3 Giants ruling the internet world

If some one asks what are the most common apps used by you, Our immediate response will be Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp. Some might add few other names to the same list as well. But most of the internet world is consumed by these three giants. And the amazing part is, all of them are owned by the single company Facebook.

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Facebook being the oldest among three, it has 1.65 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2016 according to Statista. This app was not built with an intension of gaining such a popularity. It was developed by Mark Zuckerberg along with his college roommates while studying psychology at Harvard University and it went live on 2004. Within a few hours of going live, the site was fully stormed by Harvard, and within a few years, it occupied the entire globe making its founder the youngest billionaire in the world. At later stage, this site got ported into mobile phones. People not only got to know what their friends are doing but also were able to chat any time. Following this, they planned of detaching its messaging feature into a complete separate app, since the primary purpose of the Facebook app is News Feed. They named it as ‘Messenger’ on August 2014. Though people were forced to download this app initially, but then they started admiring it.

Apart from Facebook, Brian Acton and Jan Koum came up with an elegant and simple to use messaging app known as WhatsApp. It was developed by a small team of engineers and reached 1 billion of monthly active users worldwide as of February 2016. One may not come across a smart phone with no WhatsApp in it. This shows the popularity earned by them. Knowing all this, Facebook planned of buying it for $19 billion and successfully bought it on February, 2014. After it has been acquired by Facebook, features such as end-to-end encryption are added to it and we are waiting for some more.This is not the end, Facebook has gobbled up roughly 50 companies since 2005. Out of which WhatsApp, Instagram are the notable ones.

“Facebook is not one thing,”  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told The New York Times in April 2014. As Zuckerberg realised the way in which Facebook is playing the vital role in user’s daily life, he started adding some innovative features in it. Currently they have come up with a new feature known as ‘Facebook Live’ where people are allowed to broadcast their live videos. This feature has been in testing for a few months and celebrities were asked to make some inspiring live videos of them. Love of people started pouring to this innovation as well. As Facebook will never remain stagnant, we are hoping for some more features in the upcoming versions.

Apple urges organ donation

This headline might have raised a few eyebrows out there. Innovative way of pleading user’s to donate their organ will be done by Apple soon. Yes, Apple is going to add this feature in their next update. Health app, which is already pre-installed on every iPhone device will be updated to have a simple button that registers the user for organ donation. This app is already playing an important role among people who cares about keeping themselves fit and healthy. Donate Life America, a nonprofit national donation registry is working with Apple to implement this major update in Health app.

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There are many apps related to organ donation in Android and iPhone, but none can beat this because user need not install it separately. This will be an addition to the app’s popularity. One might think what is the reason behind this major update. It goes back to Steve Jobs illness. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had to wait for long to have his liver transplantation in 2009. Looking at the situation, CEO Tim Cook himself offered to donate part of his own liver, although Jobs refused. Taking all this into consideration, Cook placed this update in its next release.

At present, signing up as a organ donor will be available only to United States based iPhone’s. Hopefully, they may extend it to other countries based on the complications in rules and regulations of organ donation found there. In United States, an average of 22 people die everyday waiting for organ transplantation. This update will definitely help them in finding the donor at the earliest.

Save life..Save Humanity..

Long Live The App

People around the globe are submerged by millions of app being uploaded to app store. People reach out to their smart phones rather than computers to perform their task easily because of its quick accessibility. Nowadays almost everything is possible in such a small gadget. With no apps in it, a smart phone can be called as dead. As the number of people using smartphone increased, the demand for new apps also kept flourishing. This opened the door for thousands of startups who were eager to feed the hungry smartphone users. There are few companies such as Uber, Ola, Netflix who rely completely on their app to market their business. You will be horrified by looking at the app store stats displayed in Pocketgamer.biz. This clearly pictures the importance played by apps in our daily life.

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[Source: Pocketgamer.biz]

Initially mobiles were offering few common apps such as calendar, calculator, e-mail, weather and stock market. But as the demand for apps kept increasing, they started offering the apps that are in current trend. Out of default apps provided by mobile companies, games are said to be the most used app among them. By looking at this, one cannot blindly say that people are into gaming only, there are various other sectors that are extensively used by them as per the stats provided by Statista.

statista.png[Source: Statista]

Exploring the app store will let us know the increasing demand of apps in almost all areas of life. Developers are puzzled on what to develop next. They can find their ideas already available in store with so many similar suggestions. Social apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter will never be out of smartphone although its size keeps increasing in every update. They have spelled a magical addiction on each of its user. But there are few out standing apps which still manages to make space in user’s smartphone memory which is about to play ‘out-of-memory’ warning tone soon. Instagram, Uber, Pokémon Go, Reddit, LinkedIn etc., comes under such category. All this make us realise how we are surrounded by apps everywhere and pretending to live in real world. Even though apps are said to be the most common productivity killer, one might find himself trapped with no one to play around. Thus, Long live the app.

