Архив метки: App Store

Google Play now makes it easier to manage your subscriptions

Mobile app subscriptions are a big business, but consumers sometimes hesitate to sign up because pausing and cancelling existing subscriptions hasn’t been as easy as opting in. Google is now addressing those concerns with the official launch of its subscription center for Android users. The new feature centralizes all your Google Play subscriptions, and offers a way for you to find others you might like to try.
The feature was first introduced at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, and recently rolled out to Android users, the company says. However, Google hadn’t formally announced its arrival until today.
Access to the subscriptions center only takes one tap – the link is directly available from the “hamburger” menu in the Play Store app.

Apple’s page for subscription management, by comparison, is far more tucked away.
On iOS, you have to tap on your profile icon in the App Store app, then tap on your name. This already seem unintuitive – especially considering that a link to “Purchases” is on this Account screen. Why wouldn’t Subscriptions be here, too? But instead, you have to go to the next screen, then scroll down to near the bottom to find “Subscriptions” and tap that. To turn any individual subscription off, you have to go to its own page, scroll to the bottom and tap “Cancel.”
This process should be more streamlined for iOS users.
In Google Play’s Subscriptions center, you can view all your existing subscriptions, cancel them, renew them, or even restore those you had previously cancelled – perfect for turning HBO NOW back on when “Game of Thrones” returns, for example.
You can also manage and update your payment methods, and set up a backup method.
Making it just as easy for consumers to get out of their subscriptions as it is to sign up is a good business practice, and could boost subscription sign-ups overall, which benefits developers. When consumers aren’t afraid they’ll forget or not be able to find the cancellation options later on, they’re more likely to give subscriptions a try.

In addition, developers can now create deep links to their subscriptions which they can distribute across the web, email, and social media. This makes it easier to direct people to their app’s subscription management page directly. When users cancel, developers can also trigger a survey to find out why – and possibly tweak their product offerings a result of this user feedback.
There’s also a new subscription discovery section that will help Android users find subscription-based apps through both curated and localized collections, Google notes.
These additional features, along with a good handful of subscription management tools for developers, were all previously announced at I/O but weren’t in their final state at the time. Google had cautioned that it may tweak the look-and-feel of the product between the developer event and the public launch, but it looks the same as what was shown before – right down to the demo subscription apps.
Subscriptions are rapidly becoming a top way for developers to generate revenue for their applications. Google says subscribers are growing at more than 80 percent year-over-year. Sensor Tower also reported that app revenue grew 35 percent to $60 billion in 2017, in part thanks to the growth in subscriptions.

Google Play now makes it easier to manage your subscriptions

Venmo is discontinuing web support for payments and more

PayPal-owned, peer-to-peer payments app Venmo is ending web support for its service, the company announced in an email to users. The changes, which are beginning to roll out now, will see the Venmo .com website phasing out support for making payments and charging users. In time, users will see even less functionality on the website, the company says.
The message to users was quietly shared in the body of Venmo’s monthly transaction history email. It reads as follows:
NOTICE: Venmo has decided to phase out some of the functionality on the Venmo.com website over the coming months. We are beginning to discontinue the ability to pay and charge someone on the Venmo.com website, and over time, you may see less functionality on the website – this is just the start. We therefore have updated our user agreement to reflect that the use of Venmo on the Venmo.com website may be limited.
The decision represents a notable shift in product direction for Venmo. Though best known as a mobile payments app, the service has also been available online, similar to PayPal, for many years.
The Venmo website today allows users to sign in and view their various transaction feeds, including public transactions, those from friends, and personal transactions. You can also charge friends and submit payments from the website, send payment reminders, like and comment on transactions, add friends, edit your profile, and more.
Some users may already be impacted by the changes, and will now see a message alerting them to the fact that charging friends and making payments can only be done in the Venmo app from the App Store or Google Play.

