el producto #61 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Facebook’s voice status updates, UK govt driverless plans, Google’s iMessage extension, Types of innovation, Apple ditching the notch, Xiaomi in US & more.

Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto!

📰 What’s going on

Amazon plans to eventually operate a grocery delivery service in France; the French supermarket operator Systeme U previously said it was in discussions with Amazon about a potential grocery supply deal.

Amazon launches a free library of built-in sound clips for Alexa skills developers; creators can use the sounds, which comprise 14 categories, independently or mix them with their own sounds.

Apple will move away from the iPhone X notch design in 2019; the company is in discussions with suppliers about how it plans to retain the Face ID technology with a full-screen design.

Google introduces free calls to landlines and mobile phones for Google Home users in the UK; users can call any number from their Google Contacts, as well as listed businesses; Google introduced free calls in the US and Canada last year.

Google launches iMessage extension with its iOS Search app update; adds web search inside iMessage and simplifies sharing search results in a chat; users can also search within specific categories common for iMessage conversations: Weather, Food, Nearby, etc; also added Safari feature: related content when sharing a page.

Google updates G Suite with an activity dashboard that reveals who has accessed files and when; for example, if a manager sees that an employee viewed a chart before it was updated, the manager can send an alert to that employee to view the chart again.

Google hopes some of the technology and concepts behind AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) will be adopted as web standards; also plans to give pages with AMP-like features and performance more prominence in search; for example, the Top Stories Carousel will include non-AMP pages that employ certain new web standards.

Google is rolling out its computer vision-powered Lens feature to all Android phones with Google Photos installed; Lens can create a contact from a business card, identify a dog’s breed via photo, more; some devices will be able to access Lens via Google Assistant; coming soon to iOS.

Google-owned home technology company Nest pulls all its products from Amazon; move reportedly a response to Amazon’s refusing to stock Nest’s newest products, including thermostats and a home security system.

Facebook is testing Voice Clips as a status update choice among a small number of users in India; the social media site does not impose a time limit on how long the voice updates can be; they are not editable once recorded; feature already available in Messenger.

Social media app Vero now has nearly 3M users, up from less than 150k three weeks ago; the Instagram competitor allows users to take and post photos and features a chronological feed; users can also tightly control which of their posts different friends see and which of their friends’ posts they see.

Porn sites operating in the UK will soon use the tool AgeID to verify that users are at least 18 years old; AgeID, which Pornhub owner Mindgeek unveiled, will create encrypted logins enabling age verification using compatible sites; AgeID will be implemented in the UK in April, when the Digital Economy Act mandating age checks takes effect.

Grab is finalizing an agreement to acquire some of Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia; as part of the deal Uber is expected to take as much as a 20% stake in Grab; additionally, Grab is in talks with SoftBank and others in an effort to raise an unknown sum of money.

The UK government launches a three-year review of the country’s road laws in preparation for driverless vehicles; the study aims to identify existing rules that could impede the introduction of self-driving cars and to understand how they’ll integrate with public transport networks.

Peer-to-peer shopping and delivery platform Grabr raises $8M Series A; the service pairs an international traveler with a product buyer; the traveler purchases desired items then transports and delivers them; primarily targets items that cannot be purchased online or those that could see delays in shipping customs; raised $14.2M to date.

Xiaomi plans to enter the US smartphone market by the end of 2018 or by early 2019; Xiaomi already sells a number of products in the US including the Mi TV set-top box and Mi Sphere 360-degree camera; the China-based firm expanded into Spain last year, its first European smartphone market.

Elon Musk tweets updated vision of Hyperloop transit plan:


🎰 The week in figures

3: The number of calls made to 911 from Apple’s new headquarters after employees walked into the building’s curved glass walls and suffered minor injuries.

2.5k hospitals, 45k physician practices, 180k individual physicians and 7M patients: the coverage that Lyft aims to offer with its new rides service for health services; a desktop app enables hospitals and others to order multiple rides at once; Uber launched a similar service this month.


📚 Stuff to think about

The 3 types of Innovation. Giving Tesla as an example, Avinash Kaushik reflects about the different types of innovation that companies can pursue.

That prioritization spreadsheet. John Cutler’s advice on what Not to do on your prioritization approach.

PMF: Some ventures find their Product-Market Fit easier than others:


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el producto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product Owner’s perspective.

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