Kanye to purchase Parler, TikTok’s adult-only streams, BeReal’s B spherical • TechCrunch

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Welcome again to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the newest in cellular OS information, cellular functions and the general app financial system.

International app spending reached $65 billion within the first half of 2022, up solely barely from the $64.4 billion throughout the identical interval in 2021, as hypergrowth fueled by the pandemic has slowed down. However general, the app financial system is constant to develop, having produced a record variety of downloads and client spending throughout each the iOS and Google Play shops mixed in 2021, in keeping with the latest year-end reports. International spending throughout iOS and Google Play final yr was $133 billion, and shoppers downloaded 143.6 billion apps.

This Week in Apps presents a approach to sustain with this fast-moving trade in a single place with the newest from the world of apps, together with information, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and rather more.

Would you like This Week in Apps in your inbox each Saturday? Join right here: techcrunch.com/newsletters.

Kanye West to acquire Parler

Kanye West introduced on October 17 that he has entered a deal to purchase Parler, the “free speech” platform the place the rapper, who additionally goes by Ye, believes he can’t be “canceled” as on different social apps — aka being held accountable for his antisemitic posts in violation of platform insurance policies. West had accused Twitter and Meta of censoring his conservative opinions. Parler, in the meantime, is a identified haven for conservatives to the purpose that it had been pulled down from the App Store and Google Play following the January 6 Capital riots for its function in inciting violence. Apple allowed the app again in earlier this yr, however Google only recently did the same.

Assuming the deal goes by, it may very well be a very good end result for Parler. Up to now, the startup had raised $56 million — what West paid, nonetheless, is unknown.

TikTok so as to add “adult-only” livestreams

TikTok is venturing into new territory with the addition of adult-only livestreams. This transformation will enable creators to focus on solely TikTok customers ages 18 and up with the intention to broadcast about matters that aren’t applicable for youngsters or may be uninteresting to them. The corporate isn’t going to compete with OnlyFans, nonetheless — these grownup streams received’t be that includes precise grownup content material, as that’s nonetheless in opposition to TikTok’s insurance policies.

As well as, TikTok will now require customers to be not less than 18 years previous earlier than they’re allowed to go reside on the platform.

Whereas the adjustments appear sound in concept, TikTok customers — youngsters, usually — do lie about their ages when becoming a member of the app. There’s no good resolution for this drawback, past using age-verification applied sciences like video selfies, which include their very own set of points round privateness.

BeReal’s B spherical

TechCrunch discovered that the startup closed a $60 million Sequence B spherical earlier this yr. The spherical values Paris, France-based BeReal at a valuation north of €600 million — which at at this time’s alternate charges is just below $587 million. (BeReal’s valuation was beforehand reported by Insider after which The Information.)

A supply informed TechCrunch the corporate now has round 20 million DAUs. For comparability, The Info famous that the app had 7.9 million customers as of July of this yr. We additionally heard the app had round 2 million DAUs as of this April.

BeReal is going through competitors now from social giants TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, which have all cloned its foremost function of twin images (images taken on the similar time utilizing the back and front cameras). However the DAU progress signifies BeReal should be the one to beat in the case of capturing the eye of the youthful Gen Z viewers.

Platforms: Apple

Picture Credit: Apple

  • Apple is rolling out iOS 16.1 on Monday, October 24. The replace, which comes alongside macOS Ventura, will embody the launch of Apple Fitness+ for iPhone, which is able to enable subscribers to make use of the service for the primary time with out an Apple Watch. As well as, iOS 16.1 will embody the multitasking function Stage Supervisor, Dwell Actions for third-party apps, iCloud Shared Photograph Library, Key Sharing within the Pockets app, Clear Vitality Charging, assist for Matter, the newly introduced Apple Card financial savings account choice and extra.
  • Apple introduced a set of main {hardware} updates, together with a new M2 iPad Pro (arriving October 26), new Apple TV 4K with a efficiency bump and cheaper price and the  new entry-level iPad.

Platforms: Google

Picture Credit: Google

  • Google announced Android 13 (Go version) this week, which incorporates a number of premium options for reasonably priced smartphone lineups, together with the Materials You design, Uncover feed, Notficiations Permissions, per-app language settings and a method for customers to obtain important updates to Android with out having to attend for producers to launch them, together with different issues. The replace will now require not less than 2GB of RAM and 16GB of flash storage. Google mentioned 250 million units run the Android Go OS.
  • Google introduced a refreshed Household Hyperlink parental controls app and an online model. The up to date app features a three-tabbed redesign showcasing highlights of the kid’s system utilization, an outline of their limits and a controls tab for setting the boundaries. There’s additionally a brand new function, “At present’s Restrict,” which lets dad and mom regulate the day’s display screen time with out having to alter their ongoing schedule. And the app can now observe youngsters’ areas once they arrive at particular locations, like faculty.