It’s not entirely surprising to see Venmo drop web support. As a PayPal-owned property after its acquisition by Braintree which later brought it to PayPal, there’s always been a lot of overlap between Venmo and its parent company, in terms of peer-to-peer payments.
Venmo had grown in popularity for its simple, social network-inspired design and its less burdensome fee structure among a younger crowd. This made it an appealing way for PayPal to gain market share with a different demographic.
It’s also cheaper, which people like. PayPal doesn’t charge for money transfers from a bank account or PayPal balance, but does charge 2.9 percent plus a $0.30 fixed fee on payments from a credit or debit card in the U.S. Venmo, meanwhile, charges a fee of 3 percent for credit card payments, but makes debit card payments free. That’s appealing to millennials in particular, many of whom have ditched credit cards entirely, and are careful about their spending.
Plus, as a mobile-first application, Venmo was offering a more modern solution for mobile payments, at a time when PayPal’s app was looking a bit long in the tooth. (PayPal has since redesigned its mobile app experience to catch up.)
Another factor in Venmo’s decision could be that, more recently, it began facing competition from newcomer Zelle, the bank-backed mobile payments here in the U.S. which is forecast to outpace Venmo on users sometime this year, with 27.4 million users to Venmo’s 22.9 million. In light of that threat, Venmo may have wanted to consolidate its resources on its primary product – the mobile app.
Not everyone is happy about Venmo’s changes, of course. After all, even if the Venmo website wasn’t heavily used, it was used by some who will certainly miss it.

@venmo i only use the website to send/receive payments so in guess you’re cancelled!
— respectfully yours (@biking_away_) June 15, 2018

@venmo This makes me really #sad….»Venmo has decided to phase out some of the functionality on the https://t.co/Dw7W551BsL website over the coming months.» #CanWeGoBackToHowItWas
— V Lav (@Druzy920) June 14, 2018

@venmo Why are you breaking your website?
— Lozaning (@lozaning) June 14, 2018

@VenmoSupport @venmo Just got an email saying you’re phasing out website functions. What’s the justification? Pay and charge by web is incredibly useful.
— Woode (@Woode2380) June 14, 2018

Venmo email: “We are beginning to discontinue the ability to pay and charge someone on the https://t.co/iAFTbn3EY0 website, and over time, you may see less functionality on the website – this is just the start.”
Is this a threat?
— Noah Mittman (@noahmittman) June 14, 2018

Reached for comment, Venmo explained the decision to phase out the website functionality stems from how it sees its product being used.
A Venmo spokesperson told TechCrunch:

Venmo continuously evaluates our products and services to ensure we are delivering our users the best experience. We have decided to begin to discontinue the ability to pay and charge someone on the Venmo.com website. Most of our users pay and request money using the Venmo app, so we’re focusing our efforts there. Users can continue to use the mobile app for their pay and charge transactions and can still use the website for cashing out Venmo balances, settings and statements.

The company declined to clarify what other functionality may be removed from the website over time, but noted that using Venmo to pay authorized merchants is unaffected.

Venmo is discontinuing web support for payments and more

Musical.ly kills its standalone live-streaming app Live.ly

Musical.ly is merging the functionality from its two-year old live-streaming platform Live.ly into its main app, and has disabled Live.ly’s standalone app as part of the transition process. The Live.ly app will eventually be pulled from the App Store and Google Play, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. Instead of being able to go live, Live.ly users are presented with a message about the changes, informing them that live streaming has now moved over to Musical.ly.

This change is also confirmed via Live.ly’s App Store update text, which says:
Live.ly is becoming part of musical.ly!
– You can go live on musical.ly right now! Plenty of live content there!
Live.ly first launched in May 2016, offering Musical.ly users a live-streaming platform, where the streams were directly viewable on Musical.ly, as well as within the Live.ly mobile app.
As the video creator streamed, they’d see a count of how many people were watching, and would see hearts float up across the screen when viewers “liked” their content — an experience that’s very similar to Twitter/Periscope and Facebook Live. Viewers could also chat with the streamer, and engage in real-time conversations.

