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This Week in Apps: Protests impact app stores, FTC fines app developer, kids app trends

Welcome back to This Week inApps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.
The app industry is as hot as ever, witha record204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are nowspendingthree hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps arent just a way to pass idle hours theyre a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had acombined$544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.
In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.
This week, were taking a look at how the civil unrest and George Floyd protests played out across the app stores. The events led some apps including private messaging apps, police scanners and alerting apps, and other social communication apps to surge, and even break records. Google decided to delay the launch of Android 11 beta 1 in light of the recent events.
Were also keeping up with COVID-19 apps and how the pandemic is changing app usage and consumer behavior. Plus, the FTC fined an app developer over privacy violations in a warning shot for the app industry; Zoom faced criticism for its encryption plans; Apple launched an open-source resource for password managers; and more.

How the George Floyd protests impacted the app stores


Protests drive downloads of police scanners
Downloads of police scanner apps, tools for private communication and mobile safety apps hit record numbers last weekend in the U.S., amid the nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd, as well as the systemic problems of racial prejudice that plague the American justice system. According to data from app store intelligence firm Apptopia, top U.S. police scanner apps were downloaded a combined 213,000 times last weekend, including Friday a 125% increase from the weekend prior and a record number for this group of apps.
The group of top apps included those with similar, if somewhat generic, titles, such as Scanner Radio Fire and Police Scanner, Police Scanner, 5-0 Radio Police Scanner, Police Scanner Radio & Fire and Police Scanner +.
Citizen, Signal and others spike during protests
In addition to tracking police movements with scanners, protestors organized and communicated on secure messaging app Signal. Meanwhile, community safety app Citizen, which sends out police alerts, also saw a jump in usage.
According to Apptopia, Citizen and Signal both set daily download records, Vox noted earlier this week.
Citizen
Citizens app lets users see incidents, based on radio communications with 911 dispatchers, police, fire departments and other emergency responders. The app uses high-powered scanners to tune into public radio channels, then digitizes and transcribes the audio, and turns those into incidents placed on the map. But the app is popular because its more than a police scanner; it includes a social networking layer where users can react and comment.
Based on more recent data provided to TechCrunch by Sensor Tower, Citizen was installed around 620,000 times by first-time users in the U.S. during the past week, an increase of about 916% compared to the week prior. First-time installs reached a record 150,000 on June 2, nearly 12x the apps average of 13,000 daily first-time installs during May. On average, the app was downloaded close to 86,000 times per day, or 6.6x larger than Mays daily average. The app grew to be as high as No. 4 on Tuesday, June 2 on the U.S. App Store, and is now No. 32 Overall on the top free charts.
Signal
This Week in Apps: Protests impact app stores, FTC fines app developer, kids app trends
Image Credits: Signal
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