slowing the spread of viral misinformation that has the potential to cause real world harm. This safety feature is available in Myanmar and, over the course of the next few weeks, we will be making it available to Messenger users worldwide,” it writes.

On coordinated election interference, the tech giant has nothing of substance to share — beyond its customary claim that it’s “constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate across our apps”, including groups seeking to do so ahead of a major election.

“Since 2018, we’ve identified and disrupted six networks engaging in Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior in Myanmar. These networks of accounts, Pages and Groups were masking their identities to mislead people about who they were and what they were doing by manipulating public discourse and misleading people about the origins of content,” it adds.

In summing up the changes, Facebook says it’s “built a team that is dedicated to Myanmar”, which it notes includes people “who spend significant time on the ground working with civil society partners who are advocating on a range of human and digital rights issues across Myanmar’s diverse, multi-ethnic society” — though clearly this team is not operating out of Myanmar.

It further claims engagement with key regional stakeholders will ensure Facebook’s business is “responsive to local needs” — something the company demonstrably failed on back in 2018.

“We remain committed to advancing the social and economic benefits of Facebook in Myanmar. Although we know that this work will continue beyond November, we acknowledge that Myanmar’s 2020 general election will be an important marker along the journey,” Facebook adds.

There’s no mention in its blog post of accusations that Facebook is actively obstructing an investigation into genocide in Myanmar.

Earlier this month, Time reported that Facebook is using US law to try to block a request for information related to Myanmar military officials’ use of its platforms by the West African nation, The Gambia.

“Facebook said the request is ‘extraordinarily broad’, as well as ‘unduly intrusive or burdensome’. Calling on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to reject the application, the social media giant says The Gambia fails to ‘identify accounts with sufficient specificity’,” Time reported.

“The Gambia was actually quite specific, going so far as to name 17 officials, two military units and dozens of pages and accounts,” it added.

“Facebook also takes issue with the fact that The Gambia is seeking information dating back to 2012, evidently failing to recognize two similar waves of atrocities against Rohingya that year, and that genocidal intent isn’t spontaneous, but builds over time.”

In another recent development, Facebook has been accused of bending its hate speech policies to ignore inflammatory posts made against Rohingya Muslim immigrants by Hindu nationalist individuals and groups.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Facebook’s top public-policy executive in India, Ankhi Das, opposed applying its hate speech rules to T. Raja Singh, a member of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, along with at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence — citing sourcing from current and former Facebook employees.

#artificial-intelligence, #asia, #election-integrity, #facebook, #hate-speech, #india, #messenger, #myanmar, #narendra-modi, #social, #social-media, #sri-lanka, #united-nations, #voter-suppression


Messenger tools can help you recover millions in lost revenue

We’ve all had annoyingly memorable experiences with websites — websites that invite you to subscribe to browser notifications or bombard you with pop-ups that ask for your email before you’ve even had a chance to look around. That’s no way to do customer service. Yet many brands still use these lead capture tactics, ones that often permanently turn off would-be customers.

The principle that underlies these tactics makes sense; brands want the chance to communicate with those visitors more personally on a channel like email. But a gap most brands never bridge is the one between how personal they want to get with a website visitor and how personal they are in their initial interaction with that visitor.

In my experience as a marketer, there are few better ways to bridge that gap than a thoughtful implementation of messenger tools, those chat bubbles many big brands use to offer real-time customer support.

Implementing this strategy alone has allowed me to help my clients recover millions of dollars in what would have been lost revenue — more than $5 million for a local dentistry I’ve worked with. Here’s how it works, starting with where to deploy it.

Picking candidate pages through observing user flow and bounce rates

When picking pages for where to deploy messenger tools, the one principle to keep in mind is that you don’t want to offer customer support to those who don’t need it. So every time I implement messenger tools, I think about four key customer segments:

  1. A recurring website visitor — potentially an existing customer.
  2. Website visitors who have no interest in the product or service.
  3. Website visitors who have feature-related questions.
  4. Website visitors who are on the fence about buying a product or service offering.

Sometimes it’s obvious which category a website visitor falls into; for instance, someone who clicks on your client login portal is obviously already a customer and someone who rapidly clicks off your site is obviously not interested in your offering. But for most other users, it’s a lot less clear. That’s where heat map software used in tandem with Google Analytics could be tremendously helpful in mapping user behavior to a profile.

