This Week in Apps: Facebook takes on Shopify, Tinder considers its future, contact-tracing tech goes live

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $ 120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $ 544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

This week we’re continuing to look at how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting the world of mobile applications. Notably, we saw the launch of the Apple/Google exposure-notification API with the latest version of iOS out this week. The pandemic is also inspiring other new apps and features, including upcoming additions to Apple’s Schoolwork, which focus on distance learning, as well as Facebook’s new Shops feature designed to help small business shift their operations online in the wake of physical retail closures.

Tinder, meanwhile, seems to be toying with the idea of pivoting to a global friend finder and online hangout in the wake of social distancing, with its test of a feature that allows users to match with others worldwide — meaning, with no intention of in-person dating.

Headlines

COVID-19 apps in the news

  • Fitbit app: The fitness tracker app launched a COVID-19 early detection study aimed at determining whether wearables can help detect COVID-19 or the flu. The study will ask volunteers questions about their health, including whether they had COVID-19, then pair that with activity data to see if there are any clues that could be used to build an early warning algorithm of sorts.
  • U.K. contact-tracing app: The app won’t be ready in mid-May as promised, as the government mulls the use of the Apple/Google API. In testing, the existing app drains the phone battery too quickly. In addition, researchers have recently identified seven security flaws in the app, which is currently being trialed on the Isle of Wight.

Apple launches iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Face ID tweak and contact-tracing API

Apple this week released the latest version of iOS/iPadOS with two new features related to the pandemic. The first is an update to Face ID which will now be able to tell when the user is wearing a mask. In those cases, Face ID will instead switch to the Passcode field so you can type in your code to unlock your phone, or authenticate with apps like the App Store, Apple Books, Apple Pay, iTunes and others.

The other new feature is the launch of the exposure-notification API jointly developed by Apple and Google. The API allows for the development of apps from public health organizations and governments that can help determine if someone has been exposed by COVID-19. The apps that support the API have yet to launch, but some 22 countries have requested API access.

Startups – TechCrunch

Domain Investor/Developer/Blogger Morgan Linton Goes Deep in New Interview with GGRG’s Giuseppe G…

 DNJournal: Giuseppe Graziano is continuing his new series of in-depth domain industry interviews with the release of interview #3 with the multi-talented Morgan Linton.
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Regarding Equity Cliffs and Vesting – If one founder stops contributing significantly – maybe takes on a second job or goes part-time on the startup – but doesn’t officially ‘leave’ the company, how does vesting apply? Do they have to get cutoff by the other members at a certain point?

I'm trying to figure out equity with one of my cofounders and they're a little unsure about their levels of long term commitment/involvement, they definitely foresee themselves staying involved in the company and are generally enthusiastic about it, but also talk about possibilities of finding other work as well to supplement down the line. I understand equity cliffs and vesting in general, but how does this work from an equity perspective if they significantly reduce their contributions? Would that count as dropping out of the vesting timeline (1 year cliff/ 4 year vesting)? Would it just come down to one cofounder saying "you're not contributing anymore, you're out?" What keeps a cofounder from keeping a foot in the door with little contribution?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Future Goes Viral with New gTLD Music Hunt

 DomainInvesting.com: Musician Future sent fans on a music hunt across 149 different domain names to find music “leaked” from Future’s new album. The viral tweet announcing this Internet scavenger hunt of sorts was shared this afternoon on Future’s Twitter feed: https://t.co/kwwYTSQMiX — FUTURE/FREEBANDZ (@1future) May 14, 2020 Whe…
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Mozilla goes full incubator with ‘Fix The Internet’ startup lab and early stage investments

After testing the waters this spring with its incubator-esque MVP Lab, Mozilla is doubling down on the effort with a formal program dangling $ 75,000 investments in front of early stage companies. The focus on “a better society” and the company’s open-source clout should help differentiate it from the other options out there.

Spurred on by the success of a college hackathon using a whole four Apple Watches in February, Mozilla decided to try a more structured program in the spring. The first test batch of companies is underway, having started in April an 8-week program offering $ 2,500 per team member and $ 40,000 in prizes to give away at the end. Developers in a variety of domains were invited to apply, as long as they fit the themes of empowerment, privacy, decentralization, community, and so on.

It drew the interest of some 1,500 people in 520 projects, and 25 were chosen to receive the full package and stipend during the development of their MVP. The rest were invited to an “Open Lab” with access to some of Mozilla’s resources.

One example of what they were looking for is Ameelio, a startup whose members are hoping to render paid video calls in prisons obsolete with a free system, and provide free letter delivery to inmates as well. I wrote about the company here.

