el producto #72 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Google tops smart speakers’ sales, Airbnb stories, WWDC announcement, Adyen IPO, Lyft & Uber investment on drivers, Amazon’s Sellers Marketplace & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto!
🎰 The week in figures
$2.59B revenue generated by Uber in Q1, up 70% YoY; $2.46B profit, up from an $847M loss in theQ1-2017; includes $3B gain from sales of operations in southeast Asia and Russia; those gains excluded, Uber would have lost $550M; gross bookings rose 55%.
3.2M Google smart speakers sold in Q1. Compares to Amazon’s 2.5M; smart speakers were the fastest-growing consumer tech segment in Q1, with 9M total units shipped — up 210% YoY.
📰 What’s going on
Instagram begins rolling out a mute function; lets users hide specific people from their feed; users can choose to mute posts and stories.
Google revamps Google Trends with real-time data, curated content, and more. Feature a new design, simpler navigation & more ways to explore data and stories.
Airbnb launches Stories; allows guests to share photos and short video sequences, which are accompanied by a caption and location.
Apple launches a privacy portal to let users download their data; provides access to App Store activity and iCloud data.
Apple sends invites for WWDC, June 5; when asked about the event, Siri says it will see an update that will make it smarter and add a new voice.
Apple notifies developers releasing apps in China that they must remove CallKit from their apps to comply with new regulations in the country; China’s government takes issue with apps offering VoIP functions.
Google and Coursera announce “Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform” online program; consists of five courses; teaches students how to build real-world learning models
Google’s new YouTube Music is rolling out to users in North America, New Zealand, Australia, and South Korea; free with ads, $10 per month without ads, and $12 per month with the YouTube Premium video offering; those who have a Google Play Music subscription also get YouTube Music.
Amazon launches the Marketplace Appstore, a resource for third-party apps designed for Amazon sellers; accessible via Seller Central; includes tools for advertising and managing inventory; only invited developers can publish apps; initially limited to North America.
Amazon launches real-time package tracking across the US; limited to items shipped via Amazon’s own logistics system; the feature, Map Tracking, displays the location of a given package on a map, the estimated delivery time, and the number of stops before the destination.
An Amazon Echo erroneously recorded its owner’s private conversation and sent it to a person on her contact list; the recipient, one of her husband’s employees, called to notify the couple; Amazon has confirmed the incident and says while it’s an extremely rare occurrence, the company is taking steps to prevent it from happening again.
Microsoft launches SharePoint Spaces, enabling companies to create shared mixed reality spaces for viewing SharePoint content; supports motion controllers; spaces are viewable with a headset and in-browser.
Gemini Photos (iOS) lets users manage and delete similar photos; automatically suggests the best photo from a set and lets users quickly remove the rest; also finds screenshots for suggested removal.
Read-it-later service Instapaper (owned by Pinterest) suspends service in the EU ahead of GDPR rules; the company says it’s making changes to it service in order to meet compliance.
Netherlands-based payments firm Adyen is set to IPO, seeks a valuation of $7B to $11B; it will list on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange; Adyen provides payments processing tools for e-commerce firms; reports $255M revenue for 2017, up 38% from 2016.
Xiaomi’s coming Mi 8 phone will feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, according to a new video from Slashleaks that purportedly shows the feature in action.
Tesla begins publishing its code to GitHub in a move toward compliance with open source software licenses; Tesla uses the Linux Kernel, Busybox, and other open-source software.
Apple partners with Volkswagen to develop a self-driving shuttle service for employees; the project is based on the VW T6 Transporter and is consuming a majority of the Apple car team’s attention.
Indonesia-based ride-hailing firm Go-Jek says it will spend $500M to expand into Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines; the company will establish local teams in each location over the coming months.
Uber is set to open an R&D facility in Paris focused on its flying taxi project; will spend ~$23M over five years to develop AI tools, air traffic control systems; also announces a 5-year research partnership with engineering school École Polytechnique.
Uber introduces medical insurance and parental leave for drivers in the EU; includes $10k coverage for health care not covered by public plans, and a $1.3k one-off payment for maternal or paternal leave.
Lyft commits $100M to supporting its drivers; funds will go toward discounted oil changes, vehicle maintenance and rentals, more; the company plans to more than double its driver base over the next five years; claimed 1.4M drivers in its latest economic impact report.
Lyft explores to launch an electric scooter service in San Francisco; a consulting firm working on Lyft’s behalf recently made inquiries about applying for an operating permit; sources claim Lyft has developed prototype scooters.
Dockless electric scooter rental company GOAT launches pilot in Austin; the bootstrapped startup is deploying 20 scooters a time; the pilot is limited to 500; rentals run $1 plus $0.15 per minute; the company is working toward pilots in other cities.
📚 Stuff to think about
How Amazon is using Whole Foods in a bid for total retail domination. At the time of the acquisition, 81% of Whole Foods customers were already Amazon shoppers; visits to Whole Foods are up 11% in stores with Amazon lockers.