Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto.
🎰 The week in figures
~$20B - Alibaba confidentially files for an IPO in Hong Kong; it’s unknown how much the company plans to raise but a report speculates it could be as much as $20B; it will be Alibaba’s second public listing following its $25B debut on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014.
1B - 5G devices China government predicts will be in the country by 2024; officials also expects 75% of the nation will have access to 5G services by that time; it’s anticipated that the cities of Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu will spearhead China’s 5G rollout.
500 - Facebook says it will create 500 new jobs in London by the end of 2019; includes 100 positions focused on AI; once all roles are filled, Facebook will have more than 3k staff based in the city.
📰 What’s going on
Facebook has signed agreements with over a dozen companies for its yet-to-be-announced blockchain platform; includes Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Uber; the partners will invest $10M each in the platform and take a role in its governing consortium; Facebook is expected to announce the service next week.
WhatsApp is threatening to take legal action against those who advertise software to bypass the platform’s anti-spam restrictions; follows reports of low-cost tools that let users send bulk messages from anonymous numbers.
iOS 13 displays a map showing a given app’s location tracking activities when asking for permission to continue tracking in the background; also displays the developer’s reasoning for tracking; the user can switch to tracking only while the app is active or allow background tracking.
Apple-owned Shazam adds the ability to recognize songs playing via headphones to its Android app; known as Pop-up Shazam, the feature works across apps offering a small floating icon with details of the track that’s playing.
Twitter launches its first Developer Labs API endpoints, GET/users and GET/tweets; marks the public debut of the Labs program, which gives developers access to pre-release APIs; plans next to launch Filtered Tweets Recent Search.
Airbnb launches Adventures, a new itinerary category that features accommodations bundled with experiences, such as wildlife encounters; Airbnb is working directly with local experts and tour companies; a third-party verifies certifications when needed.
Amazon is shutting down its food delivery services Daily Dish and Restaurants; reasons for the move undisclosed; Daily Dish, which offers lunch deliveries to workplaces, closes June 14; Restaurants, which provides deliveries from nearby eateries, closes June 24; Amazon shuttered the UK version of Restaurants last year.
Uber announces Melbourne, Australia as the first international market for Uber Air, the company’s flight-on-demand project; had initially planned Dubai as the first international market, but then requested cities present cases for their aerial transit needs.
Uber plans to start testing drone deliveries in San Diego as early as next month; Uber Elevate will carry fast food orders as part of a limited trial, though the company is still waiting on FAA approval; Kate Fraser, Uber Elevate’s head of policy, posits drone food delivery is at least three years from rolling out fully.
Uber announces its new autonomous vehicle: a Volvo XC90 SUV with computer-controlled steering and braking systems installed at production; the company previously retrofitted 250 XC90s with self-driving tech; the new models will replace the old soon; also features new cybersecurity protections, backup power, more.
Uber COO Barney Harford and CMO Rebecca Messina are leaving the company; CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an email to employees that core business heads would report directly to him; Khosrowshahi is combining the marketing, communications, and policy teams; Jill Hazelbaker will lead the combined group.
Scooter-share company Bird to acquire competitor Scoot; Scoot launched in 2011, offering moped rentals; the company has since expanded to bikes and scooters; the deal will enable Bird to operate its scooter-share program in San Francisco.
Google says it will roll out general support for dynamic email in Gmail from July 2; the AMP-based system lets users take actions within an email; for example, users can RSVP to an event or scroll through an image carousel; the feature will initially be available in web Gmail only, but Google has plans to add support for its mobile apps.
Google launches Chrome 76 beta; includes a feature to prevent websites from detecting when a user is in Incognito Mode; also adds new default controls for handling Flash and Dark Mode.
Google tweets an image of Google Pixel 4; confirms a square camera unit which seemingly houses two lenses and an additional sensor.
Google re-releases Android Q Beta 4 after pulling the previous build due to bootloop issues for some Pixel devices; the beta includes slight changes to dark mode and new settings menu items that hint at native support for facial recognition unlock.
Microsoft says it will launch two next-gen Xbox consoles in 2020; codenamed Project Scarlett, at least one of the machines promises to be four times as powerful as Xbox One; will support 8K resolution, ray-tracing, and framerates of up to 120fps.
Mozilla plans to launch a premium version of Firefox this fall; Mozilla CEO Chris Beard says the company is working on a subscription service with features such as cloud storage and a VPN.
Dropbox launches significant redesign featuring deep integrations with Slack, Zoom, more; supports search across all enterprise tools, file notes with tags, more; functions as a desktop for the cloud, providing a file tree and a finder.
Helium launches LongFi peer-to-peer IoT network; the company offers sensors that connect via $495 hot spots; Helium incentivizes users to contribute to the hot spot network, promising they will earn a yet-to-launch cryptocurrency; Lime will use the tech for tracking scooters; InvisiLeash plans to integrate it into trackable pet collars.
Tencent launches a video streaming service in Thailand; known as WeTV, it represents the company’s first video operation outside of China; WeTV will offer a mix of Chinese and Thai content.
Huawei says it’s in the process of preparing its Hongmengmobile OS for release; Huawei VP Andrew Williamson says Hongmeng Is being tested in China and suggests it could be ready to launch within months; follows US trade restrictions that block Google from licensing its build of Android to the company. Huawei has filed trademarks for its Hongmeng mobile OS in multiple markets including Europe, Canada, and South Korea.
Huawei is considering using a version of Sailfish OS for its mobile devices; the company has held talks with Russia about using its Sailfish fork Aurora; Huawei is currently testing Aurora on several devices; it is also weighing the possibility of moving some production to Russia
Huawei is displaying ads on some users’ devices; booking.com logos are appearing on lock screens for users in a number of countries including the UK, Norway, and South Africa; the marketing is seemingly linked to Huawei’s stock landscape backgrounds.
Samsung launches its $100 Galaxy Fit wearable in the US; the waterproof fitness tracker features an AMOLED display with a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope; automatically tracks several activities including walking, running, and biking.
Mary Meeker 2019 Internet Trends report; this year’s deck covers social media’s amplification of negative behavior and extremist ideologies, the rise of free-to-play models in consumer and enterprise markets, the evolution of cyber-attacks, and much more.
How AWS’s hivemind of engineers develop and maintain their internal tech. A peek into Amazon structure and staff practices.
Sharing customer insights with development colleagues. An essential yet usually mishandled and ignored practice of successful teams.
Innovation Project Scorecard: evidence trumps opinion. Strategyzer proposes a framework to make the prioritization of big strategic initiatives more effective, fact-driven, and transparent.
6 must reads for onboarding tactics. An extensive selection on how to help newbies succeed (and stay), by First Round Review.
How AI bias is reflecting global inequalities. A recent study comparing household item recognition on lower income countries by different AI systems unveiled a strong bias towards the societies in which the systems were developed.
What drives decisions in Data Science Products? Jack Moore talks to Jamie Norman, Head of Product at Redeye International, and shares the decisions that are unique to the process of developing products which leverage data science.
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