The Tamil Nadu state court had on April 3 asked the federal government to ban TikTok, saying it encouraged pornography and made younger users vulnerable to sexual predators. Its ruling came after an individual launched a public interest litigation calling for a ban.
In accordance with the ruling, the government asked Google and Apple to remove the app from Google Play and the App Store, respectively. Both companies have complied with the ruling.
TikTok is one of the most popular mobile apps in India and had been trending on app stores for quite some time. Bytedance, the company that runs the app, says it has more than 500 million users worldwide and 120 million of them are from India.
The app allows users to make and share short videos and it can still be used by those who have already downloaded it on their smartphones. Lip-syncing, jokes, Bollywood music, and memes have been a massive hit with the audience. With a 15-second time limit, the app is competing against behemoths like Instagram and even YouTube.
Bytedance has declined to provide a comment, stating the issue is still in court. The company has challenged the court’s decision and the next hearing is set for April 24.
Last week, a 19-year-old was shot dead by a friend in New Delhi as they posed with a pistol to make a video to show on TikTok. These incidents have fueled criticism for the app and unmoderated videos of minors are rampant.
This wasn’t the first time TikTok had been under scrutiny. In February, The US federal trade commission slapped a fine of US$ 5.7 million on the app to settle allegations of child privacy law violations.
Netflix is losing a lot of long-term subscribers
People are switching
The Netflix revolution was indeed televised. However, after enjoying years of success as the streaming platform of choice, a lot of users are now leaving Netflix for greener pastures. Over the past few months, the company has struggled to patch its failures. A recently released data report does confirm that the platform has a right to worry. More and more long-term subscribers are reportedly cutting their subscriptions short.
According to The Information, around 13 percent of Netflix cancelers in the past quarter are from accounts that have been with the platform for over three years. The data, which was reportedly obtained from Antenna, pegs cancelations at around 3.6 million Americans, a big increase from the 2.5 million of the past five quarters.
Though 13 percent isn’t exactly a giant figure, it’s still a blow to Netflix’s empire. While streaming platform rightly focus on gaining new subscribers, losing the loyalty of long-term users isn’t something to shrug off.
Since announcing lost expectations, Netflix announced ways to save on costs and retain its subscribers. Other methods include canceling projects, opening a games division, and potentially charging users more for account sharing. Naturally, not every plan hits users the same way.
In the meantime, other platforms — like Disney+, HBO, and Hulu — are attracting more users with more varied and exclusive content. Regardless, Netflix is skidding down a slope. Only time will tell whether its latest strategies will stave off more losses.
Here’s what’s coming in Android 13
At least for the second beta
Android just keeps getting better. Last year, Android 12 represented a major revolution in what the operating system is capable of. With the update’s success, Google wants to keep the train going with Android 13. After months of development, the company is finally ready to tease what’s coming for this year’s update.
During this year’s Google I/O event, Google unveiled more information about Android 13, coinciding with the release of the update’s second beta. First and foremost is an increased focus on security. While Android 12 already increased security for its users, Android 13 is tacking on more features for the security-conscious user.
For example, the update will give more control over what information the user will share to external apps. Instead of an umbrella term like “files and media,” users can specify whether granting permission includes photos, video, and music files. Additionally, users can also pick which photos an app can access. Do you have a particularly revealing photos you’d rather not have another app see? You can restrict apps from accessing that file.
Android 13 also adds more permissions for users. Apps will no longer be able to access anything on the phone without your permission. The system will also start deleting content on the clipboard automatically to prevent apps from accessing information stored there.
As for customization, the update will retain the custom theme colors for users. For one, themed icons will also include non-Google apps. The music player’s visuals will also adapt to whatever content is playing at the moment.
Android 13 is currently on its second beta phase. With appropriate progress, Google should release the final update later this year.
Google Maps introduces a new way to be a tourist
What an immersive view
When Street View was announced, Google Maps found an interesting niche of users who want to experience the world up close from the comforts of their homes. With how much the feature can do, you’d think that Google would find it hard to top itself. Apparently, that’s not the case. During the recently concluded Google I/O, the company introduced a new feature coming to Maps: a new immersive view.
Technically, the feature isn’t introducing something completely new. Instead, it combines aerial view and street view together. The combination is a more immersive, soaring perspective over a city. From merely searching addresses, it evolves to provide more information for travelers.
With a slider, users can see how a city looks at different times of day and different weather conditions. Users can also see how busy areas of the city are, helping them plan out their trip around town. Plus, a graphic included with the announcement includes a way to enter establishments, such as entering restaurants to see if it’s worth a reservation.
The new immersive view is available on any device. However, it will launch only in select locations in the meantime like Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.
Also, Google has added in eco-friendly routing to its navigation. Users can choose to find the greenest way to get to their destination. Currently, this specific addition is only available in the United States and Canada. It is still on track to launch in a lot more places.
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