el producto #68 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Tech Q1 financial results, Google Tasks, Amazon in-car delivery, Spotify’s new free streaming App, Google data collection, Didi launches in Mexico & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto!
🎰 The week in figures
~$11B Alphabet’s investment in startups. Includes stakes in Uber, Airbnb, and Stripe; Alphabet’s GV invested $258M in Uber in 2013, a stake that would now be worth an estimated $5B; the company previously reported it had invested a total of $7.8B.
100M Internet.org’s users; Zuckerberg’s initiative provides data access in developing nations, has now connected nearly 100M users; up from 40M in Nov 2016; offers a Free Basics app, which enables low-bandwidth access to essential services; also offers Express Wi-Fi hotspots via local merchants.
14M: This week, Dubai-based ride-hailing company Careem announced it was a victim of a cyber breach that took place earlier this year. Data stolen from the app includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, and trip data. The breach involved access to Careem’s database, which reportedly has 14 million riders and 558,800 drivers.
📰 What’s going on
Google Pay for Android is set to add support for airline boarding passes and event tickets; code analysis also suggests the app will support more mass transit options (currently works with Las Vegas Monorail and TriMet in Portland, OR).
Google begins rolling out a Gmail redesign for the web; available for both G Suite and standard Gmail users, the app includes confidential mode, smart replies, snooze, offline mode; Gmail on mobile will also get new features in the coming weeks including high-priority notifications.
Google launches Google Tasks for iOS and Android; lets users create tasks within the app as well as manage those generated in Gmail, Calendar, and Search; tasks can also be broken down into subtasks and users can set reminders.
Google is set to shut down Google Play Music with the launch of YouTube Remix; existing Play Music subscribers will have until the end of 2018 to move over to the new streaming service.
Apple to launch a $550 to $650 2018 iPhone with features from 2017’s iPhone X; will feature an LCD display, rather than OLED; also reportedly plans an iPhone with 6.5-inch edge-to-edge display.
Amazon launches Key In-Car, a service for Prime customers through which packages are delivered to the inside of vehicles; a user registers a car with Amazon Key, and couriers open the vehicle via their own encrypted app.
Amazon launches a portal for home security services; the company is offering various hardware bundles with installation for homeowners and renters; bundle components include video monitoring, motion detectors, siren alarms, smart lighting that turns on and off while residents are away.
Amazon announces Fire TV Cube; product details unknown, but a page on Amazon.com features a link to register for updates; previous reports suggest the company plans to launch a 4K streaming box with Alexa support.
Amazon launches $80 Echo Dot Kids Edition; Alexa responses are tailored to children and music is automatically filtered to avoid explicit lyrics; also includes child-friendly Audible books, customized alarms, and more; parents can also monitor and restrict usage.
Amazon’s Lab126 research division is developing a robot for use in the home; codenamed Vesta, will feature cameras and speakers, and be able to move from room to room; it’s unclear what functions the robot will serve.
Amazon to update Alexa with natural language inquiries for skills; will enable users to discover, enable, and launch skills via natural language commands; for instance, you could ask “How do I remove an oil stain from a shirt?” and Alexa will launch Tide’s skill, which would provide instructions.
Facebook announces Platform Policy and API changes affecting the collection and processing of user data by third parties; has deprecated numerous API features affecting Live, Pages, Instagram.
Instagram is rolling out a new Data Download feature that enables users to export archived Stories, photos, messages, more; accessible via the app’s privacy settings; brings Instagram into compliance with GDPR.
Spotify announces a redesigned app for free users; the previous version limited free users to shuffle playback; the new app enables unlimited on-demand streaming of any tracks that appear on a user’s personalized discovery playlist; the app also uses caching to better serve those with slow and spotty data.
Snap launches second-generation Spectacles; supports stills and video with faster transfer to a connected smartphone; features a slimmer, waterproof design; $150, available now.
Bose acquires narrated walking tour startup Detour; includes content and software, but not the team; financial terms undisclosed; Bose is looking for a partner to host the content, which will be made available to Bose AR users.
Uber to limit the amount of rider trip data available to drivers; currently, a driver can see precise pickup and drop off locations in a rider’s history; the data remains available even after account closure; Uber says the new design will enable drivers to handle customer service and earning disputes but will protect riders’ privacy.
TransferWise becomes the first fintech firm to gain access to the Bank of England’s interbank system; TransferWise will now be able to process UK payments without relying on a third-party bank; the company says the move will speed up transactions while cutting costs.
Didi Chuxing launches in Toluca, Mexico; the company is offering its Didi Express service, which connects passengers with drivers using their own cars.
🤑 Q1 earnings
Amazon ($735B market cap) Q1 beats: $51B revenue, up 43 % YoY ($49.8B expected); $5.44B AWS revenue, up 49% YoY; provided Q2 guidance of $51B to $54B.
Alphabet ($745B market cap) Q1 beats: $31.2B revenue ($30.3B expected); $7B operating income, up from $6.6B a year earlier; $26.6B ad revenue; $4.3B in “other revenues” (cloud business and hardware sales), up from $3.2B a year earlier; $150M “Other Bets” revenue, with losses of $571M.
Microsoft ($732B market cap) Q1 beats: $26.8B revenue, up 16% YoY; ($25.8B expected); the company’s More Personal Computing segment generated $9.9B revenue; Intelligent Cloud generated $7.9B.
Samsung ($172B market cap) Q1 beats: $50.6B revenue, up 20% YoY; Samsung forecasts weaker smartphone demand in Q2, but expects its memory chip business to remain strong.
Facebook ($482B market cap) Q1 beats: $11.97B revenue ($11.41B expected); 1.45B daily active users, up 3.6%; 2.2B monthly users; daily and monthly users up 13% YoY; $10.7B mobile ad revenue, 91% of all ad revenue.
Twitter ($23.4B market cap) Q1 beats: $655M revenue, up 21% YoY ($608M expected); 336M MAUs (334M expected).
📚 Stuff to think about
The Wall Street Journal details Google’s user data collection methods, notes the company likely knows more about its users than Facebook knows of its users; Google tracks users across devices and logs app installations and browsing habits; Google Analytics tracks users not logged in; Chandler Givens, CEO of identity theft protection company TrackOff, suspects Google creates shadow profiles of non-users, as Facebook does.