Category: Apps

Ever tried to find out how many apps Google owns on the Indian Android Play Store? The answer is 114. In stark contrast, Facebook owns a measly eight apps — including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus VR.
But why are we talking about apps? It is because Facebook says that it doesn’t believe in releasing multiple apps to take over a market from competition, but in pushing relevant content and driving engagement.
“Our ideals as a company are different and we believe in pushing more meaningful content for users to drive more engagement along with giving our users the power to control their timeline and which is why we don’t believe in releasing multiple apps like rival Google for a market like India which is turning to be our most important market as lift or adoption of some new features is high here,” Adam Mosseri, vice president of product management at Facebook, told HT.
“We deeply care about India as we focus on building for the next billion people coming online and hence we are committed to learning about how people everywhere use our product and making sure Facebook works for them. Connecting the next billion people on Facebook means understanding these differences and building better experiences to work on all connections, devices, and regions,” he explained.
Companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google have been fighting to take the maximum pie as India embarks on its digital journey or data revolution. The country presents itself as the new revenue generating region with millions of users coming online for the first time mostly via smartphones.
While Google has been trying to get more users with different apps and their offline versions, Facebook is looking at more engagement with newer features like automated NewsFeed, 360-degree videos, the Live broadcast feature, sports, and Bollywood engagement along with supported initiatives like Express WiFi, Facebook Lite app, and Instant Articles. Instant Articles, which only works on smartphones, is a new format for news stories that opens nearly five times faster on a 2G network when compared to an original format on a 4G connection.
Facebook Wi-Fi was launched by the company after Free Basics was banned in India. Express Wi-Fi allows India’s mobile phone owners in underserved locations to purchase data from local internet service providers in order to access the internet. A pilot version of the program, in partnership with a state-owned telecoms provider, is currently live at 125 rural Wi-Fi hot spots in the country.
“Express Wi-Fi empowers local entrepreneurs to help provide quality internet access to their neighbors and make a steady income,” writes Facebook on its Internet.org website. However, Mosseri said that the company was looking to work with local internet service providers or mobile operators as they are able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities Vlogger Faire.
“The engagement levels globally has gone up to 52 minutes per user including an increase in time spent by users in India. The engagement is rising in India and it may overtake anytime but that also depends on a lot of variables including internet penetration,” Mosseri said adding that the last data revealed showed that the US market had an engagement of 45 minutes per user.
“As of the end of Q2 2016, daily actives on Facebook in India had grown 22% year over year, compared to a 17% increase in daily actives on Facebook worldwide,” Mosseri said adding that “not including Likes, more than 50% of the reactions used in India are ‘Love’ emojis, and more than 30% of Reactions used in India are ‘Haha’ emojis”
However, just last month Google at its second edition of the Google for India event revealed India specific apps and solutions to get more users. The apps or services included offline YouTube, more public WiFi hotspots, special content boxes for streaming in restaurants and more effective Chrome (browser) capabilities.
Meanwhile, Facebook on Thursday also introduced a new design or architecture for News Feed that will allow users to see fewer gray boxes and more relevant stories faster. “This new architecture of News Feed allows stories to be ranked on the client after being sent from the server. We avoid spinners and gray boxes by firstly requiring stories to have all necessary media available before rendering them in News Feed and secondly being able to optimize the stories in News Feed for each session, so you can see the most relevant stories even if you’re on slow internet connections,” Mosseri explained.
Facebook also showcased the power of engagement of its connected apps and services ecosystem. “While 670 million people are connected to a News Publisher page on Facebook, at least one billion people are connected to a public figure on Facebook,” Ankit Rihal, head of entertainment partnerships at Facebook India executive, said, adding that nearly 17 of the top 20 public figures (8 of the top 10) on Facebook are entertainers.
“This helps us drive more engagement and create more engagement for content creators like Pocket Aces or any Bollywood or TV production,” Biswamitra Ray, TV and original content programing partnerships head at Facebook India, said comparing the solution to Google’s youTube. He also said that the company had launched Mentions to drive more fan-based engagement for celebrities or personalities.
The company also claimed that Facebook was working with sports partnerships at well. “Nearly 650 million people around the world are connected to at least one sports Page (league, team, athlete, sports media) on Facebook. Over 277 million people had 1.5 billion interactions on Facebook about the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games along with over 30 million people generating 360 million Facebook conversations during the latest edition of the IPL,” Asha Thacker, head at sports partnerships in India, said. Facebook is reportedly fighting for a spot for streaming rights for the next edition of IPL.
In India, Facebook has nearly 155 million monthly average users, 77 million daily average users. “Nearly 147 million people access Facebook via Mobile monthly and 73 million users access Facebook on a daily basis as of second quarter of 2016,” a Facebook spokesperson said adding that the service was available in 12 Indian languages.

