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This Week in Apps: Parler deplatformed, alt apps rise, looking back at 2020 trends

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 is as hot as ever, 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 …

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These 6 browser extensions will protect your privacy online

The internet is not a private place. Ads try to learn as much about you to sell your information to the highest bidder. Emails know when you open them and which links you click. And some of the biggest internet snoops, like Facebook and Amazon, follow you from site to site as you browse the web.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. We’ve tried and tested six browser extensions that will immediately improve your privacy online by blocking most of the invisible ads and trackers.
These extensions won’t block every kind of snooping, but they …

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The deplatforming of a president

After years of placid admonishments, the tech world came out in force against President Trump this past week following the violent assault of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. From Twitter to PayPal, more than a dozen companies have placed unprecedented restrictions or outright banned the current occupant of the White House from using their services, and in some cases, some of his associates and supporters as well.
The news was voluminous and continuous for the past few days, so here’s a recap of who took action when, and what might happen next.
Twitter: …

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This Week in Apps: Social apps react to riots, Parler gets booted, FTC threatens regulation

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 is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in global consumer spend in 2019. Consumer spend also hit a record $112 billion across iOS and Android alone.
Not including third-party Chinese app stores, iOS and Android users downloaded 130 billion apps in 2020. Due to COVID-19, time spent in apps jumped 25% year-over-year on Android.
Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, …

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Parler removed from Google Play store as Apple App Store suspension reportedly looms

Shortly after Twitter announced Friday afternoon that they were permanently suspending the account of President Trump, Google shared that they were removing Parler, a conservative social media app, from their Play Store immediately, saying in a statement that they were suspending the app until the developers committed to a moderation and enforcement policy that could handle objectionable content on the platform.
In a statement to TechCrunch, a Google spokesperson said:
“In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that …

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Google AI concocts ‘breakie’ and ‘cakie’ hybrid baked goods

If, as I suspect many of you have, you have worked your way through baking every type of cookie, bread and cake under the sun over the last year, Google has a surprise for you: a pair of AI-generated hybrid treats, the “breakie” and the “cakie.”
The origin of these new items seems to have been in a demonstration of the company’s AutoML Tables tool, a codeless model generation system that’s more spreadsheet automation than what you’d really call “artificial intelligence.” But let’s not split hairs, or else we’ll never get to the recipe.
Specifically …

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Google to add App Store privacy labels to its iOS apps as soon as this week

Contrary to reports, Google is not delaying updates to its iOS apps because it doesn’t want to comply with Apple’s recently announced App Store Privacy Labels policy. The new policy, a part of the company’s larger privacy push, requires developers to disclose how data is collected from App Store users and used to track them. TechCrunch confirmed Google is not taking a stand against the labels. It is, in fact, preparing to roll out privacy labels across its sizable iOS app catalog as soon as this week or the next.
TechCrunch looked into the situation with Google’ …

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Daily Crunch: Hundreds of Google and Alphabet employees unionize

Google employees take another step in their activism, Venmo adds a check-cashing feature and Slack has some issues. This is your Daily Crunch for January 4, 2021.
The big story: Hundreds of Google and Alphabet employees unionize
More than 200 employees at Google and its parent company Alphabet have announced that they have formed the Alphabet Workers Union.
Obviously, that’s only a tiny fraction of Alphabet’s workforce of more than 130,000 employees. But according to The New York Times, the group is a “minority union” designed to give more structure to employee activism, rather than one that negotiates for a contract. And …

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Google, Alphabet employees seek to form a union

A group of more than 200 Google and Alphabet workers have announced their efforts to form a union. With the help of Communication Workers of America Union’s Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA), the Alphabet Workers Union seeks to be open to both employees and contractors.
Of the roughly 227 workers who have so far signed on to support the union, they have all committed to set aside 1% of the yearly compensation to go toward union dues. The bulk of the workers who have signed on are mostly based in offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and one in Cambridge.
“ …

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This Week in Apps: Apple bans party app, China loses 39K iOS games, TikTok births a ‘Ratatousical’

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 is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion total downloads and $120 billion in global consumer spend in 2019. Not including Chinese third-party app stores, iOS and Android users in 2020 downloaded 130 billion apps and spent a record $112 billion. In 2019, people spent three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV.
Due to COVID-19, time spent in apps jumped 25% year-over-year on Android. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — …

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