Air Alert and VPN
App charts show new reality in Ukraine and Russia
4/11/2022, 8:27 p.m
The Russian invasion of Ukraine changed people's lives abruptly. This is also shown by a look at the app downloads, which look very different today than before February 24th and reflect the development of the past few weeks.
Smartphones are an integral part of most people's lives these days and the applications they use most often reflect their everyday lives in some way. "Bloomberg" has used this circumstance to use the app charts to track how realities and priorities have changed since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Putin's empire.
Two Ukrainian government apps in front
With the attack, the top 10 Ukrainian app stores changed abruptly. Within a week, downloads of the securely encrypted messenger Signal increased by 700 percent. Then the government's Air Alert app, which warns its users of airstrikes, took the top spot. Both applications are in the top 3 to date.
Russians use VPN services for Instagram and Facebook
In Russia, on the other hand, downloads of apps whose VPN services conceal location and enable censorship bypass increased. The biggest boost for these applications came from a ban on Facebook and Instagram. Recently, however, Russians have also been trying out alternatives to the blocked social networks, with Fiesta in particular as an Instagram substitute, which is very popular.
In mid-March, the Starlink app took second place in the Ukrainian app stores after Elon Musk activated his Starlink satellite internet service for the country and delivered receiving stations at the request of the government in Kyiv. The significantly increased downloads of Privat 24, the application of the largest Ukrainian bank, are also interesting. However, the article leaves open why this is the case.
Language learning apps for refugees and helpers
Five weeks after the start of the war, Telegram overtook Whatsapp as the most used communication app in Russia, although this Facebook service was not banned. According to "Bloomberg", this is mainly due to state propaganda and the fact that news media use Telegram. The combination of messenger and social network was also able to push Signal back from the top in Ukraine.
The fact that the language learning app Busuu made it into the top 10 says a lot about the situation in Ukraine. People use them to prepare for a possible or planned escape. According to Bloomberg, the application wasn't even in the top 800 before the Russian attack.
A similar increase can be observed with Google translator and Duolingo – and not only in Ukraine. The company reports that the number of people learning Ukrainian in Poland has increased by more than 2,600 percent. The language has increased by almost 600 percent worldwide, most of them learned it in the USA.