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Smoking_PIXABAY3The graphic visuals on cigarette boxes and advertisements against smoking before movies may put you off but there is a reason why they are posted. Smoking and smokeless tobacco kill nearly 6 million people globally every year, says the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s one death every six seconds.

Still, people continue to smoke. For those who want to quit, it’s a tough battle. For many smokers, it may take 30 or more attempts to actually quit smoking, according to research by medical journal BMJ Open.

If you have decided to quit smoking, a number of smartphone apps can assist you in kicking the butt.

These apps will not work until you have a firm resolve to quit smoking as most of these only act as motivation to stop you when you are craving for a smoke. So, if you need some support, these apps may come handy.

Quit smoking slowly: This app can help you cut down on your daily cigarettes and quit smoking slowly. You can set initial parameters and preferences related to daily cigarettes smoked, the cost of a cigarette and a deadline before you want to quit smoking Wide Info.

Based on the parameters you set, the app prepares a daily timeline of cigarettes you are allowed to smoke. You can smoke when the screen turns green. Thereafter, the screen turns red for a certain duration.

The app also keeps track of monthly, weekly and yearly savings and gives motivation tips to keep the journey going. The app has more than 100,000 downloads on the Google Play Store.

Quit (Quit Smoking): This app provides users with various health metrics. This acts as a motivation tool for users to move toward their target. It includes metrics such as ‘After 8 hours without tobacco’ and ‘After 24 hours without tobacco’.

The app also has statistics including savings, time and a feature that starts a timer before the urge to smoke ends. The app has more than 500,000 downloads on the Google Play Store.

Quit Smoking – QuitNow!: This app will allow you to join a community of users who have decided to kick the butt. The app requires users to fill in their personal information and the date they decided to quit smoking. Once the details have been filled, the app will show you statistics on how much time and money you have saved. The app lists 15 achievements that you can unlock during the journey, such as 10 cigarettes not smoked, no smoking for five days etc.

The most powerful aspect of this app remains the community and chat support that will never let you feel alone during the journey. The app has been downloaded 1 million times on the Google Play Store.

Smoke-Free, stop smoking help: This app will come handy for users who derive motivation from statistics. The app will tell users how much money they have saved, how long they have been smoke-free and how many cigarettes they have avoided. It allows users to add smoke cravings and also gives tips to avoid them.

The app also has a diary entry feature, which allows users to jot down thoughts and cravings. Users also have an option of upgrading to the Smoke Fee Pro version to unlock missions and other interesting features. The app has more than 500,000 downloads on the Google Play Store.

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OLX updates app, adds image recognition technologyOLX, India’s number one online classifieds, today announced a series of industry-first, tech-led changes with the launch of the new OLX App, which will help increase the penetration of online classifieds across regions, age-groups, and categories.

OLX, which is the market leader in consumer-to-consumer (C2C) classifieds in India, has leveraged innovative technology and deep consumer understanding to roll out improved and forward-looking product changes on its App that make the online classifieds experience safer, simpler, and social. The new App was rolled out to all of OLX’s Android users by September 27th and will be rolled out to its remaining user base in the coming weeks.

The new OLX App is expected to fulfill the unmet consumer needs and bring about a new wave of growth for the brand. OLX, which is already the market leader in used cars, bikes, mobiles phones, furniture, and electronics, is looking to give scale to some of its other categories with the help of these changes. Pre-owned fashion products and accessories, hobby items such as musical instruments, sports equipment, collectibles, and vintage items have steadily been growing on OLX, and the new App will facilitate further growth for these under-penetrated categories. OLX expects to double its growth rate as a result of these changes in the next one year.

The new OLX App is built on four key pillars:

Registered Users Only: With the intention of making the platform more secure, OLX has made it mandatory for all users – sellers and buyers – to register for accessing the platform. Users can register with either of the following: Facebook, Google+, and phone number. Social media log-ins will allow users to see mutual friends, apart from revealing the transaction history of other users, how long they have been using OLX, as well as their location. Mandatory log-ins will imply that there are no anonymous users on OLX anymore. It will increase the sense of familiarity amongst users and will make the OLX experience a more secure one. Mandatory registration will especially help in bringing women users to OLX by providing a safer environment for them to transact in.

