el producto #91 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Google Maps commute tab, Facebook video premieres, Netflix’s interactive shows, New Nintendo Switch, Uber-Jump integration live, The messy middle & more.

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

🎰 The week in figures

$500M, Coinbase aims to rise via Tiger Global and existing investors; would end up at an $8B valuation; valued at ~$1.5B for a Series D in August 2017.

$20M, amount that both Elon Musk and Tesla will have to pay as a fine; the federal agency sued the Tesla CEO for alleged securities fraud over an August tweet in which he said he had funding to take the company private; under the terms of the settlement, Musk will remain CEO but step down as chairman.

24% of US households have at least one smart speaker; 40% of those homes have multiple devices; 62% of owners purchased a smart speaker in the last six months.

15% of global internet traffic comes from Netflix; Netflix could consume three times as much bandwidth if its compression technologies weren’t so sophisticated: a 2h on Amazon Prime is about 1.5GB, and 460MB on Netflix.

10. Chinese tech companies outpace US companies in 2018 US IPOs; in Q3, four US-based tech companies and 10 Chinese companies held IPOs through US stock exchanges; the 14 companies raised $4B total, a x5 increase YoY.


📰 What’s going on

Google Maps adds a “commute” tab to its mobile apps; contains live transit info and traffic updates; Android users can also choose to receive notifications for delays and disruptions; Google Maps will also offer real-time updates for public transit across 80 cities.

Google announces new top-level domain .page; currently in early access via partner registrars; launches in general availability on Oct 9.

Google acquires customer service platform Onward; the firm offers an enterprise chatbot that helps website visitors.

Google launches Voice Access, an app to help people with limited mobility navigate their Android device; using just their voice, users can open an app, scroll, compose text, and more; currently works with English only but Google says support for more languages is coming soon.

Google updates Assistant, giving developers the ability to sell digital goods and subscriptions; also added support for Google Sign-In; users can now link and sign into accounts using voice; the company also redesigned Assistant for mobile, adding visual assistance features.

Google updates Assistant with rideshare price comparisons and booking; when the user asks for a ride, Assistant provides estimated wait times and costs for several services; the user can also specify a service by name to skip comparisons; booking requires confirmation via the provider’s app.

Google announces changes to the Chrome Web Store; starting in Chrome v70, users will be able to restrict which websites an extension can access; developers will face a more rigorous review process, and they will soon have to use two-factor sign-ins; the Web Store will no longer accept obfuscated JavaScript files, and Google will launch manifest v3 of the extensions platform next year, promising more security and controls.

YouTube rolls out a picture-in-picture feature for desktop; users select the Miniplayer option from the playback window to shrink it to the bottom right; lets viewers continue browsing YouTube while watching a video.

Facebook launches Video Premieres, Video Polling, and Top Fans; Premieres enables a creator to schedule the release of a pre-recorded video; can create an event page for sharing, send reminders, etc; Video Polls are now available to all Pages; the Top Fans feature is now available to all eligible Pages.

Facebook tests a redesign of its Nearby Friends feature; shows friends on a map, grouped by their nearest city; list view shows approximately where those friends are located.

Snapped again.

Facebook introduces new user tools for dealing with harassment; users can hide or delete multiple comments at once; users can also report comments posted to a friend’s profile page; comments that have been taken down by Facebook can be appealed.

Twitter for iOS adds data management features; lets users set video to autoplay on Wi-Fi only; images also load at a lower resolution.

Amazon announces updated Fire TV Stick ($50); adds support for 4K, HDR 10+, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos; includes Alexa Voice Remote which features power, volume, and mute buttons (also sold separately for $30); available now for preorder, ships Oct 31.

Netflix to launch interactive shows and movies that let users select an ending; includes a special episode of “Black Mirror” which is expected to be released this December.

Spotify launches the beta for Spotify for Podcasters; enables a podcaster publishing via other platforms to reach Spotify’s 180M users; automatically adds new episodes as the creator publishes; provides daily stats with demographics and more.

Microsoft begins rolling out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update; the free update adds a dark mode for File Explorer, cloud-based clipboard, Your Phone app integration, new fast sign-in features, more.

The BBC launches Reel, a website offering curated video playlists; a new playlist is added each day featuring videos of three to five minutes long; covers news, culture, travel, and more.

Iridium Communications partners with Amazon Web Services to build satellite-based IoT network; expected to launch in 2019; the company hopes it can bring connectivity to the entire planet.

Nintendo plans to launch a new version of Switch in the second half of 2019; the company is yet to settle on new hardware and software but it is considering an upgraded display.

Lenovo teases a bendable smartphone; the company posted a video showing the working device to its Weibo account; unknown if it’s a concept phone or a product it plans to launch.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies showcases its first full-scale passenger carriage; known as Quintero One, the capsule measures 32m in length and weighs 5 tons.

French carpooling startup Klaxit announces Uber partnership; the company will now automatically book backup rides via Uber when no Klaxit driver is available; the French startup currently partners with 150 companies and facilitates around 300k rides daily.

Uber-owned Jump launches its first scooter-sharing service in Santa Monica, CA; using the Uber app, riders unlock a scooter for $1 and they can ride for free for five minutes; riders pay $0.15 per minute thereafter and must leave the scooter in a designated parking location or face a $25 penalty.

Scooter-sharing firm Lime announces plans to expand to Canada; follows launches in France, Germany, and Switzerland.


📚 Stuff to think about

Hacking Alexa with birds. Scientists have figured out how to take over voice assistants using inaudible commands buried in audio files that can sound like birds.

Why Agile goes awry and how to fix it. Back to basics. HBR with one of those articles that trigger “but we already do that!”. But do you?

It isn’t technology, but business models what make startups dominate in a new industry.

How to make remarkable products in the messy middle of building startups. Presentation and extract from Scott Belsky’s new book: The messy middle. Belsky founded and scaled Behance until it got acquired by Adobe.

What happens between launch and success

👩‍🎓 Quote of the week

“The absolute best hook in the first mile of a user experience is doing things proactively for your customers.” — From: How to make remarkable products in the messy middle of building startups.

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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.