Best 360 Camera Apps for iPhone and Android: Secrets of Development

Nowadays we are surrounded by content. We scroll newsfeed, we browse websites, we see ads on the streets, we listen to the radio and watch TV. Our brain gets used to processing the enormous amount of information and it “smoothes” the majority of things we see otherwise our heads would become overloaded.

It’s hard to capture someone’s attention in this madness. But quick-witted marketers don’t give up and invent new types of content each day.

So, the new engaging technology of 360 videos and photo is finally here! Of course, special tools are required to create such content, so we can see the splash of new apps and cameras for panoramic images.

Top 3 best 360 panorama apps for iOS and Android

We don’t need to buy an expensive camera and learn how to use special software to make 360 photos anymore. Now we can create all-round panoramic pictures using our smartphone just in a few taps! 3D photos can be used in marketing, tourism, education, medicine and many other industries. Or, you can make one just for fun and post it on Facebook!

So, we made a shortlist of the best photosphere apps. Choose the one and start creating!

Panorama 360 Camera (HD+) + VR video by TeliportMe

Let’s start with the Panorama 360 Camera app available on both Android and iOS. We put it first thanks to intuitive design, and the possibility to capture 360 panoramas and videos. There are 3 models: normal, manual and real-time. How it works: hold your smartphone in a vertical position, tap the shooting button and start moving the phone around you to capture an image. When you stop shooting the app will build panorama automatically.

Panorama 360 Camera app uses 2 monetization models at the same time: ads and in-app purchases. You can buy such premium features as:

  • Stitch later – you can delay the panorama building to save time for more images.
  • Facebook sharing
  • Dropbox sync
  • HD capture
  • Remove watermarks for Instagram share
  • Remove Ads
  • Unlimited video download in .mp4 format

Alongside with the cool functionality, an app has a huge community to share your masterpieces with.

Fyuse – 3D Photos

An unusual app that is also available on Google Play and App Store. It allows creating “fyuses” or spatial images. How it works: point your smartphone to an object you are going to film, tap the capture button and walk around this object so the Fyuse can be recorded. As a result, an app captures the interactive 3D image of an object, so you can move and oversee it from different angles.

The ready-made 3D images can be shared via social media or you can be added to the feed of an app. And know what? This app is absolutely free and doesn’t have any in-app purchases.

FOV – 360 photo app

This app is designed in Paris and encourages everyone to change the Field Of View. Sound romantic, right?
FOV is a free app, available for iPhones only. It allows shooting amazing pictures up to 360 degrees with ease. How it works: when you start shooting, the small dots and a target appear on the screen. You have to move your phone in such a way that dots get into the target, so the panoramic photo can be made. Then push the “done” button to finish shooting. The results can be saved to your iPhone or sent via social media.

With the Samsung Gear 360 (New) app, you can create, view, and share 360 content on your smartphone, and enjoy various features by connecting Gear 360.

How to develop 360-degree photo app for iPhone and Android

As you can see, each company has its own technical approach to creating panoramic photos. They also differ in monetization methods, and some of them are even completely free. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement, so it’s never late to start your own business in the industry.

But how to develop the best 360 panorama app for iOS and Android and conquer the market?

Fortunately, such giants as Facebook and Google have already opened the development tools for capturing 360 media.

360 Capture SDK by Facebook

Previously, the 360 photos could be made by capturing the pieces and stitching them together into one image. Developers had to use game engines to produce high-quality content.

But later Facebook announced the 360 Capture SDK allowing to capture three-dimension images and upload them directly to the news feed or view with the VR headset.

Facebook managed to create the totally new experience by changing the approach to making 360 photos. The basic technology used in 360 Capture SDK is cube mapping rather than traditional stitching.

Now user can create stunning 3D images using their smartphones rather than powerful computers or cameras. That means the technology became more affordable for users. On the other hand, SDK is compatible with such game engines like Unity or Unreal.

Moreover, cube mapping allows delivering VR-quality 360 video at 30 fps in a single second. Images are posted in 1080p to the news feed and uploaded in 4K for VR.

360° Media tools by Google

Google has also launched Google VR SDK compatible with both Android and iOS devices. This tool allows mobile app developers to enhance their products with the new 360-degree content. The 360-degree media captured with apps build on Google VR SDK can be viewed from any kind of devices starting with Google Cardboard and ending up with desktop browsers and mobile apps.

Users can capture both 360-degree images and videos in various dimensions. Afterward, they can be stored whenever you like, for example, videos can be hosted on YouTube. And it’s no wonder since Google bought YouTube.

360° Cameras Solution

#1 Meeting Owl Pro is a 360° smart video conferencing camera designed to be set up on the go to make any space a video conferencing room.

#2 Insta360 cameras help you capture the magic in every moment.

Conclusion

360-degree media is still trendy and desirable. This digital technology can be used not only for entertainment but also for business growth and marketing. Tech giants like Facebook and Google have even launched their SDK to help developers create apps for panoramic photos or VR videos. All you need is a fresh idea and an app development company that will bring it to life. For example, GBKSOFT.

How to Integrate Apple Pay into Your App or Website

In today’s fast-paced world, people want to reduce time spent on routine tasks as much as possible. We all expect online purchases to be easy and convenient. And this, basically, means that we want to buy things with just one click without wasting our precious minutes on entering billing, shipping and contact information each time at the checkout.

Apple Pay service was introduced in 2014 and it has more than 441 million users worldwide today. Why did it become so popular in such a short time-span? The main reason is that Apple Pay allowed iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac owners to get rid of their physical wallets and make secure payments in stores, in iOS apps and on the web with the help of their Apple devices.

According to statistics, 38 percent of online merchants globally accepted Apple Pay. Want to join them? In this article, we’ll try to explain how to add Apple Pay to your website or app. Send this guide for your developer or hire software programmers.

Is Apple Pay a good fit for your business?

We already mentioned that users just love Apple Pay because it’s an easy and convenient way to make purchases. So the advantages for buyers are pretty much obvious. But what about the selling side? Let’s look into this.

Apple Pay covers a wide range of transactions and allows online merchants to sell almost anything:

  • physical goods (for example, clothes, groceries, books etc.)
  • services (for example, club membership)
  • bookings (for example, hotel reservations)
  • tickets

However, some reasonable exceptions still exist. For example, it’s not allowed to use Apple Pay for selling such goods as cigarettes, tobacco products, weapons, pornography etc. You may find the full list of prohibited uses here.

If your business activity doesn’t fall within the above exceptions, there should be no doubt:  integration of Apple Pay into your website or app is the right decision.

Note: Apple Pay does not replace In-App Purchase. You still need the later to sell virtual goods, for example, premium content and subscriptions within your iOS application.

Preparation stage

This stage does not require any coding, you just need to create the environment for Apple Pay integration.

First, you need to find a payment provider that supports Apple Pay in your region. To do this, see this list on the Apple Pay page. This is the optional but highly recommended step because if you don’t have an established system in place, handling card payments can be quite challenging.

NOTE: Make sure that Apple Pay is available in your country (see the full list of countries and regions here).

For Apple Pay on the web, web pages that incorporate Apple Pay must be served over HTTPS and support TLS 1.2 protocol.

Now, you have to set up Apple Pay Requirements.

1. Create a Merchant ID

Merchant ID is needed to identify your business as a merchant that can accept Apple Pay payments on your website or mobile app. That’s easy. Just log in to your developer account here and go to Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles.

After that, choose iOS, tvOS, watchOS (from the pop-up menu).

Then, choose App ID in the Identifiers section.

Click add button “+

Enter your name in the Name field.

After that, enter Bundle ID as instructed.

Check Apple Pay Payment Processing box in the Apple Services section and click Continue -> Submit.

Then, find Merchant ID in the left column.

Click add button “+” in the upper right corner.

You’ll see this page:

Add a description (it can be just the name of your app or website) and identifier name in the following format: merchant.com.YourAppName. After that, click Continue.

Review the Settings and click Register -> Done.

Now, navigate to App ID (which we’ve just created). Check Apple Pay Payment Processing box and click Edit.

After that, select your merchant ID and check the box.

Now, your App ID should look like this:

2. Create Payment Processing Certificate

Payment Processing Certificate is needed to encrypt and secure outgoing payment data. How to set up it? Follow the steps below.

Navigate to Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles -> Identifiers -> Merchant IDs.

After that, select your merchant ID on the right and click Edit.

You’ll see Payment Processing Certificate section. Click Create Certificate.

Apple Pay integration can be performed in no time if you hire professional developers. Still looking for a reliable team?

Certificate signing request

 If you don’t have a certificate signing request (CSR), you need to create it to create. To do this, launch Keychain Access that is Mac OS system utility. It’s located in /Applications/Utilities on your Mac.

 Then, choose Certificate Assistant ->Request a Certificate from a Certificate Authority.