Snap and Post – Super Simple Process: The new OLX App has reduced the Ad posting time by more than 50% by introducing the image recognition technology. The image recognition technology (introduced primarily for the under-penetrated categories), allows users to post an Ad in as less as 10 seconds. The image-recognition feature generates an auto-title and auto-category for the item being posted. All one needs to do is to take a photograph of the item, state the price, and it’s good to go. This change makes the posting process super simple and will be extremely beneficial for the new-to-net population Wide News.

Chat First, Restrictions on Calling: The new OLX App protects user privacy, making the platform safer. The default settings of the new OLX App do not reveal the phone number of the seller. OLX Chat is the only way to get in touch with the sellers until they decide to reveal their phone number. This ensures two things: [1] The platform does not make the user’s phone number public, protecting his/her privacy, and [2] OLX empowers the seller to decide whether they want to reveal their phone number at all. There are also chat templates available on each chat window, which makes the experience simpler, especially for the new-to-net population. Restricting the conversation between the buyer and the seller to OLX chat also makes the process more instant. This feature will be of particular benefit to women users, who especially seek trusted platforms where their identity is protected.

Hyper Local Experience: The hyper-local experience has been introduced to allow users to find great products in their vicinity. This particularly helps facilitate transactions for low-value items in the under-penetrated categories for which it does not make sense to travel large distances. The new OLX App shows products closest to the user’s current location. This helps the user in four distinct ways: [1] It helps buyers find products closest to them, reducing the challenges of travel and logistics that emerge with larger distances. [2] It makes the browsing and buying experience simpler as the users don’t have to manually search for the items closest to them. [3] It facilitates neighbourhood-commerce by promoting trade in the geographical area that the user is most comfortable in. [4] It places the power in the hands of the users by letting him change their current location as many times as they want, and also increase the distance of search to as much as 500 km at any given time.

Apart from these product-centric changes, the App itself has undergone a transformation from a design perspective. In line with its new-age experience, the App is more visual with an image-first design.

Said Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO, OLX India, “Consumer insights played a pivotal role in conceptualizing and introducing these changes. The annual OLX Consumer Research on Used Goods and Selling Trends (CRUST) for 2015-16, revealed that Indians are stocking unused goods worth INR 78,300 Crore. This, along with other consumer insights, pushed us to think about the unmet needs of the users and the new ways in which we could make selling and buying of unused goods simpler for them. We also looked at some of the broader challenges confronting the industry. Since online is still a very nascent industry in India, users do have trust and comfort issues. Women and the new-to-net population particularly finds it hard to navigate around these. We decided to deal with the problem head-on by providing simple and tech-led solutions.”

OLX, which is present in 40 countries, started marketing in India five years ago. It disrupted the online classifieds market in India by establishing and popularizing the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) trade, a concept hitherto almost unheard of. OLX is already the largest marketplace for used cars, bikes, mobile phones, household items, and real estate in the country with 80% market share of the C2C trade. OLX India gets 3.4 billion page-views a month, with 90% of its traffic coming from mobile. It is also the number one buying + selling App in India on Google Play Store. It not only is the biggest marketplace for used goods, but also the number one marketplace in India for many verticals such as used cars. OLX sells an estimated 72% of all the used cars sold in India each month.

“With our new App, we have made significant improvements on three fronts in particular. First, features such as ‘Chat First’ are bold, industry-first moves that along with mandatory registration enhance the trustworthiness of the platform, making our users more secure. Second, by allowing users to see products closest to them, we have tried to provide an authentic hyper-local classifieds experience based on ease and simplicity. Third, by introducing novel features such as image recognition for products, we have not only made the seller’s posting experience agiler but also demonstrated how technology can be used for consumer benefit. We will continue to innovate to provide a more friction-free user-experience. We are firmly marching forward on our growth path, and expect to double our growth in the coming year” added Batra.

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language“A different language is a different vision of life,” said Federico Fellini, one of the most influential filmmakers. You could be traveling abroad for vacation or work, or you could be shifting base to another country, knowledge of the native language can completely change your experience of a foreign land. And with increasing globalization, knowing foreign languages increases the employability of a person. It also helps one in discovering the new culture, enjoying music, art, and literature from across the borders.

Learning material is now easily accessible in this tech savvy world. There are a plethora of apps available to help one learn and enhance their world of languages.

