Apps

Indian developers unite, launch a local app store to bypass Google

Avoiding the 30% tax

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Paytm, one of India’s largest payments apps has launched a new offering called the Paytm Mini App Store. As the name suggests, it’s supposed to be an Indian alternative of the Google Play Store and already has a host of top apps. The company intends to list 300 services in the coming days.

However, it isn’t a full-fledged app store yet. You won’t be downloading and installing any package and instead, it’ll load a small window within the app and use HTML and JavaScript. Furthermore, Paytm will provide developers access to its payment services including the wallet, payments bank account, and UPI. Right now these services are free and only credit card payments shall incur a 2 percent fee.

When compared to Google or Apple’s 30 percent cut, this sounds like a too good to be true deal. Indian companies have been extremely vocal about Google’s dominance in the country and are in talks with the government to launch an Indian alternative.

For now, the app repository offers brands like Decathlon, Domino’s Pizza, FreshMenu, Netmeds, NoBroker, Ola, and more. The app store is available within the Paytm app and has been under development for the last few months.

A few weeks ago, Paytm’s app was removed from the Play Store because it violated an agreement on gambling restrictions. Paytm says it did not break the agreement and started its vocal campaign against Google. Due to the backlash, Google has postponed its recent announcement that enforced a 30 percent commission on all in-app purchases.

Experts in the industry say that Paytm’s claim of opening an app store is technically false. Currently, you’re simply opening a new app within an existing app. This doesn’t constitute a store because there is no independent and uniform distribution. In a hurry, the company has simply rebranded its Paytm Mini Programs division to Mini App Store.

Apps

5 Memoji-inspired outfit ideas: His and Hers

Play dress up virtually with the public beta preview of iOS 15

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Unveiled at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote are new customization options coming to Memoji on iMessage, including a much-awaited feature: outfit selection.

In 2019, Apple rolled out the most significant Memoji customization update. That year, users were able to apply makeup, change hair color, wear piercings and jewelry, and pick from different styles of headwear and glasses. The only thing missing was being able to choose clothing.

If you have the public beta of iOS 15 installed, you can now virtually play dress up and plan outfits for those trips you’ve been dreaming of and activities you’ve been deprived of after a year of quarantine.

#1 Romantic date night 

Who doesn’t like dressing up for a romantic date that will take you from a dinner at a restaurant to a cocktail or two at a speakeasy? Changing out of pajamas can do wonders to your mood.

His: a crisp long sleeved button down and his favorite hat

Hers: a flirty dress and statement earrings

#2 Stroll at the botanical garden

Has your apartment turned into a mini greenhouse with all the indoor plants you’ve adopted? Driving to the nearest botanical garden will either make you feel zen and content, or convince you that your plant collection is insufficient.

His: a breezy shirt and a pair of sunglasses

Hers: a colorful sundress and a top bun

Safari adventure

If there’s anything we learned about ourselves this past year, it’s that we all desire to be out in nature from time to time. A safari trip might not be realistic right now, but no one’s stopping you from imagining one.

His: a two pocket utility shirt and a cowboy hat

Hers: a loose tunic and a fedora

Sunny weekend at the beach

No summer is complete without a beach trip; and no beach trip is complete without some refreshing piña coladas, swimsuits that show off your summer bod, and copious amounts of sunscreen.

His: a linen top and a pair of polarized sunglasses

Hers: a long coverup, a pair of pearl earrings, and a straw hat 

Hike in the fall

Not a beach person? Maybe the mountains and autumn foliage are more your jam. Just make sure to stay warm from top to toe without sacrificing style and comfort.

His: a cable knit sweater and a fisherman’s hat

Hers: a turtleneck sweater and a beanie

BONUS: Big business convention

There’s never a bad time to get a good blazer or a pantsuit. You might not be able to wear them out to trade shows yet, but looking your best for Zoom meetings is always appropriate.

His: an olive green knit blazer, a black oxford shirt, and a skinny tie

Hers: a beige blazer, a pair of cat-eye glasses, and a pair of gold earrings

Apart from more than 40 different outfits, multicolored headwear, and new options for glasses, iOS 15 offers nine new Memoji stickers that include a shaka, a hand wave, a light bulb moment, and more.

iOS 15 will be available this fall as a free software update. If you’re interested in trying new Memoji outfits now, you can sign up for the public beta here: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/

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Google is making its masked emoji happier

Update rolls out soon

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Whenever an emoji update rolls out, it often brings an opportunity to update our zeitgeist of how the world has changed overtime. For example, last year focused on the coronavirus pandemic, bringing about new ways to depict ourselves with masks on. This year, the zeitgeist is shifting once again. And Google is updating some of its emojis to reflect that.

Announced through their blog, Google is making some of its emojis more inclusive and positive. However, despite how it sounds, the update doesn’t involve quite a major revision compared to how they added different skin colors in the past.

Instead, Google is making a few emojis more interpretable in other countries. For example, the company’s formerly American pie has been changed to reflect a more universal pie that other countries can easily see. Another example is removing the invisible woman supposedly wearing the bikini emoji. Instead of a busty bikini, the emoji now lays flat, making it more inclusive for other body types. Some food emojis have also been made more delectable.

Finally (and most importantly), Google is removing the sense of foreboding from its masked emoji. Instead of a face that’s clearly sick, the new emoji now has a more neutral (and possibly even happy) face. Now that the world is healing from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, Google is focusing on a world where mask-wearing remains a sign of kindness and care towards others.

Google is rolling out the updates starting with Android 12. However, it is also rolling the new emojis out to older phones that can support emojis.

SEE ALSO: Google’s Emoji Kitchen will mash-up your favorite emojis

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Google launches feature to delete last 15 minutes of search history

Starting with iOS app

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Let’s face it: our search histories can hide the filthiest of stuff. Sometimes, we get a little bit curious about certain things, whip up Google, indulge for 15 minutes, and end up with a less-than-savory search history. It can get tedious to delete your search history over and over. To help with that, Google is launching a new feature to delete the last 15 minutes of your search history.

First announced during I/O 2021, the feature has already started rolling out to the Google’s iOS app. The settings menu now has a convenient button to delete the last 15 minutes instantly. Meanwhile, the company’s bread and butter, Android, will receive the feature later this year.

Desktop users might have a longer time to wait for the feature, though. Currently, desktop Googlers can set their devices to automatically delete their history every 3, 18, or 36 months. Of course, they can also manually nuke their history whenever they want.

Of course, the immediate, top-of-mind use for the feature is to erase quick NSFW searches. However, the feature will also come in handy for super-extra-curious minds who are determined to search for every dubious term they find online. It can also work for those who borrow their phones from others for quick searches.

SEE ALSO: Google discontinuing Android Jellybean soon

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