 Enter necessary information: your email address in the User Email Address field and a name for the key in the Common Name field. The third field, CA Email Address, should be left empty.

 Click Save to disk ->Continue.

 Check out this Apple help page to make sure that you didn’t miss anything.

 To proceed with Payment Processing Certificate creation, click Choose file. Then select CSR file (it has .cert SigningRequest extension) and click Choose – > Continue -> Download.

The downloaded certificate file will have .cer extension. Click Done.

Note: you need to recreate your Payment Processing Certificate every 25 months.

3. Create Merchant Identity Certificate (for websites only)

This certificate is needed to authenticate communication with the Apple Pay servers. To create it, follow the steps below.

Navigate to Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles -> Identifiers -> Merchant IDs. Select your merchant ID on the right and click Edit.

Under Merchant Identity Certificate Section, click Create Certificate.

After that, click Choose file and choose your CSR to upload.

Click Choose – > Continue -> Download.

The downloaded certificate file will have .cer extension. Click Done.

Note: you need to recreate your Merchant Identity Certificate every 25 months.

4. Register and verify your domain (for websites only)

To register a domain, navigate to Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles -> Identifiers -> Merchant IDs. Select your merchant ID on the right and click Edit.

Under Merchant Domains Section, click Add domain.

After that, enter your domain name and click Continue -> Download.

Place the file in the specified location and click Verify. After the verification is completed, click Done.

Note: you’ll need to verify a domain every time its SSL certificate expires.

Watch this video to make sure that you didn’t miss anything.

5. Enable Apple Pay in Xcode (for apps only)

Go to XCode and click the file icon in the upper left corner.

Select the target project and you’ll see the project editor on the right. Choose Capabilities.

You’ll see Apple Pay section. Turn it ON.

Refresh the page — you’ll see your Merchant ID in the Merchant IDs field.

Finally, make sure that all Steps are checked.

Implementation stage

This is the part where coding starts. If you have some basic programming knowledge, you can do it yourself.  Alternatively, if you don’t feel confident about writing a code and want to do things right, reach out to your developer.

1. Support Apple Pay on your app or website

First of all, you need APIs that will allow you to determine if a user has the Apple Pay capable device and if Apple Pay is set up on it. To check Apple Pay availability:

  • for app, use PassKit framework. You can find detailed instructions on how to do this here.
  • for website (on Safari only), use JavaScript-based APIs. You can find detailed instructions on how to do this here.

2. Create an Apple Pay button and mark

All websites and apps that accept Apple Pay must display Apple Pay mark and Apple Pay button whenever payment options are shown.

  • download Apple Pay mark and see its usage guidelines here.
  • choose your button style here.
  • refer to Apple Pay on Web pages for detailed programming guidelines.

3. Customize a payment sheet

Tapping the Apple Pay button should lead to a payment sheet (see on the right). Such payment sheet must contain information that is required to complete the purchase, for example, payment card details, shipping options, contact information etc. It’s up to you to decide what information to present on a payment sheet, but you cannot request data that is not related to the transaction.

For detailed instruction on customizing Apple Pay payment sheet, see Human Interface Guidelines.

Congratulations!
You’ve just implemented Apple Pay in your app/website!

Why is Apple Pay a must for my business?

Apple Pay provides simpler payment envronment for your clients. Moreover, Apple Pay is much safer than usual payment gateways like PayPal because it does not store personal information like billing address or credit card number. Clients are more likely to buy something if they can do it in a simple and safer way. So with Apple Pay you can increase your customer loyalty and business revenue.

Is Apple Pay free for the merchants?

Yes, Apple does not charge any fees if you use Apple Pay in your store or restaurant. All transactions no matter credit or debit ones, will be handled and processes by your payment networks.

Final thoughts

Integration of Apple Pay into the app or website is one of the easiest and cheapest ways for merchants to improve customer experience. We all want to be cared for and we really appreciate if a company not just tries to sell us stuff, but also makes our life easier. Follow the steps in this article to implement Apple Pay yourself.

How to Integrate Instagram API and Feed on PHP Website

Few can argue that Instagram is one of the most powerful and engaging social media platforms across the internet right now. It has more than 700 million monthly active users (MAUs) and about 400 million active users per day (DAUs). No surprise that many merchants and companies are already using Instagram as their primary sale or promotion channel.

Taking into account that 65% of customers are engaged in online shopping and social media, integrating Instagram may actually provide you a huge boost in sales and conversions. We’d like to share two most popular Instagram website integrations: social login and feed streaming and teach you how to integrate API into a website.

Login with Instagram Using PHP

It must be acknowledged that the shorter registration form – the higher conversion rates. Users are not willing to spend hours filling in long forms. The feature we’re going to integrate will allow your users to quickly login by using only their Instagram account password.

Moreover, by making this function available you still will be able to collect all valuable user data required for targeting, email newsletters, and analytical purposes.

Information that can be obtained through Instagram API:

  • User info
  • User feeds
  • User media
  • User likes
  • User follows
  • User follower
  • User Relationship
  • Search media
  • Get media
  • Popular media
  • Media likes
  • Media comments
  • Like media
  • Delete like media
  • Get location
  • Get location media
  • Search location

Step #1 Registering your Application

  • Login on www.instagram.com;
  • Go to the developer account https://www.instagram.com/developer/ ;
  • Click on “Register Your Application” button;
  • Register new client ID;
  • In “Website URL” field use your website address or localhost if you’re using it;
  • In “Redirect URL” field type location where the response will be handled (e.g. http://yourwebsite/yourprojectfolder/callback.php );
  • Go to Manage Clients tab. From here you can acquire your Client ID and Client Secret.

Step #2 User Flow

The principle of Instagram Authentication is quite simple. User clicks on “Login with Instagram” button. The request is redirected through Authorization URL to Instagram. It`s like magic.

Here’s the structure of Authorization URL:

https://api.instagram.com/oauth/authorize/?client_id=CLIENT-ID&redirect_uri=REDIRECT-URI&response_type=code

In response, Instagram will provide you with the code in the following format:

https://your-redirect-uri?code=CODE

Get this code from URL

Step #3 Access Token

Next, you’ll need an access token. In order to acquire it you’ll need to make an array with the following data:

  • Client ID.
  • Client Secret.
  • Redirect URL.
  • Grant Type.
  • Code from Step #2.
$url = "https://api.instagram.com/oauth/access_token";
$header = 0; // header = 0, because we do not have header
$data = array(
"client_id" => $client_id,
"client_secret" => $client_secret,
"redirect_uri" => $redirect_uri,
"grant_type" => "authorization_code",
"code" => $code
);

You can call it and pass this URL using CURL

Step #4 Getting User Information

Finally, after getting access_token you can call this URL https://api.instagram.com/v1/users/self/?access_token=$access_token) and get User Data.

Data you will acquire:

  • Full Name.
  • Website.
  • Bio.
  • Followers Count.
  • Following Count.
  • Profile Picture.

That’s it, and good luck.

Just kidding! Here is a folder with all files required for integration of Instagram Login on your website using PHP.

How to integrate Instagram feed to your website without API

Most tutorials on how to implement Instagram feed suggest to use Instagram API. And while there is nothing wrong with this method, there is an easier way without actually using this API.

The first thing we need to do is to get feed data from Instagram.

Here’s a code sample for this task:

<?php
$username = 'YourUserName';
$json = file_get_contents('https://www.instagram.com/'.$username.'/media/');
$instagram_feed_data = json_decode($json, true);
?>

For the “name” field use your username as it shown in Instagram’s address line.

The string $instagram_feed_data = json_decode($json, true); indicate the data will be contained and decoded. The data will be decoded into the array.

Basically, in your array, the data about each post will be structured into [“items”]. Each item contains information about every single post including user info, images, the caption, likes, comments, etc.

This is the information we’ll gonna use. But first, you should check if there are any items in the array. Here’s how to make this:

if (isset($instagram_feed_data['items'])) 
foreach ($instagram_feed_data['items'] as $item) }

Next, you’ll need to get an actual post link and image URL. Keep in mind that the array contains image URLs in multiple formats: thumbnail, low_resolution, and standard_resolution. You may choose one of those formats depending on your needs.

In our case, we’ll be ok with low resolution.

$link = $item['link'];
$img_url = $item['images']['low_resolution']['url'];

In addition, you can take a caption. In case of Instagram posts there isn’t always a caption, so you’ll need to check whether it exists first.

$caption = isset($item['caption']) ? $item['caption']['text'] : '';

Streaming

Now, when feed data is acquired we can stream to your webpage. Let’s start with the images by using image URLs. Since this URL is leading to an external web resource (Instagram), we’ll make the target blank. Then, list output of actual image and caption.