“The mission of this incubator is to catalyze a new generation of internet products and services where the people are in control of how the internet is used to shape society,” said Bart Decrem, a Mozilla veteran (think Firefox 1.0) and one of the principals at the Builders Studio. “And where business models should be sustainable and valuable, but do not need to squeeze every last dollar (or ounce of attention) from the user.”

“We think we are tapping into the energy in the student and professional ‘builder communities’ around wanting to work on ideas that matter. That clarion call really resonates,” he said. Not only that, but students with canceled internships are showing up in droves, it seems — mostly computer science, but design and other disciplines as well. There are no restrictions on applicants, like country of origin, previous funding, or anything like that.

The new incubator will be divided into three tiers.

First is the “Startup Studio,” which involves a $ 75,000 investment, “a post-money SAFE for 3.5% of the company when the SAFE converts (or we will participate in an already active funding round),” Decrem clarified.

Below that, as far as pecuniary commitment goes, is the “MVP Lab,” similar to the spring program but offering a total of $ 16,000 per team. And below that is the Open Lab again, but with ten $ 10,000 prizes rather than a top 3.

There are no hard numbers on how many teams will make up the two subsidized tiers, but think 20-30 total as opposed to 50 or 100. Meanwhile, collaboration, cross-pollination, and open source code is encouraged, as you might expect in a Mozilla project. And the social good aspect is strong as well, as a sampling of the companies in the spring batch shows.

Neutral is a browser plugin that shows the carbon footprint of your Amazon purchases, adding some crucial guilt to transactions we forget are powered by footsore humans and gas-guzzling long-distance goods transport. Meething, Cabal, and Oasis are taking on video conferencing, team chat, and social feeds from a decentralized standpoint, using the miracles of modern internet architecture to accomplish with distributed systems what once took centralized servers.

This summer will see the program inaugurated, but it’s only “the beginning of a multiyear effort,” Decrem said.

Startups – TechCrunch

StephenColbert.com expires goes for $633

If you are a television personality on a major network, I think it’s a major mistake not to own your name in .com. Stephen Colbert had done The Colbert Report from 2005 to 2014 and been on CBS with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since September 2015. He does not have the Twitter handle […]

The post StephenColbert.com expires goes for $ 633 appeared first on TheDomains.com.

TheDomains.com

This Week in Apps: WWDC goes online, Android 11 delays, Facebook SDK turns into app kill switch

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $ 120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $ 544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

This week we’re continuing to look at how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting the world of mobile applications, including the latest on countries’ various contact-tracing apps, the pandemic’s impact on gaming and fintech and more. We’re also looking at that big app crash caused by Facebook, plus new app releases from Facebook and Google, Android 11’s new timeline and Apple’s plans to move WWDC online, among other things.

Headlines

WWDC goes virtual June 22

Apple announced this week its plans for a virtual version of its Worldwide Developer Conference. The company will host its WWDC 2020 event beginning on June 22 in the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website for free for all developers.

It will be interesting to see how successfully Apple is able to take its developer conference online. After all, developers could already access the sessions and keynotes through videos — but the real power of the event was in the networking and being able to talk to Apple engineers, ask questions, get hands-on help and see how other developers are using Apple technologies to innovate. Unless Apple is planning a big revamp of its developer site and app that would enable those connections, it seems this year’s event will lack some of WWDC’s magic.

The company also announced the Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for student developers to showcase their coding by creating their own Swift playground.

Startups – TechCrunch

Tech.pro the fourth highest reported .pro goes for a lot less the second time around

 TLDInvestors.com: Taking a look at Friday’s domain name sales action and names that transacted for the second time around. Sometimes it’s as simple as the name expired and it’s not an end user buying but rather a domain investor. Sometimes it is a sale to another end user. Other times the name even though expired is […] The post Tech.pro t…
Domaining.com

PhotoModel.com goes for half of 2011 sale price – NeverTrump.com closes at $2,070

 TLDInvestors.com: Taking a look at some of the action from Thursday, a couple names got a lot less the second time around on a reported transaction. Sometimes it’s as simple as the name expired and it’s not an end user buying but rather a domain investor. Sometimes it is a sale to another end user. PhotoModel.com […] The post PhotoMo…
Domaining.com

.AI domain auction ends with over $100,000 in sales, Think.ai goes for $21,988

 MorganLinton.com: Whois.ai held a domain auction for .AI domain names and, safe to say, there was a lot of interest ending in what is likely the #1 single day of .AI sales in history topping out just north of $ 100,000. The top spot went to Think.ai for $ 21,988 which makes it the 4th highest report .AI […]
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