TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & YouTube in downloads last month

TechCrunch reported that TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & YouTube in downloads last month.

According to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, TikTok’s installs were higher than those of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube in the U.S. last month.

It surpassed the four other apps in terms of daily downloads on September 29, with 29.7 percent the downloads from this cohort of apps, the firm says.

It’s unsurprising given it’s meteoric rise in China early this year. It is an addictive platform that does very well to maximise user interaction while minimising effort needed to generate content.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Is Calling for Bloomberg to Retract Its Chinese Spy Chip Story

John Gruber wrote on Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling for Bloomberg to retract its Chinese spy chip story.

Read their statement closely — they’re not saying their story is true or that Apple and Tim Cook are wrong. All they say is they spent a year on the story and spoke to 17 sources multiple times.

And the bottom half of BuzzFeed’s story is even more damning than the top — no one in the security community has been able to verify anything in Bloomberg’s story. Anything at all. And no other news publication has backed the story. Bloomberg is all alone on this.

This is going to be a huge blow to Bloomberg’s credibility.

Google can no longer force Android device makers to include the Play Store in Europe

The Verge reported that Google will start charging Android device makers a fee for using its apps in Europe.

There is one other key change happening here. In the past, Google required that companies building phones or tablets that included the Play Store only build phones and tablets that included the Play Store — they couldn’t make other devices with a forked version of Android. Now, that’ll be allowed. So if Samsung wants to ship both the regular Galaxy S9 with Google’s Play Store and some whackadoo Galaxy phone that runs, say, Amazon’s Fire OS, it can now do that in Europe.

This is the real reason for charging Android device makers licensing fees for using Play Store and Google apps.

JD.com launches express delivery service with WeChat mini-program

TechNode reported that JD.com launches express delivery service with WeChat mini-program.

The e-commerce platform’s logistics subsidiary has offered supply chain and logistics services for retailers since launching in 2017. However, the latest news marks the company’s first foray into the field of express delivery in China. The service is currently available for individual customers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, although the company plans to eventually expand across the country.

A WeChat mini-program named “JD Express” (京东快递) currently offers mostly standard options for shipping packages, with a couple exceptions.

I’ve been using this service for a while. Usually I just get the JD delivery guy to ship items when he drops off my purchases. It’s not publicised much. I got to know about it only because the delivery guy mentioned it during one of our chats. JD delivery guys are very friendly and go the extra mile to provide a great service experience, so the guys servicing my area have become acquaintances.

Alipay transaction volume over Golden Week holiday more than doubles from last year

TechNode reported that Alipay transaction volume over Golden Week holiday more than doubles from last year.

Alipay, the payment arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has released new statistics about this year’s Chinese National Day Golden Week (黄金周, the week-long public holiday from October 1 to 7). As expected, mobile payment saw heightened traction during the holiday. In a press release, Alipay claimed that its platform processed 2.2 times as many in-store transactions overseas over the past week compared to last year.

Overseas spending through the Alipay app also grew significantly with Asia continuing at the top spending destinations for Alipay users. Hong Kong retained its top spot from last year’s ranking and Thailand also retained its position as second favorite spending destination, company data shows. Japan rose to become the third most popular destination in terms of transaction volume.

The increase is also partly due to more vendors accepting AliPay overseas. Regardless, it’s still an impressive figure. The preference for Chinese tourists to pay digitally is pushing more overseas vendors to adopt Alipay and WeChat Pay. This helps the two services to expand internationally.

Sorry Apple, your “most advanced” features are already commonplace in China

Gang Lu wrote that Apple’s “most advanced” features are already commonplace in China.

The title is a perfect clickbait. After he goes on about how he has been a loyal Apple fan, he then laid into Apple for the disappointing new iPhone.

Those who praise iPhones’ borderless screens, they should take a look at Find X; those who claim iOS is the only smooth operating system, they should at least try MIUI; those who commend the big screen of iPhone Xs Max may have not heard of Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, all which have bigger screens. Those who compliment iPhone’s dual-camera system may not know that Huawei’s P20 Pro already supports tri-camera.

The whole point of having an iPhone is the joy that the whole package brings. So it’s rather pointless to look at each of the individual feature and say Apple wasn’t first. It was never about being first, although Apple managed to be the industry mover in certain aspects. The whole Apple DNA is about producing the best user experience, be it through refining or rethinking existing solutions and technology, or by creating something truly new and unique.

I use MIUI on and off. I hate the keyboard. Don’t tell me there are third party solutions. The OS itself should be solving this issue. Not sure why there’s a need for a sweeping statement that iOS is the only smooth OS. Unnecessary over-exaggeration.

Why are there people applauding a large screen iPhone but scoffs at large screen Android phones? These are the people who appreciate the attention to detail and the effort it took to produce a phone that is truly a great experience to use.

What’s the use of having three cameras on a phone? Dual camera systems are useful because they give the user the choice of shooting wide or telephoto. They also helps the software to gather data in order to produce mask the scene and blur our the background with software rendered bokeh.