<a href="<?= $link; ?>" target="_blank" class="instagram-post">

<img src="<?= $img_url; ?>">
<div class="caption"><?= $caption; ?></div>

That’s it. All you need is to compose all these code strings into one script. Here’s it by the way.

if (isset($instagram_feed_data['items'])) {
    foreach ($instagram_feed_data['items'] as $item) {
        $link = $item['link'];
        $img_url = $item['images']['low_resolution']['url'];
        $caption = isset($item['caption']) ? $item['caption']['text'] : '';
        
        ?>
        <a href="<?= $link; ?>" target="_blank" class="instagram-post">
            <img src="<?= $img_url; ?>">
            <div class="caption"><?= $caption; ?></div>
        </a>
        <?php
    }
}
?>

Use this simple script that will get images, caption and links from the Instagram feed with no API. With little CSS magic, you can turn this data into such a good-looking web page.

Hope you found what you looked for.

REFERENCES

  • https://www.instagram.com/developer/
  • https://developers.facebook.com/docs/instagram-basic-display-api
  • https://developers.facebook.com/docs/instagram-api/

Top Facebook Apps and Companies

How many companies does Facebook own?

You’ve probably heard a lot about Facebook this year. And it’s not only because it’s the most popular social network in the world, so there are good chances you use it as well. Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal shook the world in spring 2018, and the attention to this application literally skyrocketed. 

We believe that the issue is quite serious, but there are other, more positive reasons to keep up with news about Facebook. First, it’s a tech giant, so everyone who is in this industry should be at least generally aware of what’s happening there. Secondly, Facebook’s revenue just for Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 (the last reported quarter as of the date of this article) constituted more than $117,929 billion (Y2Y +37%).

We had a solid quarter as people turned to our products to stay connected and businesses continued to use our services to grow.

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder and CEO

And it’s one of the Top-10 technology companies in the world. An excellent example of startup success, everyone tech entrepreneur can learn from.

In this article, we’ll take a mini-tour across the Facebook empire and talk about the most popular apps it owns. We prepared a list of top applications that Facebook owns, its features, and its peculiarities.

Meet the Facebook Family of Apps

We will describe the following:

  1. Facebook app
  2. Messenger
  3. WhatsApp
  4. Instagram
  5. Oculus VR
  6. Masquerade (MSQRD)
  7. Whale
  8. GIPHY
  9. AUX by NPE
  10. Bump by NPE
  11. Tuned by NPE

Facebook app

It probably sounds quite obvious, but we just couldn’t ignore this application that was the very first in the collection. Facebook App was created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and a few other fellows. As of September 2021, 17 years after the launch, the number of its monthly active users amounted to 2.74 billion. The Facebook app was the most downloaded app between 2010 and 2020 (businessinsider.com).

But it’s worth mentioning that the initial version of the Facebook app differed significantly from the one we are used to seeing today. Its name contained ‘the’ at the beginning, so it was ‘thefacebook.’ There were no newsfeed and ‘Like’ button either. So it was really a long road for the Facebook app to get where it’s now. Daily about 1.82 billion users visit Facebook.

Another interesting fact is that at the dawn of Facebook’s existence, Zuckerberg and other guys hacked Harvard’s computer system to copy some private information of the students who lived in the dormitory. So we can say that Facebook’s relationships with personal data protection were complicated from the very beginning.

This year Facebook rolled our new update for private education – “Educational Hub.” These resources help teachers and students to keep in touch and study remotely in connection with quarantine.

The resources include the following:

  • Anti-racism resources;
  • Self-care strategies and mental health resources (which are likely particularly important during social distancing during the pandemic);
  • “Get Digital,” a digital literacy program that includes lesson plans, online conversation starters, and online activities for students;
  • Group-focused options, including the opportunity to start or find a group of like-minded teachers, students, or parents.

Moreover, Facebook decided to go back to the original aim of the social network and launches Campus-platforms for students to chat with others, find out about upcoming events, and other online services.

Facebook DAUs were 1.93 billion on average for September 2021, an increase of 6% year-over-year.

Messenger App

Messenger is another favorite app created by Facebook. Today, this application goes hand in hand with the Facebook app itself for most smartphone users. But, actually, Messenger became available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices only in 2011. Before that, there was only the Facebook Chat that was released in 2008. But it was not a standalone application and offered a much worse user experience.

According to Statista, as of July 2021, Facebook Messenger was the second most popular messaging app in the world, has 1.3 billion monthly active users.

The most recent significant revamp of this application took place in October 2018. The updates were mainly focused on simplifying users’ life by decluttering the chat interface and reducing the number of tabs. Another change was related to personalization. Now, users can choose the display color in their conversation.

The dark mode, however, is something we expected to receive in 2019. On top of that, Facebook Messenger is going to become more ad-friendly. It’s likely that companies will receive the opportunity to create story ads if Facebook’s testing of this feature shows promising results.

The recent update #336.0 was on the 25th of October 2021. It gave the improvements and bug fixes for the latest version on Messenger.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is another messaging application Facebook owns. But unlike Messenger, WhatsApp was not made by the Facebook team — the company acquired it in 2014 for $19 billion. At that moment, the application was already quite ‘mature,’ having existed on the market for about five years.

And as we see, that was indeed a successful purchase as WhatsApp is the most popular messaging application worldwide nowadays. It has more than 2.0 billion monthly active users and ranked No.1 app by worldwide downloads.

What WhatsApp updates can we expect in 2021? Well, there is good news for companies and bad news for users. Facebook plans to put ads on WhatsApp, so you’ll see some commercial content in the application soon. According to the statistics, the number of active users will grow from 68.1 to 85.8 million.

A sad story related to these changes is that WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton left Facebook in September 2017. And rumor has it that the main reason for such a decision was their disagreement with the company’s intent to embed targeted ads in the application that was initially supposed to be advert-free. However, our team knows how to develop a WhatsApp clone app.

Instagram

Does Facebook own Instagram? Instagram is also one of the most popular applications held by Facebook. It was created in 2010, but its independent existence didn’t last for long. Facebook saw the potential in a newborn app and purchased it in April 2012 (the same month when the Android version of Instagram was released) for as little as $1 billion. Many believe that it’s the best deal in the history of Silicon Valley so far.

And it’s no wonder. As of October 2018, Instagram was one of the most used social networks globally. It has more than 1 billion monthly active users who share about 80 million photos and videos per day.

There is no official information on what new Instagram features we can expect in 2022. But some experts believe that there will be a greater focus on IGTV, which is a platform for sharing long-form vertical videos. On top of that, there are good chances that Instagram Stories will become more interactive as users will receive an opportunity to leave public comments and create multiple-choice questions.

On the 5th of August, Instagram launched a new feature – reels video. It is a 15-sec video where users can put music, text, and other effects. This feature is available only in 50 countries where music is allowed by law. Among them are the USA, Germany, France, Great Britain, and others. The creators of TikTok emphasize similarity to their social media and criticize this update of Instagram.

300 hundred million users use Facebook Stories daily compared to 500 million who use Instagram Stories every day.

Oculus VR

Oculus VR is one of the tech companies Facebook owns. It was founded in July 2012, and in March 2014, Facebook purchased it for $2.3 billion. As the name suggests, Oculus VR’s activity is mainly focused on the development of virtual reality software and hardware products.

As of today, the most famous of them is Oculus Rift — a VR headset released in March 2016. It gained popularity right after it appeared on the market. In 2017, for instance, the company sold nearly 700,000 items of this device.

Yet, there is also a dark side to the story. In 2014, ZeniMax, a well-known gaming company, filed a lawsuit against Facebook, claiming that Oculus Rift was built based on the stolen code and research. In December 2018, the court finally passed its verdict and awarded ZeniMax $250M in damages.

But it’s not a time to get upset for Facebook. A release of Oculus Quest, a revolutionary standalone VR headset, is planned for the spring of 2019. And it really has the potential to disrupt the tech world. This is because the announced price is more than affordable ($399), so many game players will probably want to have the device.

Masquerade (MSQRD)

This app is the least known among those mentioned in this list of apps and companies owned by Facebook. Yet, we want to say it as the application was initially built by some Belarusian guys no one knows about. This, basically, proves that even if you’re not a Silicon Valley habitat, you can create a great product Facebook will want to purchase.

What does the MSQRD app do? Well, in general, it allows its users to “play” with their selfies by placing different effects on videos in real-time. On top of that, designers can create their own filters to make videos even more fun. The price of the deal was not disclosed. But we believe there should be a lot of zeros in this number.

Whale

Memes have invaded the Internet, so it is quite understandable why this November, Facebook released a meme-making app called Whale. 

In Whale, you can select pictures from a camera or gallery on the device or even take a photo within the app to turn it into a fun meme. This app lets you add various emojis, texts, effects, and a couple of hype filters like laser eyes or vortex directly to your picture. It is even possible to make your stickers using cut & crop and drawing tools. After being completed, your funny creation can be shared with Instagram or Messenger. 