#analytics, #column, #customer-service, #ecommerce, #extra-crunch, #google-analytics, #growth-and-monetization, #growth-marketing, #live-chat, #messenger, #startups, #web-analytics, #windows-live-messenger


Snap turns on Minis, bite-sized third-party apps in Snapchat

A set of mini apps has gone live on Snapchat platform, marking the beginning of a new chapter for Los Angeles-headquartered firm as it aims to emulate aspects of the popular Chinese “super-app” model.

Unveiled last month, Snap Minis are lightweight, simplified versions of apps that live within Snap’s Chat section. These apps — built with HTML — are designed to improve engagement among users by enabling them to perform a range of additional tasks without leaving Snap app.

Four of the seven “Minis” that Snap unveiled last month are now available across the platform. These mini apps that are going live today are: Meditation service Headspace, studying collaboration tool Flashcards, an “interactive messaging experience” service called Prediction Master, and Let’s Do It, a mini app developed by Snap itself that allows users to make decision with their friends.

Mini apps unveiled by Coachella that would allow users to plan festival trip, Atom’s movie ticketing, and Saturn, which is aimed at helping students share and compare their class schedules are yet to go live.

The rollout on Monday is nonetheless an important shift in Snap’s strategy to boost engagement on its ephemeral messaging app, which has amassed over 229 million daily users.

Though a relatively new concept in the U.S. and UK, mini apps model is quite popular in Asian markets. Tencent’s WeChat has attracted over a million miniature apps that allow users to perform a range of tasks.

In India, mobile payments services PhonePe and Paytm have rolled out several such in-apps, too, that allow users to book flight and movie tickets and order food and cabs.

Snapchat has previously said that its relationship with Tencent, an investor in the Los Angeles firm, has been influential in its decision to replicate the super-app offering.

The strategy looks promising — at least on paper. It’s a win-win scenario for both Snap and the developers who make these mini-apps. By gaining access to these mini-apps, Snap can potentially see a boost in user engagement, and developers are able to cater to a whole set of new audience.

But whether this model finds home with users in the U.S. and the UK and other markets where Snap has made inroads — and regions that unlike China are open — remains a mystery. As my colleague Lucas pointed out last month, Facebook has attempted to replicate the WeChat model through chatbots on Messenger over the years to little success.

#apps, #chatbot, #chatbots, #facebook, #facebook-messenger, #messenger, #snap, #snapchat, #social, #tencent, #wechat


#Brandneu – 5 neue Startups, die wir uns ganz genau merken

Jeden Tag entstehen überall in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz neue Startups. präsentiert an dieser Stelle wieder einmal einige ganz junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Tagen, Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind sowie einige junge Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind und erstmals für Schlagzeilen gesorgt haben.

Hinter Skillmill verbirgt sich ein Business-Netzwerk für Kreativschaffende – mit einem besonderen Fokus auf Jobvermittlung. “Über die Messengerfunktion können Unternehmen und Kreative direkt kontaktiert werden – eine wertvolle Möglichkeit, ein breites Netzwerk aufzubauen”, teilt das Startup aus Wien mit.

Hashtags: #Network
Ort: Wien
Gründer: Max Hareiter, Ute Leonhartsberger

Bei getanote kann sich jeder Nutzer eine anonyme Kontaktadresse zulegen. “Unser System ermöglicht es dir, ohne Preisgabe deiner Kontaktdaten mit Personen zu kommunizieren”, heißt es auf der Website. Zum Einsatz könnte getanote etwa am Auto, in Kleinanzeigen oder auf Social Media-Kanälen.

Hashtags: #Messenger
Ort: Aachen
Gründer: Christian Laczny, Miguel Ricking

Bei Fobe können Onlinerinnen sich Luxushandtaschen per Abo ausleihen. Los geht es ab 99 Uhr pro Monat. “Mit deiner Fobe Mitgliedschaft kannst du endlich Luxus Accessoires konsumieren und gleichzeitig die negativen Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt senken”, heißt es auf der Website.