Different apps are designed with different purposes. While some of the apps might be good at helping you with grammar, others could help you with words, pronunciations or sentence formation. Techcircle lists five apps that can help you learn a new language:

Spanish

Spanish Conversation Courses (Free): This app will help you learn Spanish in an interesting way with the help of videos. It has videos for all levels of learning, which are very simple and easy to understand. Beginning from the very basic first-grade level, it can teach a high level of vocabulary. Its subjects include basic Spanish, vocabulary, listening practices and special videos meant for travel. It also has a series of videos meant for learning the vocabulary for manners and etiquette, doctor’s vocabulary, law enforcement vocabulary, etc.

French

Learn French Speak French (developed by Busuu Limited, free up to basic level): This app will teach you the basics of the French language in an interactive and fun way. Tests after each exercise, games and audios make this app very easy to learn from. When you tap to learn a new word, you get to know a “grammar tip” for the word and an audio to help with right pronunciation. The course is divided into many lessons and these lessons will teach you vocabulary on the basis of the type of conversation you choose, for example – culture, law, and politics, extended family, job interview, parenting, holiday forecast, etc. Lessons can be learned offline also by making a payment and becoming a premium user World Scoop.

German

Learn German with Babbel (free up to basic level): This app has two separate courses for Beginner and Advanced level users. Very simple and interactive interface with audios will keep you engaged in learning the language. The lessons are of small duration so that they can fit into one’s busy schedule. Grammar exercises, speech recognition and vocabulary for a wide gamut of topics will help you master the language.

Italian

Learn Italian (developed by MosaLingua Crea, free up to basic level): It’s an easy and fun app with a lot of interactive exercises. One can learn through flash cards, listening to audios and then repeating it. The app uses a lot of pictures, which can help one memorize the words. One can explore vocabulary catering to different topics and also track the progress. It also has exercises for helping one learn how to write, self-evaluate and memorize. The easy to use a format of the app makes it stand out.

Japanese

Mirai Japanese (by Mirai LLP, free on iOS and paid on android): The one-to-one lessons by this app are much like lessons from a personal tutor. The native Japanese speaking guide will support the users to get the right pronunciations. It starts from the very basic and can prepare a user to get to a normal conversational level. The course is divided into fifty lessons and all have audio instructions by language professionals, one by a Japanese native and one by an English native. The dialogue-based learning makes it an interactive exercise.

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Indian farmers can now rent a tractor through an app called TrringoAn Indian automaker is plowing a new furrow in the crowded field of car-hailing apps.

Uber and Lyft have already become household names in cities around the world, allowing people to hail a ride with just a couple of clicks on a smartphone.

Now Mahindra & Mahindra is hoping to make it easier for farmers to hire a tractor when it comes to harvest time with a smartphone app called Trying.
Priced at about 250,000 rupees (£3,000), many small-scale farmers are unable to buy a tractor and are forced to rent one from owners who can often be unreliable. Moreover, prices also surge at peak time, such as harvest time.
“One of the things that struck us was the toll it took on the self-esteem of the farmer,” said Rajesh Jejurikar, chief executive of the company’s farm-equipment division, told the New York Times. “It was, literally, like having to beg for it. He didn’t feel like it was his right.”
Mahindra & Mahindra launched Trying last month in the state of Karnataka and soon it will be rolled out in other farming states, including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan.
The company, which offers rentals at 400 to 700 rupees an hour, has a number of tractors which they own as well as a pool of private owners who have signed up to the service.
It has also set up call centers so that farmers can place orders by telephone – an essential addition given that more than 90% of rural India does not have access to the internet.
“The Trying farm equipment rental business model will enable farmers to deploy mechanization technology on a pay per use basis without investing in the asset,” said Pawan Goenka, M&M Executive Director, when the plan was first announced in March. “This will increase their output and prosperity and lead to the inclusive growth of the nation.”
It is not the first time Mahindra & Mahindra has invested in a digital start-up. In June, it invested in Scoot Networks, a ride-hailing service based in San Francisco.

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Senior Vice-President of Samsung India Electronics Asim Warsi launching the new version of “My Galaxy app with Samsung Z3” smartphone in Hyderabad, on Monday - Photo: NAGARA GOPALHYDERABAD, OCT 24:
Gathering insights into mobile usage patterns, Samsung India has launched a new version of My Galaxy application, an entertainment hub and life-services application for its mobile devices.

The user experience in the new My Galaxy app has been significantly enhanced to provide an all-in-one experience to customers, without having to access other apps for music, video, and other services.

The new app converges a number of apps and services at a single interface. Developers at Samsung have incorporated several innovative features developed in India for the consumers.