Picture Credit: Klarna

  • Klarna launched a brand new Klarna Creator app for retailers and influencers to collaborate on model campaigns and to trace earnings, efficiency and gross sales. Over 500,000 vetted creators have entry to main manufacturers and retailers, the corporate mentioned. On the app, retailers can direct-message a creator they need to associate with and ship them merchandise for content material. The app additionally has a monitoring function for gross sales and commissions.
  • A brand new app known as Drivr introduces a crowdsourced tipping platform that makes use of information science to map last-mile supply drivers to neighborhoods to permit consumers to tip their common supply drivers.
  • PayPal launched a revamped rewards program that mixes Honey’s reductions with different methods to earn. Honey, acquired by PayPal for $4 billion in 2019, will proceed to supply Honey Gold, however it’s being rebranded as PayPal Rewards. Customers will be capable of accumulate rewards through the Honey browser extension, the PayPal app and, sooner or later, numerous card merchandise.
  • Jane Applied sciences’ hashish market launched in a devoted iOS app that lets shoppers browse native hashish dispensaries and make purchases.
Jane Technologies screens on mobile phones

Picture Credit: Jane Applied sciences


  • TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield firm Staax pitched its app that makes an attempt to onboard a youthful technology of inventory buyers utilizing peer-to-peer funds of inventory.


  • Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky detailed its plans for decentralized social networks that may restrict governmental and company affect on the way forward for social media.
  • Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko, speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt, described the upcoming web3-focused smartphone Saga as a moonshot aimed toward taking up Apple and Google by providing a distribution channel for cellular crypto builders. The cellphone will enable builders to take care of digital possession rights as an alternative of paying the Apple (and Google) tax of 30%.


  • Pinterest partnered with document labels to carry widespread music to its TikTok rival, Thought Pins. The corporate is now working with Warner Music Group, Warner Chappell Music, Merlin and BMG to supply customers entry to hundreds of songs from high artists, accessible within the Pinterest app for iOS and Android.
  • Instagram is expanding its “Hidden Phrases” function, which helps you to filter out abusive DMs utilizing key phrases and emoji, to additionally cowl replies to Tales and catch intentional misspellings made to keep away from filters. It additionally expanded its preventative blocking tool to proactively block extra accounts from the abuser and added extra nudges to remind customers about to publish a dangerous remark to be type.

Picture Credit: Instagram

  • Instagram can be now testing an in-app scheduling tool for posts and Reels, which might be useful to creators and types who need to queue up posts upfront.
  • Over 3 million Reddit customers created crypto wallets to purchase NFT avatars, Reddit chief product officer Pali Bhat said this week at TechCrunch Disrupt. Reddit’s Vault blockchain pockets was used to create the crypto wallets. And most — 2.5 million — have been created to buy NFT avatars that can be utilized as their Reddit profile pics.
  • Snapchat updated its Snapchat+ subscription with three new options, together with people who enable subscribers to have their Snapchat Tales expire at completely different intervals as an alternative of 24 hours, add new digicam colour borders that seem when taking images with the in-app digicam and use completely different customized notification sounds for when a good friend Snaps them. Snapchat+ now has greater than 1 million subscribers and over a dozen unique options.

Picture Credit: Snap


  • A brand new “relationship app” (versus a relationship app) known as Sparks launched to assist {couples} discover issues to do collectively, like selecting motion pictures, eating places, holidays, actions and extra.


  • Google updated its RCS-powered Messages app with a number of new options, together with the power to react to texts despatched from an iPhone, set reminders and have an in-app YouTube video participant to observe movies with out leaving the app.

