el producto #78 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Spotify Lite, Amazon’s 2nd Go store, Deductive vs Inductive reasoning, Citymapper adds dockless bikes, Lyft acquires bike-share Motivate & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto!
🎰 The week in figures
800k Messenger users were affected by a bug that unblocked people they’d previously blocked; the flaw was active between May 29 and June 5; blocked users could see content shared with friends, but not a wider audience.
15MB Spotify is testing a Lite app for emerging markets; currently limited to Android in Brazil; the app is 85% smaller than the standard app; does away with offline and high-quality playback; also lacks Spotify Connect, which enables streaming from one device to another.
80% of bike-share trips in the US will be now covered by Lyft, after acquisition of bike-share operator Motivate; terms undisclosed; runs Citi Bike in New York City and Ford’s GoBike in San Francisco; will be rebranded as Lyft Bikes.
📰 What’s going on
Uber and Lyft each held acquisition talks with flexible mass transit company Skedaddle; the New York-based startup matches passengers going to the same events and locations for group bus rides; Lyft says it is not currently in talks with Skedaddle; it’s unknown if Uber remains engaged; Skedaddle has raised $3.1M.
Uber and Dubai-based ride-hailing company Careem are in preliminary talks to merge Middle East operations; Uber seeks a controlling stake in the combined entity, if not outright ownership; Uber has also discussed acquiring Careem, which is currently raising $500M and is reportedly exploring an IPO.
Google is testing its AI-powered calling system for use in call centers; publicly, Google says Duplex is designed to call businesses on behalf of consumers to book appointments, check hours, etc; The Information previously reported Amazon plans to offer a commercial version of Alexa for use in call centers.
Amazon confirms it will open a second cashier-free Go grocery store in Seattle this fall; the company also plans stores in Chicago and San Francisco.
Amazon announces its fourth annual Prime Day on July 16; offers Prime members discounts on broad range of items.
WhatsApp launches a new feature that enables a group admin to establish one-way broadcasting; in Group Info > Group Settings, there is a new option: “Only Admins”; once activated, recipients cannot send public replies to the group; provides a cleaner channel for sending announcements for schools, nonprofits, etc.
Facebook announces API changes intended to protect user information; the Graph API Explorer App is deprecated; developers can use app tokens to run queries via Explorer; Topic Search, Topic Insights, Topic Feed, Public Figures will deprecate on August 1st; the Marketing API now requires app review; the Lead Ads Retrieval and Live Video APIs require new permissions.
Apple releases Siri Shortcuts in beta; Shortcuts enable developers to open their apps up to integration with Siri workflows; e.g. a user could create the voice command, “Check traffic for my drive to work,” and Waze would open with the route selected; developers can request access in TestFlight.
Apple will continue to use TomTom data for the redesigned Maps app alongside anonymized iPhone data and data collected from sensor-equipped Apple vehicles; Apple data will power Maps in the San Francisco Bay Area starting with the next beta of iOS 12.
Apple registers 5 new Mac models and 5 iPads with the EEC; it’s unknown what features the devices will include or when they will be announced; follows reports Apple plans to launch an iPad Pro with Face ID support.
Microsoft is developing iOS and Android apps for its Movies & TV service; currently limited to Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, and Xbox.
Citymapper adds scooters and dockless bikes to its urban transport App. London shows already Ofo and Mobike dockless bikes, while San Francisco has Bird scooters.
Volkswagen announces WE, an on-demand EV car-sharing service; WE will launch in Germany next year, with plans to expand across Europe, North America, and Asia in 2020; Volkswagen says the WE platform will eventually add other modes of transport such as scooters and bikes.
China-based startups raised more VC funding in Q2than North American startups did; marks the first such quarter; Chinese startups represented 47% of all reported VC dollar volume in the Q2; Ant Financial’s $14B Series C, the largest VC round in history, represented 9% of VC dollar volume.
📚 Stuff to think about
The factors behind China’s growing strength in innovation. HBR argues that a next-gen manufacturing ecosystem, large pool of skilled workers, and size of local market, make China the modern powerhouse for innovation.
Deductive vs Inductive reasoning: how to make smarter arguments, better decisions, and stronger conclusions. ”A conclusion is either strong or weak, not right or wrong.”