Hashtags: #eCommerce #Sharing
Ort: Berlin
Gründer: Marlena Dietz, Anton Wochmanin

Über die Plattform StreamParty können bis zu 50 Onliner gemeinsam Streams auf Netflix, Youtube und Disney+ schauen. “Dabei wird das Video bei allen Nutzern global synchronisiert und das System stellt einen Chat oder Videochat zur Verfügung”, teilt das sehr junge Unternehmen mit.

Hashtags: #Streaming #Tool
Ort: Willich
Gründer: Malte Granderath

Hinter applaudio verbirgt sich eine Software in Sachen Peer-to-Peer Recognition. Das Startup will es Mitarbeitern einer Firma ermöglichen, sich gegenseitig Wertschätzungen auszusprechen. So funktioniert es: “Die Vergabe von Wertschätzungen erfolgt digital und ist spielerisch einfach auf der applaudio-Plattform umzusetzen”.

Ort: #Tool #Software
Gründer: Fabian Essrich, Lukas Menges

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über junge, frische und brandneue Startups, die noch nicht jeder kennt. Alle diese Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der bundesweiten Startup-Szene und im besten Fall auf die Agenda von Investoren, Unternehmen und potenziellen Kooperationspartnern. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #applaudio, #brandneu, #fobe, #getanote, #skillmill, #streamparty


#Brandneu – 5 neue Startups, die gerade richtig loslegen

Jeden Tag entstehen überall in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz neue Startups. präsentiert an dieser Stelle wieder einmal einige ganz junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Tagen, Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind sowie einige junge Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind und erstmals für Schlagzeilen gesorgt haben.

Das junge Unternehmen Flowers will mit seiner B2B-Produktivitätsplattform Unternehmen dabei unterstützen, “wiederkehrende Abläufe sicherer, einfacher und besser abbildbar machen zu können”. Das Maschinenbauunternehmen Ruwi setzt bereits seit dem Start auf die Software des Startups.

Hashtags: #Software #B2B
Ort: Müllheim
Gründer: Daniel Vöckler, Andreas Martin

Mit Fxy drängt einer weitere transaktionaler Messenger auf den Markt. Wie bei Lupiter und Simplo sind auch bei diesem Startup Handwerker bzw. das Baugewerbe die Zielgruppe. Gründer Thomas von Pilar wirkte zuletzt unter anderem bei Viessmann Wärme. Davor baute er bereits TopCheck auf.

Hashtags: #Messenger #Handwerk #B2B
Ort: Berlin
Gründer: Thomas von Pilar

Das junge Startup twist, hinter dem der Company Builder Bridgemaker und EnBW stecken, tritt an, um CarSharing in den ländlichen Raum zu bringen. Kommunen sollen “so ihre Mobilitätswende aktiv mitgestalten und beispielsweise den öffentlichen Personennahverkehr vor Ort durch gemeinsam genutzte Elektrofahrzeuge sinnvoll ergänzen” können.

Hashtags: #Mobility #CarSharing #CorporateStartup
Ort: Stuttgart
Gründer: Samuel Rumpf, Martin Cremer

Nachdem Microsoft die nach wie vor beliebte Wunderlist-App eingestellt hat und Gründer Christian Reber die Überreste nicht erwerben konnte, baut der millionenschwere Pitch-Gründer nun mit Superlist einen Wunderlist-Nachfolger. Vor dem kommenden Jahr soll das Projekt aber nicht fertig werden.

Hashtags: #Tool #Software
Ort: Berlin
Gründer: Christian Reber

Meet Your Master
Schauspieler Heiner Lauterbach setzt zusammen mit seiner Frau Viktoria Lauterbach auf das Trendthema E-Learning. Auf Meet Your Master erzählen Prominente wie Filmacher Nico Hofmann über ihren Werdegang und ihr Business. Das Motto dabei lautet: “Lerne von den Besten der Besten”.

Hashtags: #eLearning
Ort: München
Gründer: Viktoria Lauterbach, Heiner Lauterbach

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über junge, frische und brandneue Startups, die noch nicht jeder kennt. Alle diese Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der bundesweiten Startup-Szene und im besten Fall auf die Agenda von Investoren, Unternehmen und potenziellen Kooperationspartnern. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #brandneu, #flowers, #fyx, #meet-your-master, #startup-radar, #superlist, #twist