Author: Sarah Perez

Collections is a better way to organize those photos you snap as mental notes

TECHCRUNCH Wi-Fi password sticker on your router? Snap. Cute sweater in a store’s window display? Snap. Party invitation? Snap. Cool gift idea for mom? Snap. If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you probably also use your iPhone’s camera to take photos of the things you want to remember – maybe even more often than you use Notes to write things down. If your mental notes are more visual in nature, then you may want give the new app Collections a go instead of relying only on your Camera Roll. I know, I know…isn’t visual bookmarking already handled by Pinterest? Well, okay, sure. You can go that route. But using Pinterest feels heavy. There’s a vast collection of images to explore and search. A Home feed of new stuff to look at. (Why, Pinterest, are you showing me spider tattoos? Why?). People to follow. A feed of notifications to check in on. (Where I get to write back to people things like, “hi, you’re messaging the wrong Sarah Perez. I don’t know you.” Ugh, too often. Stupid common name.) Collections is just a little app for you to use. It’s not overwrought. Its simple interface just helps you to better organize those photos you’ve snapped for inspiration, ideas, mental notes, or whatever else you may need to refer back to – like clothes you like, restaurants you passed...

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Yahoo shuts down social savings app Tanda only months after launch

TECHCRUNCH Well, that didn’t take long. Yahoo Finance’s new social savings app Tanda, which launched just this January, is already shutting down. The company announced the news of the app’s closure via a blog post, which vaguely hinted at a lack of traction. That appears to be true – the app isn’t even in the top 1,500 in the Finance category on the App Store, according to Sensor Tower’s data. It had been installed around 37,000 times to date across both iOS and Android. Still, tens of thousands in the first few months isn’t an entirely horrible showing for app that received almost no attention, marketing effort or media outreach. (We happened upon it practically by accident – not because Yahoo reached out to press. Yes, even though Yahoo is owned by Oath which also owns us, there wasn’t any internal heads-up. Or even any external pitching. In case you’re wondering!) The app had allowed people to save money together for short-term goals using the concept of a “money pool” where a group of friends pay a fixed amount to the saving pot monthly, and every month someone takes the pot home. You didn’t “win” this pot, you took turns claiming it. In the end, it was just another way to save money, but the social element helped you stay on track. Money pools are popular outside the U.S.,...

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Gravy’s new mobile game show is ‘Price is Right’ mixed with QVC

TECHCRUNCH Following the success of the live mobile game show HQ Trivia, a team of serial entrepreneurs have begun testing the market to see if another game show concept can work, too. Their new game show-inspired app, Gravy, is meant to be a riff on the “Price is Right” combined with a QVC-style shopping experience. That is, the “contestants” compete for discounts of 30 to 70 percent off the products advertised, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. In addition, through a side game, users can guess when the product – whose quantities are unknown – will...

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Google’s Duo and Cisco’s Webex Teams among the VoIP apps pulled from the China App Store

TECHCRUNCH Earlier this week, it came to light that Apple had removed a number of VoIP-based calling apps from the App Store, at the request of the Chinese government. The apps had been using CallKit, Apple’s new developer toolset that provides the calling interface for VoIP apps, freeing up developers to handle the backend communications. China’s government asked developers, by way of Apple, to remove CallKit from their apps sold on the China App Store, or they can remove their apps entirely. Notices Apple sent out to the developers were first spotted by 9to5Mac, who shared a snippet from...

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Hitlist’s new premium service puts a travel agent in your pocket

TECHCRUNCH Hitlist, a several-years old app for finding cheap flights has begun rolling out a subscription tier that will turn it into something more akin to your own mobile travel agent. While the core app experience which monitor airlines for flight deals will continue to be free, the new premium upgrade will unlock a handful of other useful features, including advanced filtering, exclusive members-only fares, and even custom travel advice from the Hitlist team. The idea, says founder and CEO Gillian Morris, goes back to the original idea that inspired her to create Hitlist in the first place. “Going back to the very beginning, Hitlist was essentially me giving travel advice to friends,” she says. “People had the time, inclination, and money to travel, but didn’t book because they got lost in the search process. When I sent custom advice, like ‘you said you wanted to go to Istanbul, there are $500 direct round trips in May available right now, that’s a good price and the weather will be good and the tulip festival, this unique cultural experience, will be happening’ – 4 out of 5 people would book,” Morris explains. “I wouldn’t be able to scale that level of advice at the beginning, so we focused on just the flight deals. But now we have four years’ worth of data that we can learn from – browsing and...

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Microsoft’s Twitch rival Mixer gets a revamp, including new developer tools for interactive gameplay

TECHCRUNCH Microsoft is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its game streaming service and Twitch competitor, Mixer, with a host of new features, including a refresh of the user experience and the launch of an expanded developer toolkit called MixPlay. The new streamer tools will roll out along with the revamped version of Mixer .com across desktop and mobile web, and will initially be available to Mixer Pro subscribers. The company claims the service saw more than 10 million monthly active users in December 2017 – a figure, we should point out, may be higher because of holiday sales and the accompanying bump in game downloads and playtime seen across platforms. However, Microsoft also says that the Mixer viewing audience has grown over four times since its launch, and the number of watched streams has grown more than five times. These are still not hard numbers, but third-party reports have put Mixer well behind Twitch’s sizable and still-growing lead in terms of both concurrent streamers and viewers. (Those reports aren’t 100% accurate either, though, because they can’t track Xbox viewership.) Microsoft says the updated Mixer.com rolls out beginning today, with a focus on making it easier for viewers to find the games and streamers they want to watch, as well as those broadcasting in creative communities. While Pro subscribers will gain access first, they’ll have to opt-in by visiting their Account Settings...

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Amazon Music’s app adds hands-free listening, courtesy of Alexa

TECHCRUNCH In September, Amazon announced it was adding support for Alexa voice control to its Amazon Music app for iOS and Android. However, it was implemented as a tap-to-talk function – something that didn’t quite mesh with the hands-free voice control experience Alexa is known for. Today, Amazon is addressing that problem by rolling out hands-free listening to the Amazon Music app instead, as a result of user feedback. That means customers can command Alexa to do things like play or pause music, move back and forth between songs, and create playlists by asking, as well as take advantage...

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Facebook is asking users worldwide to review their privacy settings

TECHCRUNCH Starting this week, Facebook will begin asking users worldwide to review their privacy settings with a prompt that appears within the Facebook app. The experience will ask you to review how Facebook uses your personal data across a range of products, from ad targeting to facial recognition. This request to review Facebook’s updated terms and your settings follows a similar experience rolled out to users in the European Union as a result of the new user data privacy regulation, GDPR. However, EU users have to agree to the new terms of service in order to continue using Facebook, Recode point out,...

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