Asim Warsi, Senior Vice-President, Samsung India Electronics, said: “My Galaxy offers experiences across music, videos, and gaming, making it an entertainment hub. It integrates key life services such as recharge, bill payments, movie ticketing, cab, hotel and flight bookings.”

He said research shows India will have over 200 million smartphone users by December and of them 120 million will be using 3G and 4G services and estimated to spend about 169 minutes on phone per day on an average.

Emerging as the second largest market in the world for smartphones after China, he said India is the fourth largest app market in the world after the US, China, and Brazil. Usage of apps shows different patterns have emerged and the new app seeks to address them all.

As a part of innovations made in India, the new Samsung phones will have power plan mode and rescue power mode, which have the feature of early alerts when the battery is low, he said.

New smartphone

Claiming a market share of 48.7 per cent in the Indian smartphone market in terms of value as of August, and seeking to consolidate it further, Samsung today introduced new smartphone Samsung Galaxy On Nxt exclusively on Flipkart at ₹ 18,490.

The device packs a 5.5-inch screen, 3 GB ROM, 32 GB RAM, 16 MP and 8 MP front and rear cameras and comes with 3300 mAh battery.

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New Delhi, Oct 26 : Yahoo Mail app for Android devices is now available in seven new Indian languages — Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Marathi — the company announced on Wednesday. With this update, the users whose “language setting” on their devices is set to one of the newly-launched seven Indian regional languages will automatically get Yahoo Mail in their preferred language.
In addition to the language updates, Yahoo Mail app on Android has added new features that are fully compatible with the Android 7.0 Nougat. The updates include “Multi-Window View” with which users can use Yahoo Mail side-by-side with other apps. The “Quick Actions” feature allows users can access the mail and directly reply to a message right from a notification, without having to open the app.

“You can also now quickly view and dismiss bundled notifications, or depending on your custom swipe settings, archive, delete, star, and more on each notification individually,” the statement added. The new features are now available in the latest update (5.10).

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MUMBAI: Air India launched an app to make it easier for its passengers to book, check-in and manage every aspect of the journey through their mobile phones.
“The Air India app offers the ability to book and pay for a flight by quickly and securely scanning both passport and credit card. Passengers can fully manage their booking from their mobile device, including selecting their seat, making changes to their itinerary, buying additional services, choosing their meal and checking in,” said a joint release issued by Air India and SITA. “The app has also been integrated with Air India’s Flying Returns loyalty program where passengers can securely access details of points earned or other updates to their accounts,” it said adding the app which is available on Android, iOS and Windows will a boon to its 18-million passengers.
At check-in, passengers can choose to receive their boarding pass on their phone or smartwatch.
At the airport, passengers will receive regular updates on their flights and can use the app for mobile boarding.
Ashwani Lohani, chairman and MD of Air India, said: “Mobile apps are becoming an important tool for making travel bookings by passengers who are tech-savvy and like to access information on the go. This mobile app provides Air India the right tool to access a growing passenger market that is connected both to India and beyond. The new app, developed by SITA, provides an elevated mobile experience where passengers can easily manage every step of their journey on their phone or tablet no matter where they are.”

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India is gearing up to become a massive player in the global app market.

However, a combination of inexpensive handsets, data-heavy apps, and a lack of relevant app content could be inhibiting future growth in the market, according to a study conducted by Google and TNS. This indicates that app makers will need to find ways to reengage smartphone users or they risk getting lost in the upcoming app download deluge.

Here are the key takeaways from the report:

India’s app users are highly engaged. On average, nine of the 33 apps installed on Indian users’ devices are being used on a daily basis. While that seems low, compared with other, more mature, Asian smartphone markets, it’s substantial. For example, the average smartphone user in Japan engages with just 17% of all apps installed on their phone.
Relevancy is key to getting users to India to revisit a lapsed app. Sixty-one percent of users in India said they would come back to an old app if it increased relevancy, became more popular among family and friends, or gained new features, Google notes. Reengagement tactics like push notifications and frequent updates to add new features will help encourage users to revisit dormant apps.
Lack of memory is a making app users more selective. Forty-nine percent of users in India said that the main reason they deleted an app was because it took up too much of their memory. While Indian smartphone users are downloading five apps each day on average, they’re also deleting/uninstalling three apps to make space on their devices. This is because a majority of smartphones in India cost less than $120, according to Gartner. And, with the low cost comes much less internal memory, meaning app publishers will need to give users a reason to download and keep their apps.
Overall, the opportunity India presents is massive. Daily app downloads in India saw a 16% increase during the first half of 2016, according to a report from 9Apps, a third-party Android app distribution platform. Moreover, the total number of apps downloaded is projected to grow a staggering 92% from 2014, to reach almost 8 billion downloads in 2016 and 20 billion in 2020, according to App Annie. But developers and publishers need to ensure that their apps have been optimized for the emerging market.