Did you know that Facebook, after the success of Clubhouse, began to actively develop a Clubhouse clone, audio with short-form Soundbites feature, and podcast support? Recently the company presented all these solutions and they are already available for some users. Read more in our article Facebook Announces New Audio Products.

GIPHY

Facebook amazed us all again in 2020 by purchasing Giphy (a huge GIF-making and sharing website) for $400 million and promising to integrate its enormous library with overly popular Instagram. Apart from Instagram, the service will be supported by Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Wow, isn’t it impressive that the users will have a set of tools for making their own GIFs and then sharing them with each other?

But will new Giphy ownership influence its regular users? Facebook says that it will absolutely not. Only the users of Instagram will enjoy the new way of sharing animated pictures and stickers. It is worth mentioning that many other giant websites like Twitter, Slack, Pinterest, and even Reddit are using GIFs created in Giphy and rely on its API. So let’s wait and see what Facebook developers have in mind and what new excellent option our favorite apps will get soon.

NPE Projects

AUX

This July, Facebook gathered NPE (New Product Experimentation) team and launched Aux – a beta version of a new music app for teens and schoolers. Aux is available for Canadian users and can be downloaded only on iOS devices. It ranked 38 among other music apps in the Canadian App Store, and this fall, the number of its downloads was only 500+. Many people have noticed that the AUX concept resembles Turntable.fm (a social media website for sharing music that was shut down in 2013). 

It is true that both solutions offer unique DJ’ing experiences; however, the core aim of Aux is a bit different. The app allows creating a so-called virtual party that all schoolers and teens can join at 9 P.M. They all can play their music and compete for “claps” to get up-voted. The musician who received more “claps” wins. We do not know what future awaits this app, but we think that it is excellent that the NPE squad creates solutions encouraging creative people to share their talents with each other. 

Bump by NPE

Facebook NPE team has recently released a freshly created app called Bump for both iOS and Android devices. This is basically an anonymous chatting app aimed to help people make friends.

 If you are wondering what makes it stand out from other alike messaging tools, the answer is – the opportunity to establish engaging communication without being distracted by pictures, videos, or links. Yes, Bump does not have any of those. You can only communicate with the help of text messages. The chatting in real-time, and answers should be sent within 30 seconds.

One more exciting feature of this app is that you can participate in one chat at a time. After the messaging is finished, two people can keep in touch further if they both agree. Kudos to NPE guys, for Bump, help people to value communication above appearance!

Tuned by NPE

Facebook launches a new messaging app called ‘Tuned,’ just for couples. A private space where you and your significant other can just be yourselves. With Tuned, you can be as mushy, quirky, and silly as you are together in person, even when you’re apart. Creatively express your love, share your mood, exchange music, and build a digital scrapbook of your special moments.

Collab by NPE

Category: Music

Collab, Facebook’s experimental app for making collaborative music videos, is today launching out of private beta testing with a public release on the App Store. The app is one of now many projects from Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, which tests new ideas that could ultimately influence Facebook’s next steps in social media. In the app, a collab could consist of a guitarist, drummer, and a singer, each playing alongside the other in their respective videos.

FAQ

How many companies does Facebook own?

Facebook, Inc. is a social networking company that has acquired 82 other companies, including WhatsApp.

Why does the NPE team create new small apps?

The idea behind every new small app developed by NPE is to check users’ engagement and offer a new digital experience. They usually make apps available in a certain country and check the activity of the audience, especially the number of downloads and users’ engagement and reviews. This allows the developers to identify what apps and features are worth being improved further and transformed into holistic app.

Does Facebook have any competitors?

Although it seems like Facebook is one-of-a-kind, it has many competitors. They all can be divided into categories according to a certain activity. F.e. Facebook’s major competitors in advertising are Google and Amazon. When it comes to video sharing, YouTube is the best platform. Such services as Pinterest and LinkedIn have the biggest user base. Chinese social platform called WeChat exceeds Facebook drastically.

Final thoughts

Facebook owns the most popular and actively used companies for the last decades. There is a vast number of users that visit websites and applications every day. And the number is still increasing and widening its boundaries.

In this article, we mentioned only the most famous apps and companies Facebook owns. Of course, there are many more of them as the general list of Facebook’s products and acquisitions also contains multiple smaller purchases. And the Facebook empire keeps growing. So if you come up with some brilliant idea Facebook finds attractive, you may really make a fortune on it. In this regard, there are, basically, two options: you can either develop an entirely new product or think about additional features to enhance the existing app.

Already have an app idea even Zuckerberg would envy?

What is Bubble Website & App Builder and Why It Can Substitute Custom Website?

Bubble is another website builder or web development constructor that makes possible “programming without coding”. Since the success of WordPress and its many counterparts like Joomla, Wix and Magento, website builders became a niche of software products that offer a certain kind of standardized CMS system to present content on the web and many templates to make it look different (for which you pay additionally). That’s too good to be true and it’s not by chance that most business owners and startups prefer custom software development to the deployment of any website constructor or software builder.

Proceed with further reading to know more about the obvious downsides of Bubble software and the many benefits of custom web software that can serve your needs much more efficiently.

Bubble software allows making apps as well because the digital world has shifted towards smartphones and tablets and it no longer gravitates around the desktop. However, builders like Bubble deprive your product of the only thing that can make it successful – originality. Your possible variety of design choices and features is very limited and whatever little you save doesn’t pay off because you lose your brand authenticity in the process.

And for every possible product out there you can be sure to find dozens of competitors. Who becomes successful? Those that clients notice among a myriad of other businesses. 

Custom is Always Better

Using a blueprint to build anything automatically means that the final design won’t be original and authentic. To stick out in the era of sophisticated marketing and frivolous consumerism it is absolutely necessary to be unique. If you start a project with “do it simple” and “do it cheap” objectives in mind, it will be detected by Google algorithms and your possible clients that always feel in their gut, whether you deserve their attention (and money) or not.

A custom solution gives more space for creative input and interesting choices simply because it is implied that the final project itself is the sum of such inputs and choices. This is work that is going to be respected for the sake of it. Putting in real work means showing effort and without effort there’s no respect from the users/clients to wait for. That is why a website or an app made with Bubble or any other constructor is destined to fail in a highly competitive environment. 

How Can Bubble Software Be Useful?

As one developer has put it, paradoxically, Bubble software can be effective in saving a lot of time and effort for developers but it is not marketed to them. Instead, it is promoted to be used by business owners and digital startups that seek a profound online presence. And it is useless for them. So the ones who really need Bubble (to cut down the astounding 25% of routine programming) to simplify coding are not considered a target audience while those that won’t really benefit from it are bought with the premise of “getting software without code”. 

Like Framer or WordPress that can substitute certain blocs of your website or help with design and content management, Bubble software can be effective in reducing time it takes coding the front-end but what it absolutely cannot do is to substitute the development entirely. And with a bright idea in mind some features offered by Bubble can, on the contrary, limit your possibilities. 

Bubble Features

  • DEVELOP – Build any web app with no code.
  • DESIGN – Harness total design freedom.
  • HOST – Scale with robust, hosted infrastructure.
  • GROW – Expand, engage, measure.
  • COLLABORATE – Share the workload.

Disadvantages of Bubble.io

Websites and apps built with Bubble software or other constructors are generally slower (because every feature is a plugin or an extension).

When you write custom code for a feature, everything works faster because the underlying engineering underneath your core processes is developed to behave optimally fast and as efficiently as possible. Every software engineer designs a specific approach and makes a unique process that are exclusively suitable for a certain task at hand. Due to that you can save milliseconds on features and summed up they’re gonna result in a significant rise in speed. 

Speed matters and there’s nothing that causes more outrage than slow connection. That’s why people buy newer phones with more RAM, build 5G networks and optimize every little thing in their lives to always move faster. This is the philosophy of progress and innovation. If you want to succeed, be faster. The faster, the better. Keep in mind that every millisecond here or millisecond there matters on the internet.

Wrapping Up

So, do you really want your business to depend on some third-party software provider? This is too big a risk to allow, since even a slightest discrepancy in your web platform or a mobile app can ruin the journey for your customers.

Even Google and Facebook frequently face downtime, so anything can happen to Bubble, putting to risk everybody, whose business depends on this software provider. When you have your own custom-developed software, you control the situation and have a much bigger number of opportunities to improve, update and upgrade your platform.

Bubble software is no match to it. And the choice is up to you.

Bubble October 2021 UX Update:

Honestly, it was intuitively hard to put together anything sane in Bubble before, and now this. The interaction of containers and content in it is complete crap. Attempts to redesign even the simplest screen cause despair attacks from the fact that the elements generally fly as and where they want, and your past suffering is devalued. It’s a shame to go through all that chaos for the sake of a template or MVP. I don’t plan to use Bubble at all, ever. It’s easier to hire someone to do the MVP for you, or have the code do everything humanly.

