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Instagram is working on another messaging app

How many messaging apps do we need?

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Facebook as a stand-alone social networking website has reached its saturation point in most markets and the parent company is now relying on other products like Instagram and WhatsApp to continue its advertisement machinery.

To bolster its presence, Instagram intends to take on its arch-rival Snapchat by releasing a new messaging app called “Threads”. It’s “meant to promote constant, intimate sharing between users and their closest friends.”

According to The Verge, the companion app will leverage Instagram’s “close friends” list and let users share details like location, speed, and battery life. The app is being tested internally and there has been no official word on its release yet.

On a brighter side, the app will not share your exact live location and only display a message like a friend is “on the move.” A similar feature is available on Snapchat’s Snap Map which displays a car or airplane based on the user’s movement.

With Snapchat, you can disappear from the map at any time by turning on Ghost Mode or by not opening Snapchat for a few hours. Alternatively, location-sharing is turned off by default and you can leave it that way to just lurk, watching what friends are up to.

Too many messaging apps?

Instagram was previously working on a standalone messaging app called “Direct”, but it was ditched a few months back because users weren’t in favor of shifting apps just to send a message.

Facebook has a host of messaging services now, including Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. It’ll be interesting to see how the company justifies having yet another messaging app in its portfolio.

Lastly, Facebook has come under immense criticism after it leaked data of more than 50 million users to Cambridge Analytica. The social network lacks users trust at this point and it’s best to stay away from controversial features like these. Even its cryptocurrency “Libra” has received a lukewarm response from industry experts and regulatory bodies.

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Airbnb partners with the Olympics in 9-year deal

Just in time for Tokyo 2020

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Airbnb and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has signed a new deal to support five Olympics and Paralympics for the next nine years, making the platform a Worldwide Olympic Partner. Apart from the 2020 Games in Tokyo, the partnership covers Beijing 2022, Paris 2024, Milan 2026, and Los Angeles 2028.

According to the IOC, the joint effort will be “in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to provide travel options that are economically empowering, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.”

The partnership hopes to minimize construction of new infrastructure for host cities to accommodate not just athletes, staff, and workers, but the surge of tourists as well. This also means generating extra income for new and existing hosts in the local communities during the Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach said that the partnership underpins their strategy to ensure that staging the Olympic Games leaves a legacy for the host community.

Airbnb is also launching a new category of Experiences to be hosted by Olympians themselves. These activities can help provide financial support for athletes while they train, as well as career opportunities even after competing.

Airbnb as a more sustainable option

Airbnb has previously supported Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 as a domestic sponsor. A recent World Economic Forum study found that in Rio, the additional capacity provided through Airbnb was equivalent to 257 hotels. This saved the city unnecessary construction and carbon emissions, while also providing approximately US$ 30 million in direct revenue for hosts. It also generated an estimated total economic activity of US$ 100 million in three weeks.

Similarly, during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang last year, Airbnb hosts earned approximately US$ 2.3 million collectively by providing accommodation to 15,000 visitors who would have required 46 hotels.

Most recently, Airbnb hosts across Japan welcomed more than 650,000 travellers during the Rugby World Cup, and earned more than US$ 70 million collectively.

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Grab to refund its riders up to PhP 5M

The company was penalized for overcharging

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Do you use Grab daily? If so, then watch out for your Grab credits these coming weeks. An antitrust body in the Philippines ruled that Grab was overpricing its customers and ordered the company to refund its customers.

Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) announced on Monday that it has ordered Grab to return an estimated PhP 5.05 million to its riders. The antitrust body ruled that the company overcharged its car-hailing service from February 2019 to May 2019. So, the next time you open the Grab app, watch out for additional credits. You will receive it within 60 days — the time period PCC allotted for Grab to comply.

The exact reason why PCC found the company overcharging is unknown. However, this is not the first time the company was fined for overcharging. Last July 2018, Grab returned PhP 10 million plus rebate to its customers for overcharging and imposing a PhP 2 waiting time penalty to its riders.

PCC has already set conditions for Grab to avoid overcharging in the future. You are likely to benefit from these conditions, as Grab’s monopoly in Southeast Asia made it increase prices recently. Also, these conditions are meant to improve Grab’s car-hailing service, which is a win-win situation for you, the company, and the government.

However, the PhP 5.05 million fine is just a drop in the bucket for Grab. The company has diversified into new market segments, ensuring more profits and revenue. Plus, a big-name car manufacturer invested in the company last year for improving its car-hailing operations.

SOURCE: CNN Philippines

 

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TikTok will launch a Spotify competitor

Will release in December

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Illustration by MJ Jucutan

For quite a while now, TikTok has captured the short-form social media landscape. Whereas the past had the incredibly popular Vine, the world now has ByteDance’s equally popular platform. However, unlike Vine, TikTok looks like it’s here to stay. And, because of TikTok’s success, ByteDance can already expand beyond its niche.

Reportedly, ByteDance is currently negotiating content deals with major music labels including Sony Music, Universal Music, and Warner Music. The deal supposedly relates to an upcoming, still-unnamed music streaming service. The developer is already amassing a workable cache of songs to include.

Besides the music content, the service will also include a smaller short video archive. The short videos will play over the interface while users search for more music. Additionally, users can sync the music to the videos.

According to the same report, ByteDance will launch the service as early as next month. It will come out first in smaller markets — like India and Indonesia — before a wider worldwide release.

Of course, the service’s popularity is still in question. TikTok is currently considered a security threat in the US.

As for price, the service will cost less than the world’s most popular option, Spotify. However, this alleged price compares Spotify’s current US price of US$ 10. (As such, this doesn’t mean much since Spotify costs less depending on region and package.)

SEE ALSO: Spotify extends free trial to 3 months

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