Mobile-app makers and content creators are vying for consumer attention in a crowded and noisy market.

Even if an app can stand out enough to prompt a consumer to download it from among a list of millions, it then faces the challenge of enticing him or her to use it enough times to recuperate development, maintenance, and marketing costs. To make matters worse, those marketing costs have hit record-high levels over the past year as discoverability has become more challenging.

And while consumers are spending more time in apps, most of that time is spent in a few favorites. Consumers spend almost three-quarters of their total smartphone app time in just their three favorite apps, according to comScore.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: There are numerous tools at a publisher’s disposal to engage and re-engage consumers, and there are new products and solutions coming to market that can help alleviate some of the issues around this app engagement crisis.

Jessica Smith, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on app engagement that explores the current state of the app market, the issues around engaging consumers, and the tools at a publisher’s disposal. It also identifies best practices for the implementation of some app engagement tools, and presents the pitfalls that some publishers fall into in this pursuit.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

The app market today is challenging and volatile. It’s difficult to stand out, and most apps have to be offered for free in order to entice consumers who have too much supply to choose from. This puts greater emphasis on engaging consumers after they’ve downloaded an app in order to recoup costs.
Consumers are more difficult to engage today, as most have dozens of apps installed on their devices yet spend most of their time in just a select handful of favorites.
There are numerous solutions at hand for mobile app publishers and content creators seeking to engage consumers. Push notifications, in-app messaging, and app message centers with badges are three tools publishers can use to engage consumers.
While many publishers mistakenly rely solely on push notifications for app engagements, this is a poor practice because many consumers don’t allow push notifications and those that do can easily be overwhelmed when they receive too many.
The best solution often includes leveraging two or three of these tools to engage consumers with the right message at the right time. The technology in this market has grown increasingly sophisticated, and publishers that don’t diversify their approach run the risk of annoying their consumers to the point of abandonment.
There are emerging engagement technologies that will change the current app engagement norms and present new ways for app publishers to communicate with users. The mobile ecosystem is changing quickly as technology improves and consumers become more comfortable conducting more activities on mobile devices.
In full, the report:

Identifies the major challenges in today’s app market and explains why employing good app engagement practices is more important than ever before.
Presents the major app engagement tools currently available.
Examines the pros and cons of each app engagement tool while outlining some pitfalls that publishers encounter in implementing them.
Prescribes best practices for adopting various app engagement tools or strategies.
Assesses how the market will likely change over the next five years as emerging technologies change both consumer behavior with mobile devices and introduce new tools with which to engage consumers.

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India’s LGBT community deserves better apps

Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender (LGBT) community during a Delhi Queen Pride 2015,  in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI PhotoAfter drinks on a Saturday night, Akash* opens gay meet up-app Grindr to continue an earlier conversation. They’ve agreed to meet at the large ICICI Bank at the corner. After a few nervous minutes of waiting, he recognizes a face coming up the street. Their walk home is careful, avoiding the juice shop where policemen usually stand. “Grindr life,” Akash laughs.
Fast forward a few encounters to a Sunday afternoon. Akash opens the app again, this time to a charming stranger who asks to meet in a posh neighborhood. A short walk and a winding staircase later, he’s confronted by a man who looks nothing like the well-positioned photos he’s sent. He runs, reminded of other stories – urban tales of a man lured into a Grindr date in Delhi and beat up, or one in which blackmail and public shaming are used as revenge.
Are there options? Barely. Tinder preferences can be adjusted, but the app connects directly with Facebook to display mutual connections. That makes things more transparent but also merges a network that often includes family and friends, terrifying for many in anti-anything-but-straight India.
A few people direct me to an Indian site that’s been gaining popularity, Amour. It’s an online dating project that lets people create profiles and meet like-minded individuals across the gender spectrum. It’s available in five languages, including English, Hindi, and Kannada.
The problem is – it’s still just a database, and definitely doesn’t have the investor interest or tech background to match the likes of Grindr.

It’s clear about that. “We still DO NOT RULE OUT data leakage to external persons,” Amour writes on its site.

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