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Paytm App Removed From Google Play Store

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Google has pulled the popular Indian financial services app Paytm from the Play Store for violating its gambling policies. Paytm is India’s most valuable startup and claims over 50 million monthly active users. Its marquee app, which competes with Google Pay in India, disappeared from the Play Store in the country earlier Friday.

Google said that Play Store prohibits online casinos and other unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting in India. Paytm, which has promoted fantasy sports service within its marquee app, repeatedly violated Play Store’s policies, two people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. Paytm’s fantasy sports service, called Paytm First Games, was also available as a standalone app and it has been pulled from the Play Store, too.

The Android-maker, which maintains similar guidelines around gambling in most other markets, additionally noted that if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes will also be deemed in violation of its Play Store policies.

In an email Google has sent to many firms in India, and was reviewed by TechCrunch, the company has asked developers to pause all advertising campaigns in their apps to drive users to websites that offer installation files of sports betting apps.

Google’s Pay app currently dominates the payments market in India, and Android commands about 99% of the smartphone market share in the country.

The announcement today from Google is also a preemptive attempt from the company to remind other developers about its gambling policies ahead of the popular cricket tournament Indian Premier League, which is scheduled to kick off tomorrow.

Previous seasons of IPL, which last for nearly two months and attract the attention of hundreds of millions of Indians, have seen a surge in apps that look to promote or participate in sports betting.

While sports betting is banned in India, fantasy sports, where users select their favorite players and win if their preferred teams or players play well, is not illegal in most Indian states.

A person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that Google has also asked Disney+ Hotstar, one of the most popular on-demand video streaming services in India, to display a warning before running ads about fantasy sports apps.

“We have these policies to protect users from potential harm. When an app violates these policies, we notify the developer of the violation and remove the app from Google Play until the developer brings the app into compliance,” wrote Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy, in a blog post.

“And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently,” she added.

In a televised interview with CNBC TV18, Paytm co-founder and chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma accused Google of not allowing Paytm to acquire new users.

He acknowledged that Google had reached out to Paytm before and raised concerns about Paytm First Games, but the incident with Paytm’s main app, he said, is over “nothing but” paying cashback to customers.

The cashbacks were issued in ways of cricket-themed scratch cards, he said, adding that if Paytm isn’t allowed to issue cashback to customers, the same rule should be applied to every player. Google Pay, as well as Walmart’s PhonePe give customers similar incentives in India.

“This is the problem of India’s app ecosystem. So many founders have reached out to us… if we believe this country can build digital business, we must know that it is at somebody else’s hand to bless that business and not this country’s rules and regulations,” he said.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Madhur Deora, President of Paytm, said Google did not raise any issue about Paytm First Games app today. He said Paytm had rolled out the cricket-themed sticker for cashbacks early Friday. Hours later Google raised objection about it and suspended the app.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), an “industry body” that represents some fantasy sports firms, claims it complained to Google to take action on companies that distribute or promote fantasy sports through Play Store.

Dream Sports, the parent firm of India’s most popular fantasy sports app Dream 11, is the founding member of FIFS. Dream11 app is not available on the Play Store. In a message to their members, FIFS said the following:

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Gold declines by Rs 95 on weak global trend

In the international market, gold was trading lower at USD 1,918 per ounce, while silver was quoting flat at USD 24.89 per ounce.

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Gold Wealth Price

New Delhi, Oct 22 : Gold prices fell Rs 95 to Rs 51,405 per 10 gram in the national capital on Thursday amid a weak global trend and rupee appreciation, according to HDFC Securities.

The precious metal had closed at Rs 51,500 per 10 gram in the previous trade.

Silver prices also declined Rs 504 to Rs 63,425 per kilogram from Rs 63,929 per kilogram in the previous trade.

“Spot gold prices for 24 carat in Delhi declined by Rs 95 on weak global prices and rupee appreciation,” HDFC Securities Senior Analyst (Commodities) Tapan Patel said.

The rupee appreciated by 4 paise to close at 73.54 against the US dollar on Thursday.

In the international market, gold was trading lower at USD 1,918 per ounce, while silver was quoting flat at USD 24.89 per ounce.

Navneet Damani, VP Commodities Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services said, “Gold dipped after inching higher in the previous session amidst to and fro comments on the COVID-19 relief bill and some recovery witnessed in dollar.

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Economy not circus lion that responds to ringmaster’s stick: Chidambaram

Chidambaram said the economy was largely determined by the market, by the laws of demand and supply, and by the purchasing power and the sentiments of the people, which are missing currently

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P Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday criticised the Centre for its claims on reviving the economy. He said the economy was largely determined by the market, by the laws of demand and supply, and by the purchasing power and the sentiments of the people, which are missing currently.

“Unless the government puts money in the hands of the bottom half of the families and puts food on the plates of the poor, the economy will not revive smartly,” he added.

The Congress leader said if the government doubted about what he say, then “just listen to the voices of the voters of Bihar on their existential crisis — no work or not enough work, no income or little income, and their thoughts are on surviving, not on spending.

He also said that RBI Governor, SEBI Chairman and the DEA Secretary should tell the FM, in unison, that the vast majority of the people do not have the money or the inclination to buy goods and services.

“Is it not intriguing that the RBI Governor, the SEBI Chairman and the DEA Secretary should speak on the same day on the same subject? All three have tried to ‘talk up’ the economy. I wish the economy was a circus lion that would respond to the stick of the ringmaster!” Chidambaram mocked.

The former Finance Minister was criticising the statements made by the RBI Governor and the Economic Affairs Secretary.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday that India is at the doorstep of a revival process from the ongoing pandemic.

Speaking at an event, he said that it is very important that the financial entities have adequate capital to support the growth. He noted that many of them have already raised capital while others are planning to do the same.

He said that after the pandemic is contained, the government will have to spell out a fiscal roadmap for the country.

Secretary, Economic Affairs, Tarun Bajaj on Wednesday said the Centre is open for further measures to boost the economy.

Participating at a CII event, he said that the government has received suggestions from various ministries and sectors on the needed measures.

Bajaj also said that while preparing the next Union Budget, the government would be looking at expenditure for this year and the requirements of various ministries.

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Elon Musk’s Tesla launches ‘Full Self Driving’ beta to select drivers

The customers in Tesla’s Early Access Programme will receive software updates, which will give drivers access to Autopilot’s ‘partially’ automated driver assistance system on city streets.

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elon musk

San Francisco: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed the company has started rolling out its next-gen Full Self Driving (FSD) set of features to a limited number of expert and careful drivers.

The customers in Tesla’s Early Access Programme will receive software updates, which will give drivers access to Autopilot’s ‘partially’ automated driver assistance system on city streets.

The Early Access program serves as a testing platform to help fix software bugs.

More Tesla owners would get the update as the time passes, with the goal of a “wide release” by the end of the year.

“Regarding the Full Self-Driving beta release, the Autopilot team, again, is just a really all-star team. I spent a lot of time with the Autopilot team. And there’s a lot of really talented people in that team who have worked incredibly hard to make the — to get the beta release out,” Musk said during the company’s Q3 earnings call on Wednesday.

Musk has been talking about ‘Full Self Driving’ a lot in the past couple of years, calling it an investment in the future that will become far more valuable once fully autonomous cars get regulatory approval.

Earlier, he explained that with feature-complete FSD, the car will be able to drive without human intervention but it would still be supervised.

Tesla also rolled out the 2019.40.2 version of its software to some electric vehicle owners and this update includes features like Adjacent Lane Speed Adjustments and Stop Sign Detection that are required for FSD.

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