el producto #60 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Spotify’s IPO, Google’s open-source App toolkit, Uber Health, Netflix’s content expansion for 2018, Voice shopping growth, Why stratups fail & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto!
📰 What’s going on
Spotify officially filed for a $1B IPO; the company reported $4.99B in revenue in 2017, up from $3.6B in 2016, though it also reported greater losses: it lost $1.5B in 2017, more than double the year prior. Spotify further reported that its paid subscribers grew at a rate of 46% YoY, reaching 159M monthly users, 71M of whom pay for a premium subscription.
GitHub suffers largest DDoS attack ever recorded at 1.35Tbps of traffic; the attacker(s) used memcached servers rather than a botnet; the technique is known as an amplification attack; GitHub experienced outages before DDoS mitigation service Akamai Prolexic diverted traffic to scrubbing centers, where legitimate traffic was forwarded to GitHub.
Google launches Learn with Google AI: an educational resource for developers seeking to advance their AI and machine learning skills; includes the free Machine Learning Crash Course; more than 18k people have enrolled in the course so far.
Google launches open-source toolkit to build Android and iOS apps; Flutter (in beta) supports stateful hot reloads, meaning a developer can update source code and see changes reflected on a mobile device almost instantly; the Dart language-focused toolkit also supports updating an existing app with Flutter features without having to recreate the entire app.
Facebook rolls out Messenger 2.3 with more features for businesses; the site plugin now features a setup tool and firms can adjust the color of the Messenger icon on their website; businesses can also customize greeting text, and a quick reply tool lets customers auto-populate a message with their email or phone number; Messenger also includes new metrics tools.
Facebook ends “Explore” feed test, which saw posts from publishers and brands moved from News Feed to a dedicated tab; the company launched the test in six countries last fall; Facebook surveyed users in the test group and found that, overall, people preferred all news items in a single feed.
Twitter launches Bookmarks; provides an alternative to the Favorite feature, which indicates positive sentiment about a tweet; unlike the Favorite feature, bookmarking a tweet does not notify the tweet author.
Microsoft launches Soundscape, an iOS app that offers 3D audio maps; aimed at those with vision impairment, notifies users of street names, nearby stores, and other places of interest.
Uber launches Uber Health, lets health providers book rides for patients; a healthcare worker can arrange a journey to or from a clinic or hospital, even if the patient isn’t an Uber user; patients receive SMS updates.
Apple enables snowboarding and skiing tracking for Watch Series 3 apps; multiple snow sports apps have updated to take advantage of the new capabilities; snow workouts can count toward Activity rings; some apps track calories burned, as reflected in the Activity app.
Apple plans to launch an iPhone with a 6.5-inch edge-to-edge display this year; will utilize an OLED display with resolution similar to that of the iPhone X; Apple also plans a successor the iPhone X and a more affordable model; all will feature Face ID.
Apple uses Google Cloud to store iCloud user data; Apple’s iOS security guide previously disclosed that Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS were used for iCloud storage; the most recent version excludes Azure and adds Google.
Apple hands over operation of its Chinese iCloud servers. The iPhone maker is partnering with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data, owned by the provincial government, to comply with strict new rules for foreign tech companies.
Netflix signs a partnership with pay TV Sky; Sky will include Netflix content alongside programming from HBO and others as part of its Sky Q platform; the service will launch in the UK and Ireland later this year with more countries to follow. Sky Q will also add Spotify this spring.
YouTube updates its Live service with real-time automated English captioning; users can also now play back chats after a live stream has ended; new geo-tagging feature enables users to browse feeds nearby.
Amazon plans to open 6 more cashierless Amazon Go stores this year. Likely in Seattle and LA.
Amazon expanding his connected home presence with the acquisition of video doorbell company Ring (for estimated $1b); last month, Ring acquired wireless LED lighting company Mr. Beams.
Spanish mobile operator Telefonica launches Aura, its new voice-activated, AI-powered assistant; will run via a branded app in Argentina, Brazil, and Britain; through Telefonica’s pay-TV platform in Spain; and on Facebook Messenger in Chile and Germany; will integrate with Google Assistant soon and Microsoft’s Cortana in 2019.
Dropbox announces native integration with Google’s G Suite; more than half of Dropbox users have a G Suite account.
Ford is preparing an autonomous ride-share and delivery service in Miami; ride-share and delivery fleets will operate separately during the pilot phase but vehicles might perform double duty at a later time; Ford has partnered with Domino’s and Postmates for delivery, and Lyft for rides.
The California DMV approves testing of fully driverless vehicles on public roads; will no longer require a safety driver, but cars will have to be monitored by a remote operator who can take over at a moment’s notice; the new rules go into effect in April.
Autonomous driving tech company Pony.ai launches a self-driving ride-share service in China; it is the first such service publicly available in the country; initially limited to transporting passengers to and from the Nansha municipal government building.
Samsung open pre-orders for Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus; begin shipping mid-March; both feature Super AMOLED screens and are available in blue, black, or purple. Their cameras are equipped with AR Emoji and Super slo-mo features.
Samsung announces DeX Pad which enables Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus to function as a desktop computer; the device connects to an external monitor and runs a full desktop environment; the smartphone’s display serves as a touchpad and will eventually include touch-keyboard support.
🎰 The week in figures
Netflix plans to have about 700 original movies and shows available in 2018, 80 of which will be international programming; Netflix earmarked $8B for this year’s original content. Netflix spent $6.3B on original and acquired programming in 2017; compares with Amazon ($4.5B), and Hulu ($2.5B); Apple and Facebook both spent about $1B each last year.
The US shop-by-voice market will grow from the current annual $2B to $40B by 2022, according to a survey of smart speaker owners by OC&C Strategy Consultants; Juniper Research estimates that 55% of US households will own a smart speaker within the next four years; currently, grocery shopping represents 20% of all US voice shopping
Google has been asked to delist 2.4M URLs since European “right to be forgotten” laws were implemented in 2014; the company has removed 43% of links, and has received more than 650k individual requests; top 1k requesters were responsible for the delisting of almost 21% of URLs.
📚 Stuff to think about
Studies show that ride-hailing companies are making city streets more congested. Will Uber and Lyft bring the opposite of what they preach?
The Art of the lazy Product Manager. Parul Singh argues that high growth startups need to build less, not more. Check her 10 principals to tackle a fast paced developement / delivery environment in a more strategic way.
Why startups fail? CB Insights looks at 101 startup postmortems.