Why are some manufacturers jumping on three, four or even five cameras on the phone? Does more cameras mean better photos? Or does it mean that they are trying to make up for their less advanced software by gathering more data to compute with?

Those who are stunned at a dual-sim card may not understand dual-sim card has been extremely normal in China for years and it’s totally a Shenzhen-developed tech.

I don’t think people are stunned by a dual-sim offer. Most of the people I know aren’t. What they are pushing for is a SIM card and eSIM combination. Unfortunately, due to regulatory issues eSIM isn’t available in China, hence they are only able to offer dual-sim.

It’s not an innovative feature. Rather, it is hard work getting the various telcos from different countries on board with providing eSIM on the iPhone.

I don’t understand why Apple is so proud of building the biggest iPhone of all time. Why don’t they mention the aspect ratio? Furthermore, I can’t figure out why emphasizing the battery of the new iPhones can last 30 more minutes than iPhone X. Why not tell if new iPhones support the quick charge function?

Perhaps something is lost in translation. The article was translated from Chinese. And also perhaps he didn’t quite understand how Apple’s marketing is expressed.

Apple isn’t proud of building the biggest iPhone to date. Not the biggest iPhone of all time, Jiefei. But rather, they are stating that this is the iPhone with the largest screen they’ve ever made. They are presenting the product that they are proud of and highlighting a feature. Not big screen pride.

Not quite sure what’s the issue about the aspect ratio, but emphasis on the battery life is a nod to the hard work done by the engineers to improve on the technology, both hardware and software. You get faster processing and yet still increase the battery life despite the greater power drain.

What would be the point of saying if the iPhone supports quick charge? If the battery life can last through the day, why would quick charge be a necessity? Fast charging wears the battery faster. If an average user can get through the day with a single charge, why would they need fast charging? Just plug the phone before you go to bed and you’ll be ready to go the next day.

I understand it’s a rant by an Apple fan frustrated at the lack of shiny in the new iPhone when compared to other phones. My take is to appreciate how the whole package comes together and appreciate the shiny new iPhone.

Ant Financial rolls out China’s first blockchain-powered electronic medical prescription service

TechNode reported that Ant Financial has rolled out China’s first blockchain-powered electronic medical prescription service.

Ant Financial and Huashan Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated to Fudan University in Shanghai, have launched what is said to be the first blockchain-powered electronic medical prescription service in China, local media is reporting (in Chinese).

The new medical prescription platform, which can be accessed via the Huashan Hospital mini program in the Alipay app, keeps track of all records incurred the prescription process–from filing the prescription, dispensing the medication to delivering the medication to the patient’s hands–using blockchain technology. All records and information are traceable and cannot be tampered with.

The Huashan Hospital is the first hospital in the country to integrate this service. As of now, the new blockchain prescription service is only adopted by the department of endocrinology, however, if successful, it will be adopted hospital-wide, according to Zhang Qi, the deputy director of the IT department of the hospital.

Interesting use of blockchain.

Market cap of Pinduoduo surpasses NetEase

TechNode reported that the market cap of Pinduoduo surpassed NetEase.

Shares of Chinese newly listed e-commerce platform Pinduoduo have jumped more than 40 percent in the last three days. The market value of the company reached $33.2 billion, more than that of NetEase. The net worth of Huang Zheng, founder and CEO of the company, jumped to $15.5 billion, surpassing that of Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun and NetEase CEO Ding Lei.

Pinduoduo is the fastest growing company in terms of revenue. The company also is also growing its active users rapidly. It gained 100 million monthly active users within less than month early this year.

Google tracks your movements even if you don’t allow it to

Associated Press reported that Google tracks your movements even if you turn of location services.

An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.

What’s the point of having an option to turn it off if the app continues logging the location?

The privacy issue affects some two billion users of devices that run Google’s Android operating software and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search.

Do you use Google Maps? Time to reconsider if you value your privacy.

What’s stored in your school’s Google Drive account

Missouri Education Watchdog reported that what Google Drive’s school account stores.

The Elys claim that the SPS Google Drive, given to all SPS employees and students, automatically begins to store information from any device the drive is accessed on. This includes browser history, but also personal information such as files and passwords. They add that even if you log out of the drive, it stays running and recording in the background.

[…]

With more searching, the Elys have now found even more sensitive information that’s been stored to their daughter’s Google Drive, including 139 passwords to both her and her husband’s different accounts and also voice recordings of both her and her children.

“My voice to text was being stored as well as any search my kids did, and I could say ‘sure my daughter was searching on Google,’ but my phone uses Safari. When I used my texting app on my iPhone, it recorded my voice, as well as typing out the words and saving it on my Google Drive,” said Brette Hay, the Ely’s daughter and a teacher at Pershing Middle School.

Shocking? Not shocking that they log so much data. Shocking that they store passwords and all your voice input unencrypted.