“Google pulls ‘Remove China Apps’ from Play Store - TechCrunch” plus 1 more

“Google pulls ‘Remove China Apps’ from Play Store - TechCrunch” plus 1 more


Google pulls ‘Remove China Apps’ from Play Store - TechCrunch

Posted: 02 Jun 2020 06:19 PM PDT

Remove China Apps, an app that gained popularity in India in recent weeks and did exactly what its name suggests, has been pulled from the Play Store.

The top trending app in India, which was downloaded more than 5 million times since late May and enabled users to detect and easily delete apps developed by Chinese firms, was pulled from Android's marquee app store for violating Google Play Store's Deceptive Behavior Policy, TechCrunch has learned.

Under this policy an app on Google Play Store cannot make changes to a user's device settings, or features outside of the app, without the user's knowledge and consent, and it cannot encourage or incentivize users into removing or disabling third-party apps.

The app, developed by Indian firm OneTouch AppLabs, gained popularity in India in part because of a growing anti-China sentiment among many citizens as tension between the world's two most populous nations has escalated in recent days over a Himalayan border dispute.

Several Indian celebrities in recent days have backed the idea of deleting Chinese apps. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev tweeted a video over the weekend that showed him deleting several apps that had affiliation with China.

Responding to a tweet from an Indian actor deleting TikTok from his phone, Nupur Sharma, a spokeswoman for India's ruling party BJP, said it was "great to see concerned citizens setting an example" and "we ought to hit them where it hurts most."

Citing an industry source, Chinese state-run Global Times news outlet reported on Tuesday that if the Indian government allows the "irrational anti-China sentiment" to continue, it risks ruining bilateral relations that is "likely to draw tit-for-tat punishment from Beijing."

The report added that some users in China ridiculed Remove China Apps and urged Indians to "throw away" their smartphones, referring to Chinese smartphone makers' dominance in India's smartphone market.

If the sentiment from India persists, it could mean bad news for several Chinese firms such as ByteDance and UC Browser that count India as their biggest overseas market. TikTok, which weeks ago was grappling with content moderation efforts in India, sparked a new debate over the weekend after a popular creator claimed that a video she posted on TikTok was pulled by the Chinese firm.

The video was critical of the Chinese government, she said. In a statement to TechCrunch, a TikTok spokesperson said the platform welcomes diversity of users and viewpoints and said it had implemented a more rigorous review process and reinstated the video.

In April, India amended its foreign direct investment policy to enforce tougher scrutiny on Chinese investors looking to cut checks to firms in the world's second largest internet market. New Delhi, which maintains a similar stand for investors from several other neighboring nations, said the measure was introduced to "curb the opportunistic takeover" of Indian firms going through distress because of the global pandemic.

India's Prime Minister Modi has also aggressively promoted the idea of boycotting goods made by foreign firms and advised the nation's 1.3 billion citizens to look for local alternatives as part of his push to make India "self-reliant" and revive the slowing economy.

Amit Shah, India's home minister and one of the closest confidants of Modi, said earlier this week that the nation's 1.3 billion citizens are its strength and if they "decide not to buy foreign goods, India's economy will see a jump."

‘Disney Plus’ was Google’s top US trending search term in 2019 - TechCrunch

Posted: 11 Dec 2019 01:31 PM PST

Google today released its annual "Year in Search" data that takes a look back at some of the most notable searches of 2019. Specifically, Google looked at the biggest trends — meaning, search terms that saw the largest spikes in traffic over a sustained period in 2019 compared to 2018. In the U.S., Disney's new streaming service "Disney Plus" was the biggest search trend of 2019, followed by Cameron Boyce, Nipsey Hussle, Hurricane Dorian, Antonio Brown, Luke Perry, Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones, iPhone 11 and Jussie Smollet.

"Game of Thrones" was also the biggest U.S. TV show search trend of the year, followed by Netflix's "Stranger Things" and "When They See Us," then HBO's "Chernobyl" and Disney Plus's "The Mandalorian."

On the global stage, Apple's iPhone 11 was the fifth biggest trend of the year, one ahead of Game of Thrones (No. 6), but behind searches for "India vs South Africa," which ranked No. 1. The rest of the list included (in order): Cameron Boyce (No. 2), Copa America (No. 3), Bangladesh vs India (No. 4), Avengers: Endgame (No. 7), Joker (No. 8), Notre Dame (No. 9) and ICC Cricket World Cup (No. 10).

Tech companies' influence on Google's Top Trends could also be found in the music category, where "Old Town Road" was the top trending Song globally and in the U.S. in 2019. The Lil Nas X hit song went viral on TikTok this year after the rapper himself uploaded it to the platform back in December 2018.

In addition to topping Google's list, Lil Nas X was also the No. 1 artist on TikTok, according to its own year-end round-up.

Elsewhere, online and tech-influenced trends could be found under the "What is…?" category in Google's top U.S. search trends. For example, the meme "Storm Area 51," which grew out of a viral Facebook joke that turned into a real-world event, led many this year to search "What is Area 51?"

No. 2 was "What is a VSCO girl?" referring to the latest teen trend and meme whose name comes from the hipper-than-Instagram photo-editing app, VSCO. The VSCO girl dresses in oversized tees, Birkenstocks, wears her hair in a messy bun and adorns herself with accessories like scrunchies, Burt's Bees lip balm, puka shell chokers and carries around a Hydro Flask water bottle.

Also on the "What is…?" list were "momo," as in the "Momo Challenge," (an artistic sculpture turned viral hoax) and "What is a boomer?," referencing the latest teen insult for old people, "OK boomer." The latter also became a huge TikTok meme.

Various online cultures influenced Google's top U.S. outfit trends, too, including the No. 1 outfit idea of Egirl, a popular demographic found on TikTok that's a sort of emo subculture (or perhaps an emo-anime-goth variation), followed by Eboy, Soft girl (another TikTok subculture, this time with a hyper-cute aesthetic) and finally Biker shorts and VSCO girl. (If you don't know which one you are, don't worry — there's a BuzzFeed quiz for that, of course.)

Google's top trends are mainly a reflection of pop culture for the year. Google did take a longer look back this year with its "Decade in Search" retrospective, where it highlights the music, movies and people who influenced culture over the past 10 years.

The company put together a busy visualization of the decade in music through Year in Search, for example.

Made with Flourish

It also points to some of the people who trended over the course of the decade, including Justin Bieber, Betty White, Lebron James, as well as long-lasting TV and movie trends, including "Toy Story," "Iron Man" and "The Walking Dead."

The full list of Google's Global Top Trends, which can be filtered by country, is here.

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