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As coronavirus infections reach new heights, with the United States leading the pack with a record 4 million cases, a Canadian social distancing app aimed at keeping people connected and socially engaged has announced a major growth spurt, reaching 500,000 downloads in a single month.
HiRide, a subsidiary of Canadian Facedrive (TSXV:FD,OTC:FDVRF), launched the HiQ social distancing app just a month ago as a “socialization and gaming mobile application that intends to make social distancing more bearable.”
“In the last few weeks, we have seen our HiQ community grow internationally. It has been exciting for us to reach this incredible milestone and further drive social interaction between users while practicing social distancing. We are always working on developing new features, and will continue to improve our product and customer experience,” Akshat Soni, CEO of HiRide, said in a press release.
The app uses proprietary tech and algorithms to match users with shared interests, as well as for cash prizes and weekly trivia challenges that come along with rewards. The app’s virtual wallet allows users to cash their rewards earned by playing trivia games every 100 points collected.
The app, which is available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, soared to 500,000 downloads as of July 23rd, highlighting the heightened demand for innovative new ways to stay safe while socializing during a global pandemic.
So far, according to parent company Facedrive (TSXV:FD,OTC:FDVRF), the trivia element of the HiQ app has been the most popular, thanks to HiRide’s AI-based gamification technology.
HiQ now boasts a Top 5 ranking in over 50 countries among trivia apps, with 45,000 daily active users and indications after only a month that it continues to grow virally, internationally.
Social distancing apps hope to ease the pain of tight restrictions under COVID-19, at a time when Morgan Stanley’s biotech analyst, Matthew Harrison, says that the U.S. alone could see 150,000 daily new cases if officials fail to get control over the virus.
Social distancing applications have been all the rage in recent months. A Google Chrome extension, Netflix Party, allows groups of people to hang out online and stream their favorite Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) films and TV shows. The extension is already being used by 10 million users to come together for movie nights while maintaining their distance. Users have an incredible amount of content to choose from on Netflix. The platform features thousands of movies and hundreds of TV shows. And it's even expanding its original content. Netflix has pumped billions of dollars into producing and buying new TV shows and movies, and not just in the United States. Many countries have their own role of original content, and as the company's subscriber base grows, the sky is the limit for the $200 billion streaming giant.
Another application that has skyrocketed into the mainstream is Zoom (NASDAQ:ZM). The video chat application has become a major hit among companies that have implemented work-from-home policies. The app has become so popular, in fact, that it was even featured on an episode of Saturday Night Live. Zoom's technology has revolutionized workplace communication, it provides videotelephony and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform and is used for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance education, and social relations. It's so huge that another startup is using the platform to connect celebrities with their fans (for a nominal fee).
The most popular social applications on the Google and Apple stores, however, you might already be familiar with. Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram have exploded this year. With over a billion people using the platforms, it’s become a staple for staying in touch. Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has built an empire around online communication. After launching the original Facebook platform, he acquired WhatsApp and Instagram, moves which have helped propel the company into the elite of Silicon Valley. Now valued at over $660 million, Facebook's only enemy is the growing threat of regulation. But Zuckerberg has already shown his ability to navigate political waters with efficiency.
Combined, Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) have seen over 70 billion apps downloaded in the first two quarters of this year alone compared to just 54 billion in the same two quarters of last year. Their most downloaded apps include social networking and social communication applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok, Snapchat and Youtube. And the social media trend has only grown stronger with the pandemic. People across the world rely on these applications to stay in touch, and that's not likely to change anytime soon. And Apple and Google are at the center of it all. When Facebook benefits, so do the two trillion-dollar tech giants.
From the numbers on the Apple and Google stores, it’s clear that demand for distraction during lockdown is only growing.
By. Christian Moore
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