How to Build a Successful App like Poshmark?

If you ever thought about building a shopping mobile app? Then you should definitely consider a Poshmark marketplace as a role model for your future app. Why?

Across the internet, the resale market is blowing up. Platforms like The RealReal and StockX are making it easier than ever to buy and sell luxury goods, while ThredUP has become the world’s largest online thrift store.

In the middle of the market, there’s Poshmark. Today, the nine-year-old company announces it has paid out $2 billion to its community of seven million sellers. And what’s even more surprising is that a year ago, the company hit its $1 billion milestones, meaning it has doubled revenues generated for sellers in a single year. It’s just another sign that the resale market is gaining speed.

Poshmark is pricing its IPO at $42 per share, raising $277M, up from its $35-$39 price initially noted in an earlier filing — Online marketplace is raising $277 million in share sale — Poshmark IPO follows trading debut by consumer lender Affirm

bloomberg

Poshmark is one of the largest social commerce marketplaces for buying and selling used clothes and it had a community of 60 million users at the end of 2019. It stands out clearly against the competitors thanks to its “social selling” model. The platform seems like a social media site, where users create profiles and chat about products before purchasing. As a result, the average Poshmark user spends between 23 and 27 minutes a day on the platform, sharing 30 million listings daily.

Social shopping and resale have fueled the closet phenomenon. Shopping and selling have become more fluid, accelerating the opportunity of a circular economy — and everyone’s getting on board. Shoppers are turning to platforms like Poshmark to extend the life cycle of clothing, creating a more prosperous future.

What is Poshmark?

We already mentioned that Poshmark is a social marketplace where everyone in the United States and Canada has the opportunity to buy and sell clothing. The customers of the platform can browse the marketplace and search according to specific criteria. Users can find everything from common items to exclusive luxury things.

Furthermore, users can sell their unwanted or unworn clothing and accessories at this platform. Purchases can be paid through PayPal, credit cards, and Apple Pay. Inspired by the success of Poshmark? Then let’s discuss how to create a website like Poshmark. It’s better to start from a minimum viable product (MVP). This approach enables you to confirm your idea at an early stage so you can get feedback from real users and improve your product as soon as possible.

What main features should have an app like Poshmark?

Poshmark stands out from its competitors by providing 100 % assurance to the buyers about the quality and hygiene of the goods. There are particular selling options by Poshmark which no other marketplace doesn’t provide.

Reservation purchases

Is there was a situation when you wanted to buy a product and while you filled in a form someone took the product first? But in Poshmark, the ‘reserve’ feature helps the buyer to flag the item for 10 minutes so that they can enter their details and even though they suffer from a slow network issue, there still be a chance to get the product.

In case, if the buyer abandons the cart, still the product stays as flagged for 10 minutes and then is open for other buyers.

58% are comfortable purchasing items through a social media platform instead of directly from a company’s website. Poshmark is among the most popular platforms to purchase from, alongside Instagram and Facebook Marketplace.

POSHMARK REPORT

Bundle Buy

When the user wants to purchase several items from one particular seller, the normal procedure that they go through is by going on adding to cart one by one item which makes no difference even if the items were by different sellers.

But by using the bundling feature, the buyers can ask the sellers to create a bundle out of the products and the entire package can be sent to the buyers together. This provides the users with the ease to shop for their closet along with all the accessories.

Inspired with Poshmark success? Want to develop such an incredible app?

A TikTok-like Stories Feature

Poshmark is about to look a lot more like TikTok. The new feature will appear at the top of users’ feed, showing closets they follow in a vertical slideshow, which disappears after 48 hours. By clicking on a tagged item, you’re directly taken to that seller’s closet to purchase or make them an offer. Stories are intended to improve organic engagement among users.

We should forget standard features that have to be on a website similar to Poshmark:

Authorization

Start using the platform shoppers and buyers should provide their names and email addresses. It is required by marketplace like Poshmark because users usually don’t like to fill registration forms and this has become a regular practice to use their existing social login credentials from Google or Facebook to sign up for the platform.

Seller profile

This page contains information about sellers (recent comments received and given, brands they follow, average shipping time, activities, registration date on the marketplace) based on this information buyers can decide whether to trust or not.

Listings of seller’s goods

It would be great if buyers will be able to see all products from a particular seller but also to sort them using filters like size, color, and price.

Item search

This function must be mandatory for shoppers to pick up items with convenient search functionality, intuitive product filtering, and simple product cards.

Product page

This page gives buyers a detailed description and several images to allow them to see the product from different angles with all details.

Payment

All transactions between buyers and sellers go through a payment gateway. This option allows buyers to pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal and enables sellers to get their money easily.

Apps like Poshmark use escrow payments, which means a third party regulates the payments between the two parties involved in the transaction. The escrow payments secure transactions since the escrow provider keeps the payment until all conditions are met. In terms of Poshmark similar marketplaces, until the buyers acknowledge receipt the payment will be withheld.

Trends: Poshmark vs Mercari vs Depop vs ThredUP

How do websites like Poshmark make money?

As we mentioned earlier Poshmark is a peer-to-peer marketplace where people sell new or used products to interested buyers.

If an item passes the threshold of 500$ (and thus classifies as a luxury good), Poshmark handles the authentication process. Other duties include the conducting of the payment and logistics.

Poshmark made many ways to monetize its user base.

Adding items

To list products on a marketplace, sellers have to pay fees. For example, Etsy charges sellers $0.20 to list one product on the website for four months.

Peer-To-Peer Sales

Poshmark does have any inventory but acts as a facilitator of the transaction. To provide this service, it takes a percentage from each transaction. Therefore, the Poshmark business model is called commission-based.

The platform focuses on making the process transparent as possible for its sellers, unlike its competitors. For every sale below $15, the company charges a flat fee of $2.95. Any sale above the $15 mark, a 20 percent commission is charged.

Boutique

Boutique sellers on Poshmark are sellers that operate more professionally, similar to a mortar store. To be a boutique on Poshmark means that the products sold are authentic, in new condition, and of good quality.

There is a couple of rules for boutique sellers, they should provide clear photos and product descriptions as proof of where the goods were bought. If you want to become a boutique seller, you need to get certified. 

Wholesale

In late 2015, Poshmark introduced a new service called Poshmark Wholesale. The portal allows sellers to buy bigger quantities of inventory to sell in their stores.

As such, sellers can take advantage of price discounts and make greater profits on their listings. To access the wholesale portal, sellers need to have at 10 or more sales, a rating of 4.5 or above, and the Boutique Certification.

Within the portal, sellers buy from established wholesale retailers such as April Spirit or Function & Fringe. Similar to the peer-to-peer transactions, Poshmark takes a percentage cut from each wholesale transaction. 

Promoted listings

There can be fees for items that a seller wants to be shown above others to get more visibility and attract potential buyers.

Is it possible to build a successful website like Poshmark?

It is better to have a detailed plan if you want to build a successful marketplace alternative to Poshmark. Here are several useful tips to consider while you building your application.

Positive customer experience

Providing a positive customer experience is very important for business nowadays. It means not only happy customers as a result of your performance but it can also bring you additional income.

Poshmark provides quick shipping with PoshPost (in cooperation with USPS). PoshPost doesn’t require stamps and troubles. When people buy items, Poshmark offers a pre-paid, pre-addressed label ready to be stuck on the box. After the purchase has been packaged, the seller can drop it off at a USPS mailbox or even have it picked up for free from their home!

Build a community

The key feature of Poshmark is its wide community. It isn’t only about fashion eCommerce but also a community where people can connect with each other and share their choices and preferences in fashion.

Posh Parties are organized by the platform and these shopping events allow people to meet up in the Poshmark app for shopping, sharing, and selling outfits and accessories. Posh Parties are a great opportunity to find listings and to get new followers.

Besides, Poshmark organizes PoshFests where people can meet their so-called Posh friends, listen to industry experts, learn how to grow a business, and get insights.

Creating a community and events are great engagement tools with your customers. Let’s overview what benefits get Poshmark from its social activity.

Prevent scams and inauthentic items

Fake goods as fashion items from exclusive designers are one of the main problems of online marketplaces. Poshmark fights with this issue via not releasing payment until the buyer confirms they’ve received the order that matches the description. Buyers have three days to return a product to the seller in case an item is misrepresented. If there is no claim is made within three days after delivery, payment is automatically sent to the seller. After that buyers won’t be able to get a refund.

Is secondhand marketplace a promising area for development?

Yes, it is a definitely promising avenue. There is a forecast that brand clothing (that was used before) market will reach $25 billion by the end of 2025, and its growth, although slowing, will still be well above the average growth of the trade market of clothing. We should admit that the secondhand market is really big and fast-growing. Only in the United States is the branded second-hand clothing market was $18 billion in 2019, or about 4% of the American clothing retail market according to the ThredUP report.