Emojis are also demanding gender equality!

Yes, what you read just now is true. Since humans are tied up to technology these days, along with them the products used by them are also given high priority. This headline describes the extent to which they are prioritised. Till date, we have come across various news regarding people fighting for equality in several norms of life. But this sounds amusing. Even before emojis started screaming for their rights, Google came up with its new proposal. They aimed at promoting gender equality among emoji characters. Google team presented 13 new designs for female emojis at Unicode Consortium. Out of which 11 got approved by Unicode.

People changed their gaze towards keyboards having cute emojis in them rather than settling with plain keyboard. Some keyboards also come with an option to download favourite emoji characters. This shows how emojis have become part of present day communication and how they gained popularity among smartphone users.

As women kept leaping in almost every area of work, the proposal made by Google seems fairer. “No matter where you look, women are gaining visibility and recognition as never before,” the four Google workers wrote in their proposal. At present female emojis are focused mainly in beauty sector.

First lady Michelle Obama tweeted last month saying she would love to see a girl studying emoji. It has been noted in Google’s proposal. Now Google team selected few professions in their new female emoji proposal. List consisted of female farmer, manufacturer, nurse, teacher, chef etc., of different skin tone.

It is said that new set of emojis will be released by the end of this year. Hope this will be a new way of empowering women and respecting the different roles played by them in real life.

Augmented reality – I can see you coming

How do you feel when any super hero or television character you love comes in front of you? Such feeling of euphoria can be achieved by using augmented reality. Now this might sound interesting. We are living in the era where technology can do almost anything. We are surrounded by gadgets everywhere which not only seeks our attention constantly but also made us couch potatoes. They have become our new sensory organs. Very first question people ask when they visit other’s place will be, “Whether any wifi connection is available here?”. This is how humans are tied up to technology. Especially after people became aware of augmented reality and virtual reality products out there, crave to go and get it increased.

Among those two, technology used behind augmented reality interested me. It uses the existing environment and adds some new object to it. Thus, giving us a feeling of better life. Where as in virtual reality, a completely different artificial environment is created and mesmerises the person using it. Although the term “augmented reality” was coined in 1990, many were not familiar with it until it made its entry in mobile application. Such mobile applications typically use GPS (Global Positioning System) to get user’s current location and time information and  create wonders. One can simply point their mobile phones’s camera on the film poster and view the trailer or get some discounts on movie fare. People need not carry any dictionaries or translators along with them because augmented reality does their work easier. You have to focus your mobile’s camera on the text or paragraph which you want to be translated and get the real time response quickly.

translator.png                                                                          [Google Translate]

With augmented reality one can also try tattoos, make-up’s and ornaments on them even before going to the store. If you are planning of buying a new home or refurbishing the older one, then interior related tasks will be handled by augmented reality apps. It lets you place new furnitures and wardrobes in the living room without even leaving the home. This has also brought smile on sky watcher’s face. One can simply gaze their mobile’s camera skyward at night to view any matching constellations and planets and get more information about it. This is not the end. There are lot more apps in android and iOS  App store which you can download and try it out yourself.

Android N : It’s Nougat !

Out of 26 alphabets, Google has already reached halfway!! Yes, it has finally named its newer version of Android beginning with alphabet N. When compared to the name of other Operating Systems, Google names its new born Android version in long established traditional manner. Even though most of the devices are not having Android 6 Marshmallow on it, Google has already come up with Android 7. It opened the floor for us to name its new version beginning with ’N’. Google also  launched a website that will let anyone suggest names and said it will search through them to pick out a final name.

Till date Google has named its Android iterations after sweet treats such as Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow. This made all of us think what will Android 7 be called?  Android N’s codename is apparently New York Cheesecake, so that is out of choice. People came with various suggestions such as Neyyappam, Naan , Nachos, Nori, Noodle pudding, Nutmeg and many more. But they were all unsure whether it will named after dessert or something else.

