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AI-powered Jerry raises $28M to help you save money on car insurance

When Art Agrawal was growing up in India, a car ride was a rare treat, and car ownership was a dream. When he moved to the U.S. and bought his first car, he was shocked by how much it cost and how difficult it was to maintain a car.
In 2012, he co-founded a company called YourMechanic (and won TechCrunch’s Disrupt that year) that provides on-demand automotive mobile maintenance and repair services. Over the years, the challenge of helping consumers more easily find car insurance was in the back of his mind. So in 2017, he teamed up with Lina …

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Clubhouse to expand Android app worldwide in a week

Voice social network Clubhouse said on Sunday it will expand its Android app worldwide in a week, days after launching a beta version of its service on Google-owned mobile operating system for users in the U.S.
The startup, valued at about $4 billion, said it will roll out the Android app to Japan, Brazil, and Russia on Tuesday; Nigeria and India three days later, and rest of the world by Friday afternoon.
Clubhouse originally launched as an iPhone-only app last year. The app quickly gained popularity last year, attracting several high-profile celebrities, politicians, investors and entrepreneurs.
The startup began developing …

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This Week in Apps: Apple talks App Store fraud, responds to antitrust complaints; Facebook growth is slipping

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Apps aren’t just a …

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Amazon launches free video streaming service in India

Amazon has long maintained that its video streaming service, Prime Video, helps drive more sales on the shopping app. Now the e-commerce giant is testing what happens when it brings a video streaming service directly to the shopping app.
The e-commerce giant on Saturday launched MiniTV, an ad-supported video streaming service that is “completely free” within the Amazon India app. MiniTV is currently available only to users in India, Amazon said.
MiniTV features web-series, comedy shows, and content around tech news, food, beauty, fashion “to begin with,” Amazon said. Some of the titles currently available have been produced by TVF …

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Instagram adds a dedicated spot for your pronouns

Seeing someone mention their pronouns in their Instagram bio has become commonplace — so much so that the app now has a dedicated location where users can put pronouns without taking up that valuable profile space.
The company announced the new feature on Twitter, saying that it is only available in a few countries just now, but will be arriving in more soon. I was able to make it work here in the U.S. in version 187 of the iOS app.
To set your pronoun, just go to your profile page, hit “Edit Profile,” then look in the list of items …

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Serial fiction app Radish acquired by Kakao Entertainment for $440M

Serialized fiction app Radish will be acquired by Kakao Entertainment in a transaction valued at $440 million. Kakao Entertainment is owned by Kakao, the South Korean internet giant whose services include its eponymous messaging platform. Radish founder Seungyoon Lee will hold onto his role as its chief executive officer, while also becoming Kakao Entertainment’s global strategy officer to lead its growth in international markets.
Radish claims millions of users in North America, and the acquisition will help Kakao Entertainment expand its own webtoons and web novel business there, and in other English-speaking markets. Radish will retain management autonomy and continue …

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Clubhouse finally launches its Android app

Clubhouse finally has an Android app that you can download from the Play Store — provided you live in the U.S.
The voice-based social network launched its beta Android app on Play Store for users in the U.S. on Sunday, and said it will gradually make the new app available in other English-speaking countries and then the rest of the world.
The social network, valued at about $4 billion in its most recent fundraise, launched as an iPhone-only app last year. The app quickly gained popularity last year, attracting several high-profile celebrities, politicians, investors, and entrepreneurs.
Clubhouse began developing the …

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This Week in Apps: App Store advertising expands, Google Play plans for safety, Epic v. Apple trial begins

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Apps aren’t just a …

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Extra Crunch roundup: How Duolingo became an edtech leader

The pandemic has just pushed edtech mainstream, but language-learning startup Duolingo had already spent the past decade figuring out how to build a successful edtech app.
In our latest installment of the EC-1 series, Natasha Mascarenhas goes deep with the company to understand how it found product-market fit, then figured out how to grow like a consumer tech startup and monetize like a SaaS startup. After a record 2020, the Pittsburgh-based company also opened up about its plans for the future, including a focus on speaking a new language (in addition to listening, reading and writing).
Here’s more from Natasha …

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WhatsApp is doing fine despite months-long backlash over policy update

It’s safe to say WhatsApp didn’t have the ideal start to 2021. Less than a week into the new year, the Facebook-owned instant messaging app had already annoyed hundreds of thousands of users with its scary worded notification about a planned policy update. The backlash grew fast and millions of people, including several high-profile figures, started to explore rival apps Signal and Telegram.
Even governments, including India’s — WhatsApp’s biggest market by users — expressed concerns. (In the case of India, also an antitrust probe.) The backlash prompted WhatsApp to offer a series of clarifications and assurances to users, …

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