Is it expensive to build an app like Poshmark?

The price depends on many factors, including the number and complexity of features, development company rates, and whether the project is going to be developed from scratch or not. We recommend you to start development from an MVP that helps to understand how the users perceive a product, the barriers to its performances, and the improvements that can be made for improving the usefulness of the product in terms of UX, UI, and the technical aspects. After all these aspects get analyzed, then you can invest confidently in the future development of a product, think about premium features and services, and expect to get a good return on the investment. According to our estimation, the custom development from scratch will cost approximately $100 000.

Where should I start to design an app like Poshmark?

Building your unique solution can be a risky business so before start, you should better plan everything properly. It starts with an idea but if you do not know how to shape that idea and what audience will use your solution, then you will not uncover the full potential of your future project. So how to avoid this and create a solution that your potential audience needs? The answer is – concern the discovery phase before you initiate the software development. According to our experience whatever you represent (a startup or a successful company that needs digitalization), you need to dive into the discovery phase even if you think that you know everything about your business, future app, and potential users. On top of that, holistic research and gathering of information can help you to identify and eliminate all possible risks.

How much does it cost to build a website like Poshmark?

This is a matter of common interest, we can calculate the approximate cost of developing a social commerce application like Poshmark. The cost consists of many factors, including the number and complexity of features, development company rates, and whether the project is going to be developed from scratch. 

The development from scratch of an MVP will take 3-5 months. The development of a social commerce marketplace like Poshmark in the US and Europe will cost you around $160 000. To build such a project in Ukraine, it will cost approximately $100 000. That’s the cost of custom development from scratch.

Uber for Barbers: Build Own Mobile App to Promote Haircutting Service

Haircutting service is in demand all year round (link). It is a stable business and its market grows along with the cities’ population. Still, life is speeding up. People are constantly moving from one city to another and don’t have much time to find a suitable barber to make a haircut. The times when a man visited one barbershop for 30 years are gone.

Do you own a barber parlor? Has it been tough to grow your business recently? There’s one last frontier to conquer and it is expanding the reach of your services and meeting clients where they spend most of their time – in their phones, checking their apps.

Even if you run a small-scale operation, you will see the results in one and a half years. Consider it a business management tool to get orders, gather and store client data, communicate with your clients, receive payments, receive feedback, schedule appointments, or plan a home visit to deliver barber services on-demand. 

Making an Uber for hair cutting is a great idea if you’re a modern entrepreneur that keeps an eye on trends and feels the pulse of life. Connect barbers and clients in the easiest and straightforward way – through the mobile app. Uber for barbers is a simple mobile application idea and a good example of an on-demand mobile app. Surely, it won’t become a billion-dollar venture but can become a stable revenue stream.

We offer a ready-made solution with the possibility to customize your platform with the original design for roughly $ 38 000. But the final price depends on the nature of your unique inquiry.

You can create a portfolio, making photos of your clients before and after a visit to your barbershop or even if you make a home visit. A hairdressing app with such functionality can effectively serve any barber operation.   

Why do barbers need an app?

Many business industries need the implement software solution to optimize and automate work processes. Barbershops are not an exception. It can be really tiring and boring to wait to make the hair cut in the long queue. Also, manual lists of clients have exhausted their necessity and accuracy. This process can much easier and more pleasant for clients as well as for barbers. We covered the key advantages of integrating your barbershop business with an on-demand app:

  • excellent client experience
  • up to date company
  • constant connection with clients
  • ability to choose a suitable time and specialist
  • data analysis
  • access any time from anywhere
  • pictures and reviews of barbershops for clients
  • a quick search for a free barber in the local area
  • management of clients` appointments
  • ability to discuss a future haircut and cost for it in advance
  • flexible for online payments via gateway payment system

Booking App Features

  • Barber Portfolio – Lets users select the best barbers by checking their portfolios. This feature can also be used for monetization of the app. Barbers can promote their portfolio through the app and find clients with similar tastes in style.
  • Appointment Scheduling – This is a core feature that will save customers’ time and let them book a haircut in advance or in an hour.
  • Payment Gateway – Integrate PayPal, Stripe, or any other payment method you prefer.

Want to know what features should be included in your Uber app for barbers?

What Other Options Are There?

If your app is going to be more than just an additional business tool, it can turn around how you make money. Consider the fact that Uber or Airbnb are intermediaries that do not deliver services but provide a platform where homeowners meet tenants and passengers meet drivers. Their business model is Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS).

As a software provider, Uber and Airbnb make a profit from every deal made on the platform. Their ecosystems count millions of daily users and thousands of transactions. At this point, you use Airbnb to find a hotel, even though Airbnb is not a hotel business or hostel provider, it is a broker like Uber is.

To be a barber services provider can be the start of your business but the secret of successful delivery of services is booking optimization. That’s exactly what Booking.com does, gathering millions of travel dorms to its platform and advertising them to future guests, making it possible for the two to meet each other. As an intermediary, Booking.com gets its cut-off every transaction made on the platform.

We have been developing Uber-Like applications for a long time. Thanks to this we accumulated a huge base of knowledge, expertise, and even ready-made MVP. Using such modules, we reduce app costs down to the most affordable on the market.

How to make own Uber for Barbers App?

Functions for user app

There is already a high level of competition on the market of Uber apps for barbers. So it is crucial to implement common and also advanced functions in your solution. It has to cover all clients’ needs and respond to their expectations from this on-demand service. Here is the core function that should be available in the application from the professional side:

  1. Registration – the step can be performed via email or social media accounts
  2. Personal profile – filling the main info about every client like gender, name, age, phone number, address, skills, and experience
  3. View users profiles  – all barbers can look through the profiles of their clients but each view will be displayed for clients
  4. Bookings check – all barbers can track their schedules
  5. Acceptance or rejection of an appointment – usually the app shows all available hours to particular barbers, however, specialists have the ability to confirm or reject the booking. In any case, the clients will get notifications about the barber decision
  6. Notifications – barbers get notifications as well from the administrator about any updates
  7. Revenue – specialists can check the balance for the current month to know their revenue 
  8. Ratings – all clients have the ability to leave a rate and review about barber`s skills
  9. Private chat or call – after checking the booking, barbers can write or call a client to specify the details
  10. Schedule – every barber creates its own schedule and chooses workdays for clients to know if a particular specialist is available 
  11. Dashboard – the barbershop administrator can track all workers in the application and manage them as well as clients
  12. Payments – admin also manages all transactions, discounts, and special offers, add multiple payment methods and fix commission for barbers

Monetization

Uber for barbers app not just automates the workflow for barbershops and helps to earn even more money. When people search for a highly qualified barbershop, initially they will surf the web and read reviews about the local ones. The availability of mobile app attracts more clients as it simplifies the process of making appointments, choosing the barber, and finding the location. We covered the most common ways of monetization of your uber app for barbers:

Service Commission

There should be a fixed number of percent commission that will be taken for your services.

Marketing

You can also promote your app on the marketplaces, social media targeted at local people. Therefore, you will attract more client to your barbershop as not of the local one have a convenient mobile app.

Subscription

A month or annual subscription provides access to special offers, discounts, special prizes, and giveaways for clients who buy it.

Guaranteed Booking

To be sure that the client will not reject the appointment at the last minute, you can take a guarantee commission – it can behalf of the general sum or even 100% to avoid rescheduling.

Want to define what type of monetization would suit your Uber-like solution?

How much does it cost?

To make an app for Barbershop you need designers, developers, business analysts, project managers, and hard work by many professionals. Usually, the price for barber on-demand apps starts from $30k per one platform (iOS or Android) and it can increase, depending on the company you will choose. However, as we have ready-made developed modules as well as extensive experience in making such applications, our prices are lower. We may deliver your own service app with a unique design developed specifically for your barber business for about $38000 depending on the specification of your business. Our specialists made an MVP estimation for on-demand up, so check it out:

DevOpsHours
Business Analyst132
Scrum master338
JS293
HTML/CSS140
PHP449
Designer11
QA249
Admin12
Total1600

The average time of MVP development is 2-4 months. You can be sure to have a working prototype available for real users in about 3 months. During that time the design, functionality, integrated services, and final submission to AppStore and Google Play will all be done.

On-Demand Barbershop Cost

The rough cost of it is near $10k – $15k. Be sure, that the app will be fully custom and unique.
And pieces of code will be used to save your budget.

How to start Development process?

To start development with an outsourcing team, you must give yourself the answer to such questions:
1) Would you like to have the same functionality as Shortcut App has at the moment? Or you are comfortable to start with less for 1st release?
2) Do you have any access to the admin panel of Shortcut?
3) How would you like to monetize the app?
4) Do you have any limited budget or deadlines for this project?