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In I/O 2016 developer conference, Google did not really go into detail about what the selection process will be like, but made sure that it reserves the right to choose the final name. It is also mentioned in their name submission guideline. As rumours started flying by, most of us thought next version of Android could be named after another brand of confectionery named Nutella. Breaking all this dilemma, Google finally came with an official word called Android “Nougat”. It was revealed at a ceremony at the Googleplex in which an Android robot on top of a nougat bar was unveiled.

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This name might sound new for few of us. Wikipedia explained it in simple term as “Nougat is a family of confections made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are common), whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped, candied fruit. The consistency of nougat is chewy, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and chocolates”.

As with all other versions, Android Nougat also promises us to give delicious treat and features. According to developer previews, changes have been made in Notifications, Toggle actions, Emoji settings, Launcher shortcuts, Multi-Locale Mode, Dark Theme, Night Mode, Keyboard themes, Multitasking, New folder icons, Camera changes and so on. Although, developer previews quite often contain features that won’t make it to the final release but there is still plenty to get excited about. Now it is our turn to look forward for a heavy treat.

Apple Shortens App Review Time

Being iOS developer, the above head line made my day. Waiting for weeks to get my app reviewed used to put developers like me in discomfort zone. By shortening the app review time, Apple has made a major change in its app approval policy.The mean approval time has fallen from 8.8 days a year ago to 2 days in iOS App Store. Similar changes have been made to Mac App store by changing average approval time to 1 day as per AppReviewTimes.com.

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“Apple is becoming a lot more developer-friendly. It’s becoming a lot more open in its approach to building an ecosystem,” said Button founder Maddern in Bloomberg. Since developers schedule at least a week for app release process, now this has been reduced to greater extent. This in turn, speeds up development cycle. As we know, technology around us keeps changing in a rapid pace, it is our duty to cope with it. Reducing review time made it easier by making changes in app regularly as market keeps changing.

This change can not only increase iPhone sale but also compete with its rival Google which immediately publish their mobile applications without a lengthy review process. Now customers need not wait for long to get bugs fixed in their favourite apps which results in retaining loyal customers.

Happy developer! Happy Customer!

Pokémon Go Buzz

I am one amongst them who do not involve much in the virtual world out of fear of addiction. I only get into gaming world when there is nothing important left to do in real life. Out of various games I played, I am very much attracted towards mysterious ones where we need to find objects or suspected personality for our survival in it. Other than that, only game which interested me is Candy Crush Saga where user keeps crushing delicious candies in order to gain more points and move to next levels. This game has not only attracted hard core gamers but also casual players like me. During spare time, we can find people in offices, malls, parks etc., with their fingers and eyes dancing on the mobile screen as they are the world’s best dance pair. This is how people are involved into gaming. The King.com, brain behind this game has submerged in tons of money and appreciations for this game’s success.  According to Bloomberg, King reached 150.4 million monthly users on Facebook although people are not happy to see their Facebook notifications filled with candy crush requests every time.

We are in the era where game has become a part of life to relieve stress. Taking this into account, developers are aiming at more and more games where they can involve people completely in it. One such giant is Niantic,Inc. It is best known for augmented reality mobile games. Recently they came up with a “Pokémon Go” which not only strained the server from higher demand upon its release but also topped the American App Store’s “Top Grossing” and “Free” charts. The average daily usage of this app in Android device exceeded famous apps such as Snapchat, Tinder, Instagram, and Facebook  by July 12, 2016. This is how “Pokémon Go”  made buzz all over internet and hooked smartphone owners to it.

Pokémon Go is available for free on both play store and app store. Hence this added to its popularity. It makes use of GPS and the camera of devices to make Pokémon appear around you.  As you keep playing, you will find Pokémon wherever you go based on your current location and time. It allows player to capture, battle, and train Pokémon as soon as it is discovered. This game makes all Pokémon fans to feel as though Pokémon is really roaming around them at all times. Maps provided in this game marks PokéStops, which are the real locations near by where you can snatch Poké Ball and other game items by going there physically. Pokémon Go Plus is an optional wearable device which starts vibrating when there’s a Pokémon nearby. Throw a Poké Ball on it and increase your level. This game also supports in-app purchases of gaming items.

Even though, it is the most downloaded mobile app in the United States in its first three days of release, it generated safety concerns. Players are often reminded to “look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street” by Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services  on its launch day. This shows how this game is absorbing players into Pokémon world. Though I am not a hardcore player, I am wondering how successfully Pokémon engraved into my brain because of its popularity. If you prioritise leisure more than anything, then Pokémon Go is made for you!