Streaming & Leisure

Musixmatch screens on laptop and mobile

Picture Credit: Musixmatch

  • Spotify’s lyrics supplier, Musixmatch, launched a new platform for podcast transcriptions utilizing AI fashions and NLP. The service is supposed to assist individuals search by matters to get correct matches of associated podcasts when utilizing its app.
  • Netflix reversed its downward development with its Q3 earnings by adding 2.41 million subscribers within the quarter, larger than analyst estimates and its personal forecast of simply 1 million subs. It additionally pulled in $7.93 billion in income — greater than analysts’ predictions of $7.85 billion.
  • The corporate additionally announced at TechCrunch Disrupt this week that it’s “significantly exploring” a cloud gaming effort to enrich its cellular gaming efforts, and is opening a fifth gaming studio in Southern California.
  • Google introduced a set of parental controls and different options to its streaming platform Google TV, together with the power for fogeys so as to add titles to youngsters’ watchlists, AI-powered solutions and a supervised expertise that enables youngsters to entry the YouTube app with the suitable content material restrictions in place.
  • Apple is bringing its immersive encompass sound, Spatial Audio, to vehicles, beginning with Mercedes-Benz and Common Music Group.


  • Microsoft revealed it’s building an Xbox mobile gaming store to problem Apple and Google, in keeping with filings made with the U.Okay.’s Competitors and Markets Authority. The corporate said a part of the motivation for its buy of Activision Blizzard could be to determine an Xbox cellular gaming platform and retailer.
  • Discord launched an app listing that may enable server admins to construct out their server with helpful or enjoyable utilities. Some builders may even be capable of promote premium app subscriptions inside the platform.
  • Roblox reported DAUs of 57.8 million in September, up 23% year-over-year. Hours engaged have been 4 billion, up 16%, and estimated bookings got here in between $212-219 million.

Well being & Health

  • Subscription-based mindfulness app Calm introduced its first psychological well being providing, Calm Well being, provided by payers, suppliers and self-insured employers. The service, constructed on its acquisition of Ripple Well being Group, connects customers with completely different healthcare choices.

Productiveness & Utilities

Picture Credit: Google

  • Google announced its new Lock Display widgets for iOS 16 are formally out there. These embody widgets for Gmail, Information, Search, Maps and Chrome. It additionally launched a YouTube Music Lock Screen widget for accessing not too long ago performed songs, and at last launched YouTube Dwelling Display widgets that allow you to watch Shorts and different movies, or entry your subscriptions with a faucet.
  • Google additionally rolled out an update to Chrome that makes the browser better suited to Android tablets. The discharge contains new options like a side-by-side view for improved tab navigation and the power to pull and drop info out of Chrome and into different apps like Gmail, Maintain and Photographs.

Journey & Transportation

  • Uber formally launched its promoting division and a brand new in-app advert expertise, Journey Adverts, on Wednesday. The corporate will promote advert house inside its ride-hailing and Uber Eats apps, and elsewhere.

Authorities & Coverage

  • Wired reports on how China’s WeChat app has turn out to be a hotbed for misinformation forward of the U.S. elections. Activists are involved the falsehoods will distort the vote or surpass turnout, the media outlet mentioned.
  • India fined Google $162 million for anti-competitive practices on Android. The Competitors Fee of India mentioned that Google requiring system producers to pre-install its complete Google Cellular Suite and mandating distinguished placement of these apps was unfair competitors.
  • A server room hearth shut down Korean tech giant Kakao’s apps, impacting Kakao Pay, Kakao T (ride-hailing) and messaging service Kakao Discuss, resulting in considerations about Kakao’s grip in the marketplace. Because the companies have been coming again on-line after the outages, President Yoon Suk-yeol mentioned his administration would examine whether or not Kakao was a monopolist.
  • Apple restored Russian apps for VKontakte and Mail.ru to the App Retailer after eradicating them three weeks prior as a result of U.Okay. sanctions. Apple’s assertion mentioned the developer offered documentation to confirm they weren’t in violation of the U.Okay. sanctions — that’s, they don’t seem to be majority owned or managed by a sanctioned entity.
  • Meta has been ordered by the U.Okay.’s competitors authority to promote the animated GIF platform Giphy. The regulator believes Meta’s buy of Giphy would restrict selection for U.Okay. social media customers and cut back innovation in U.Okay. show promoting.

💰 Nexta, an Egyptian fintech that plans to launch its banking app within the coming months, raised $3 million from eFinance Group, a state-owned supplier of digital funds options.

💰 French app Revyze, a TikTok for academic movies, raised a $2 million pre-seed round (€2 million) from greater than 100 enterprise angels earlier this yr. It’s aiming to achieve 500,000 customers by year-end and broaden to the U.S.

💰 Amsterdam-based Crisp, an app-only grocery store, raised €75 milliom in a spherical of funding from each new and present buyers.

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