Conclusion

Before the beginning of the development Uber app for barbers, you need to research the modern market of the same apps in your area, what functions and features they have, what services they offer to compare them, and define the crucial. Also, it is important to realize if your app will be useful and necessary, solve your clients’ complexities and meet their needs and if it will be beneficial for your business. Building a business strategy is key to success, however, you need to create it with the help of a professional Business Analyst who has already experience in this industry.

The Best Websites With Apple Pay Option

Six years have passed since the moment when mobile payments were transformed by Apple Pay. The number of active Apple Pay users keeps constantly growing. And according to Statista, last year 441 million Apple Pay users performed 10 billion transactions. The numbers are quite impressive, aren’t they? And it is not a surprise because our way of living changed and now it demands more fast and convenient services. It is easier to pay using your Apple device rather than a physical wallet. 

Have you noticed that less and less people buy things in malls? They’d rather make an online purchase instead of standing in the line for a fitting room or a counter. It is much faster and less tedious to choose an item and make one-tap payment on the websites. And that is what makes Apple Pay so popular. We have already covered the topic of Apple Pay on websites, how to implement it and what business advantages it offers. And now we would like to share with you a list of top websites supporting Apple Pay. 

Where to use your digital wallet?

Without doubt, Apple Pay irreversibly changed the way we do online shopping. Each year more and more websites add it as a payment option. Apple Pay has numerous advantages and among them we’d like to emphasize such key ones as convenience and security. 

  • Convenience. The less actions a customer has to perform when making an order – the better. Just imagine how irritated customers may end up if they do their Christmas shopping. They probably need to buy various items on different websites, which, in turn, make them enter payment details again and again. That’s just too much effort. So Apple Pay resolved this major issue and made all its users forget about an annoying checkout procedure. With a single tap on Touch ID sensor a person can handle all purchases and transfer money to a retailer’s account.
  • Security. You’ve probably heard how the whole databases of online retailers can get hacked or stolen. It is insecure to store your card number on a device. So Apple Pay offers a perfect secure solution. It transfers your money using a special Dynamic Security Code and Device Account Number. You will be charged only after you tapped Touch ID sensor and your fingertip was recognized and accepted by the system. You actual card numbers will not be stored on Apple servers. 

It is understandable why many big merchants enable the Apple Pay option on their websites. And it is only a matter of time before all more or less big online stores will support it. The integration process is not complicated and does not require any special skills. It is way harder to develop a web application itself than incorporate Apple Pay in it.  So in case you are only thinking about web app development and you need a solution for business, take time and think about all crucial features and payment method it is going to offer. 

☝PRO ADVICE:

Before you make a final decision on what your iOS application should be, take a minute and read about native and hybrid app development. It will help you to choose the right type of app for your business.

But before all retailers will start accepting Apple Pay, let’s take a look at the ones that are already doing it. 

Airbnb

This service is a favorite of all travelers. It allows to book apartments all over the world, communicate with your hosts, leave honest feedback and rate the place you’ve stayed in.  It was one of the first websites which enabled Apple Pay and keeps successfully using it right now. 

Best Buy

A huge consumer electronics retailer which offers its customers literally everything starting with various house appliances like fridges or washing machines and ending with digital cameras, mobile phones and even software. Dealing with daily influx of customers is not an easy thing and yet Best Buy managed to make shopping experience better by implementing Apple Pay into its website. 

Etsy

Probably everyone has heard about Etsy and perhaps even bought something on their website. Having a huge variety of vintage and hand-made goods, this retailer understands the importance of customer satisfaction which depends not only on goods but also on services. So should you decide to buy something chic and unique, Etsy website with Apple Pay will make this experience enjoyable. 

Groupon

As of now 15 countries can appreciate this marketplace selling services, activities and goods. No wonder Groupon became an Apple Pay-friendly store. Numerous merchants united on this web platform to offer a full range of services. It is possible to buy everything you can imagine on Groupon – fitness classes, cosmetics, food, various memberships, accessories, flowers and many more. 

Kickstarter

Due to this crowdfunding platform, many startups raised enough money to become a success. Kickstarter has a large community of people ready to back up any cool innovative project by investing in it whatever sum they can afford. To make investing experience even more pleasant Kickstarter introduced Apple Pay and that turned out pretty well for both startups and their financial supporters. 

Grubhub

Food delivery is extremely popular and brings tons of money to companies. What can be better than ordering a set of delicious meals from a restaurant you like? Grubhub is a huge marketplace that has a website and mobile application and connects foodies with local takeout places. To ensure total customers satisfaction they offer various methods of payment including Apple Pay. 

Instacart 

The creators of this service understand the importance of fast delivery. By using Instacart one can order same-day groceriy pick-up and delivery from a store nearby. A couple of clicks and you have your food ordered, one tap on a screen – you’ve made a purchase using Apple Pay. One more great thing about this service is that anyone can easily become a shopper for someone else and earn money instead of spending them. 

Lyft

Everybody has used Uber (which by the way started supporting Apple Pay in 2014) many times but not everybody knows that there are similar services with even more wide spectrum of transportation and ride sharing services. F.e. Lyft – a holistic system (web platform + mobile application) allowing you to become a driver or get a ride at once. Moreover, Lyft has scooters and bicycles for rent and even organizes food delivery.  With such a big variety of services it is mandatory to implement different payment options for the customers convenience. 

Gametime 

All sports fans have already forgotten how exhausting buying a ticket can be. If previously they used to wait in the long queues, now with a couple of taps on the screen they can purchase a ticket for baseball, basketball, hockey, football and other games. Such ticket distributing services can’t manage without Apple Pay which makes all financial transactions easier. 

Priceline

This platform is a real finding for all travelers because it offers renting of cars, booking of cruises, flights and hotels at cheaper prices. There are even additional discounts for those who purchased a bundle (f.e. hotel apartment + flight ticket + car rent). All customers can not only pay conveniently via Apple Pay, but also save money. 

What changes await for Apple Pay after iOS 14 release?

This year Apple surprised us with some innovations at its WWDC. And while all users are alredy waiting for new iOS 14 to play with the brand new options, the app owners and developers start being concerned. What is going to happen with the already existing solutions? Should you seriously think about updating your apps?

Based on our experience, we can say that it is better to face iOS updated prepared, because no matter what app you own, the new App Clips option will require its code review.

And now as to the influence of App Clips on apps with Apple Pay option. First of all it is necessary to mention that thanks to App Clips users will be able to use a certain features of the solution without downloading it from the App Store. So all companies which have apps related to renting, booking and services providing and have Apple Pay option will need to update their apps. It will be necessary to develop App Clip of the app (which is basically a lightweight version of it) and make sure that Apple Pay functions correctly.

Also many resources discuss the new possibility that Apple Pay will get in iOS 14. This will be an option allowing to scan QR codes or traditional barcodes using an iPhone camera and make instant payments. Which is great if we speak about customer experience. Here is a sneak peek of the upcoming feature we’ve managed to find on the Internet.

It is high time to think about your application update since many new solution will offer this new option, and if you want your app to stay highly competitive you need to alter it. App Clips and payments via QR codes are predicted to be extremely popular especially among people from 18 to 40 years old (which is quite huge potential customer base that you can get if your solution will be up-to-date).

Also if your solution is related to providing services or selling some goods via website or mobile application, it will be reasonable to think about your own custom CMS. In case you haven’t heard about this solution.

FAQ

Can Apple Pay be used on wearables?

Yes, it can be set up on Apple Watches. To do this you need to open Apple Watch app on iPhone, find Wallet option and tap Add Card. After that follow the instructions and everything is set up.

Where is Apple Pay available?

As of now it can be used in 40 countries all over the world including US, UK, China, Canada, Japan, Australia, Ukraine, Russia and many more. You can check the full list of countries on the Internet.

Is it secure to use Apple Pay?

Absolutely, since Apple does not save your card numbers or transactions data on its servers. Everything is performed through Wallet app and is kept there. Also Apple Pay makes a special token that replaces your payment details, and device account number is encrypted and securely stored.

To sum it up 

As you can see from the variety of stores accepting Apple Pay, this payment method works for any industry. The technologies nowadays aim to make our mobile and web experience more simple and secure. So before purchasing anything customers tend to ask themselves a question: “Why share my debit card numbers and store them on my device if I can avoid all risks and pay safely with one tap of a finger?” This means that way more customers choosing among similar stores would prefer the one with the convenient payment options.

How to get PayPal Payment Gateway for my Website?

Whether you are using a website to sell goods or services, the choice of the right payment system may directly affect your conversion rates. Needless to say, that competition in the e-commerce sector is high and it is always a good idea to process customer’s payments through your own web page instead of relying on 3rd-party applications and external services.

Generally, the payment system is used to deliver transaction information: receiver, amount, method of payment, etc. There are plenty of online payment gateways nowadays.

The most popular payment systems that facilitate E-commerce & SaaS are:

PayPal

Google Payments

Stripe

Dwolla

Braintree

Amazon payments (Amazon Pay)

PayPal Gateway stands out as the most notable and widespread online payment system to your Website.