Unfortunately for Live.ly users, there was little warning about the shut down, and it seems that, for some, live streaming on Musical.ly is not working as expected.
One regular Live.ly user posted to YouTube about the shutdown, complaining that after she made the switch to Musical.ly for her live stream as instructed, but no people were online watching and no likes and comments were showing up, either. This appears to be some sort of glitch, as viewers, likes, comments and other Live.ly core features are displaying for others who have been transitioned to the Musical.ly-based live-streaming experience.
Not everyone will be able to go live directly on Musical.ly today, as the addition of live-streaming support is a phased rollout.
However, the company says it remains committed to investing in live-streaming functionality, despite the Live.ly shutdown. We’re told that the majority of live-stream viewership was already taking place on Musical.ly’s main app, so it made sense for the company to consolidate the live video alongside the other short, lip sync videos Musical.ly is known for.
The closure of Live.ly is one of the first major changes to the Musical.ly product following its acquisition by Chinese media company Bytedance for up to $1 billion in November 2017.
Under its new ownership, Musical.ly launched a $50 million fund to help build out its creator community, but has also faced criticism for having poor content moderation capabilities — something that’s especially concerning given that a large part of its viewership audience is children.

It is also now facing a new threat: this month, Facebook began testing a Musical.ly competitor called Lip Sync Live.
The increased competition may have played a role in having Musical.ly consolidate its resources in order to focus on its flagship app, not its spinoff.
The main Musical.ly app has a reported 200 million registered users, 60 million of whom are active on a monthly basis.
Live.ly has been downloaded 26 million times to date, 87 percent on iOS. The U.S. accounts for about 70 percent of installs, according to data from Sensor Tower.

Musical.ly kills its standalone live-streaming app Live.ly

Apple’s App Store redesign improved app discovery, report finds

When Apple introduced its completely redesigned App Store last fall, one of its goals was to improve app discovery by placing a larger emphasis on editorial content – including things like “app of the day” picks, lists, how-to’s and even interviews with app developers, among other things. Now, a new study from Sensor Tower reveals those changes appear to have been working.
According to Sensor Tower’s findings, more apps are being discovered by way of browsing the App Store following the redesign launched in September.
Before, browse-driven downloads accounted for around 10 percent of all downloads. With the new App Store, they’ve grown to more than 15 percent. And that increase has held steady into 2018, even as the initial excitement around the App Store revamp has worn off.

Despite the growth in app discovery by browsing, searching for app by typing keywords into the search box is still, by far, the primary way consumers are finding and downloading new apps. Today, search accounts for 65 percent of downloads – well ahead of browse, referrals, or other methods.
Sensor Tower based its findings on data collected on app downloads between May 2017 and April 2018, it says.
The report also delved into the differences between how consumers discover apps and games.

As it turns out, browsing plays a much more significant role in game discovery than it does for non-game apps. Only 56 percent of game downloads came from search, compared with 69 percent for non-games. Meanwhile, browse contributed to 24 percent of game downloads, compared to just 9 percent of non-game downloads.
What this seems to indicate is that iOS users are turning to the App Store and its editorial recommendations in greater numbers to learn about what new game to try next. Plus, the fact that games can now include a video preview, and labels like “Editor’s Choice” are better highlighted in the new App Store also likely help people get a better sense of which ones to install, as they browse.
Sensor Tower’s findings about game downloads line up with research released last month where it found that games that were featured as the “Game of the Day” could see their downloads increase by 802 percent, compared to the week prior to being featured. Apps, by comparison, saw boosts of 685 percent.
The new report’s findings are good news for Apple which had a sizable challenge to tackle with its App Store redesign. Its app marketplace had grown almost over-crowded over the years. And even after the big app cleanup, it still stands at over 2 million apps. Finding a way to better introduce favorites and newcomers to iOS users at this scale was a tall order, but the growth in apps discovered by way of browsing indicates Apple has seen some success on this front. 

Apple’s App Store redesign improved app discovery, report finds

Приложений в App Store стало меньше; рекордное снижение количества новых релизов

Скачать на iPhone или iPad теперь можно меньше приложений, чем ранее. Впервые в истории App Store количество программ в нем сократилось в прошлом году, сообщает аналитическая компания Appfigures. Согласно отчету за прошлый год в App Store стало на 5% прил