Thanks to its excellent security reputation PayPal has a massive consumer base. As for merchants the system offers easy setup process and requires a little technical knowledge to get started. This article covers key topics of PayPal payment integration and main APIs that are used for development.

Want to know what other APIs can help you scale your business? Find the list of top APIs for business in this article. 

Pros and Cons of Integrate PayPal Payment System

Advantages:

  • High transaction speed.
  • Secure – safe for users and protected by PayPal Purchase Protection.
  • Widespread – 200 countries, 26 currencies, 200 million users.
  • A wide variety of APIs and interaction methods to choose from.
  • Vast knowledge base – thanks to PayPal popularity there are tons of manuals, community threads, educational material, etc.
  • Trusted – loyal audience and excellent reputation. The system is well known for its safety and has already become a standard solution among e-commerce platforms.
  • There is an option to pay not only with a credit card but also using PayPal account.

Disadvantages:

  • No currency conversion option.
  • A wide range of APIs and methods makes it difficult to choose a suitable one.
  • PayPal Sandbox is a separate platform. That imposes some limitations and slightly lowers the interaction speed. Also, this may cause some discrepancies and issues at the stage of moving to production version.
  • There is a problem with IPN notifications reception and webhooks (especially in Sandbox version). However, there is always an option to resend notification from admin panel of PayPal.

Payment methods supported by PayPal Solutions

Express Checkout. Fast, no setup fees. Upon processing the payment from PayPal side, user is redirected back to our web application. This method is available only for users who already have a PayPal account.
Direct Payment. This API is used to accept credit card payments from customers who don’t have PayPal account. The method is a way to integrate a transaction process into your website. Moreover, Direct Payment improves customer experience as it is easy to use and familiar to them.
Recurring payment. The subscription as it is. There are several APIs that can implement this method.
Mass Payment. It is used to split payment between multiple accounts.

Getting started

First, you need to sign up and provide PayPal with information about your product/service/company, in order to verify your “lawful alignment”. You can do this here.

You’ll receive an access key upon completion. Keep that key safe! It’s your id so that the service could recognize your app and its unique settings.

  1. Go to PayPal Payment Buttons.
  2. Select a button type to create. The “Buy Now” button is a great choice if you sell only one or a few items on your site. If you sell multiple items on your site, choose the “Shopping Cart” button to let your customers add an item to their shopping cart.
  3. Enter the item name and price. You can also customize the button with additional features. Click Create Button.
  4. Click Select Code to select the button code.
  5. Copy and paste the button code in to your own web page code.
  6. This new button will appear on the “My Saved Buttons” page if you’d like to edit it at any point.

You can always edit your button. Click here to see how.

Tip:

  • If you’d like to allow your customer to provide feedback, create a ‘Text Entry’ field and name it. This field will appear above your button.
  • The ‘Email URL’ option is only available if you are not using any drop down menus, text boxes or user selections. If these selections have been made you will be required to use the HTML code to create your button. We cannot send a URL with these options.

How to Integrate PayPal payment Gateway to your Website

Get an API

On My Apps & Credentials) click “Create App”. Select REST API. This is the most popular API for development, so we’ll use it as an example.

All necessary settings and authentication for API access are in SANDBOX API CREDENTIALS tab.

Sandbox Account

Configure settings from SANDBOX WEBHOOKS and SANDBOX APP SETTINGS, in case you continue working in a sandbox environment. Next, create a test user (SANDBOX – Accounts tab) in order to proceed with Sandbox.

NOTE: It takes several hours for settings to apply.

Log into sandbox.paypal.com (for SANDBOX) or paypal.com under main (owner) account. Go to profile settings > My selling tools tab and fill in all required fields.

NOTE: Don’t forget to set IPN notifications up and assign URL in Instant payment notifications.

Principles of communication between PayPal and user app

  1. The application makes a request. It is app’s responsibility to create a transaction and send it to PayPal via specific payment method or API.
  2. PayPal works with banks. If your transaction is processed and validated properly (otherwise you’ll get an error), PayPal will send a request to the bank.
  3. PayPal sends notifications (IPN). Whether bank accepts or denies the transaction, PayPal sends a notification to your app.
  4. Instant Payment Notification (IPN) tab.
  5. It’s your responsibility to create proper methods for the app to process IPNs.

APIs overview

PayPal supports two data transfer formats to send requests and respond. Both are made using HTTP protocol:

  • NVP (Name-Value Pair).
  • SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).

It is preferable to use NVP because of its flexibility. This article covers APIs and SDKs that goes with NVP format.

NOTE: It is not recommended to use SDK for PayPal development. Some methods may change over time, this could lead to potential failures.

Website Payments Standard API. This is the simplest way to make a payment. It allows paying by card or via PayPal account. The payment is processed from PayPal side after that customer is redirected back to your site’s confirmation page. In the best case scenario, you just need to send payment data using POST request.

NOTE: Although it is the easiest way to process PayPal payments, you can check the transaction status only by IPN.

Express checkout. This is the SDK used to process Express checkout payment method. It is used to pay via PayPal account.

NOTE: Express checkout available for Premier and Business members only.

Checkout flow:

  1. SDK makes an API call to get a token from PayPal and sends transaction details.
  2. If the token is granted, a customer will be directed to PayPal to select payment method and shipping address.
  3. The customer makes or denies the payment.
  4. PayPal returns customer to your site.
  5. API makes a call to retrieve transaction details.
  6. Customer completes an order.
  7. API makes a call to request payment status.
  8. PayPal makes the transaction and sends IPN, or you can check status manually through transaction history in your account.

ADVICE: Don’t rely on PayPal’s IPN. There is always a chance that your server won’t be available during notification session. Use your own cron to check payment status.

Transaction status can be obtained in PayPal API by requesting “search for transactions for the period”. Exact methods of making such call you can find here.

Adaptive Payments. With the help of Adaptive Payments API you can select the most suitable payment scenario. For example: to split payment between multiple peers. Learn more here.

Payflow. Payflow API SDK is used for direct payments. Direct payment refers to a payment made by credit card.

Variants of use:

  • Payflow Pro – is used with iframe. Form used to enter card data is generated from PayPal’s side. Your site is not involved during the input process. Therefore, Payflow Pro grants better security but makes it difficult to customize the application form.
  • Payflow Link – Similar to Payflow Pro.
  • Payflow – Opposite to Payflow Pro. The application form is displayed on merchant’s website. This method may concern your customers, as they need to input credit card information on your site, which may seem less secure than PayPal web page. The credit card data is transferred via HTTPS.
NOTE: Use HTTPS to secure data transfer.

IMPORTANT: Your website needs to be PCI-DSS certified (PCI PA-DSS certification for script libraries) in order to process users’ credit card information. Otherwise, it is recommended not to involve in customers data processing.

Payflow is almost similar to Express Checkout. The differences are in SDK and communication flow. Again, it is not recommended to rely on PayPal’s IPN.

Unlike Express Checkout, Payflow uses three Inquiry Actions:

  • to View the Status of Payments.
  • to View Recurring Transaction Details.
  • to View Optional Transaction Details.

Learn more here.

Mass Pay can be applied to consolidate multiple payments in a single transaction. This API is used for mass payments. It’s available only for users with PayPal account as it requires PayPal email address.

Checkout flow:

  1. PayPal API forms a transaction list and sends it to PayPal.
  2. The payment is pending until IPN notifications about all sub-transactions are received.
  3. If for any reason, your server couldn’t receive IPN, you should manually enter PayPal account and resend it.

Difficulties in PayPal payment gateway integration

PayPal offers two IDEs:

  1. Production version – paypal.com.
  2. Test version –  sandbox.paypal.com.

The second one is used to test system operation without losing money on real transactions. Those two IDEs are different, this can cause errors during transition to production version.

Pieces of Advice for PayPal website integration

  • Make sure IPN is turned on.
  • Stick to one type of methods.
  • Pay attention while setting up paypal.com or sandbox.paypal.com accounts.
  • Do not count on quick transaction processing, but make sure that you have permitted to accept payments inside your app settings. (You can find this option in Sandbox app settings/App feature options/Accept payments/on).
  • Do not rely heavily on PayPal documentation. Whilst it is mainly accurate, there might be outdated methods.
  • Recurring made via Express Checkout can’t be canceled while in “pending” status. It is better to inform users about this issue in advance.
  • There might be an issue when PayPal makes an error output to the customer. It’s better to hide those notifications, because they may contain private information.

Conclusion

Although PayPal is a powerful and multifunctional payment system, it is a vast and complex platform. This may cause difficulties during the development process and may require additional time for testing and waiting for transactions to pass. Finally, it is important to read the documentation before starting the development. Good luck with the development and you are welcome to contact us if you need any help.