elproducto #38 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

New Echo devices, macOS High Sierra, Twitter lite & 280-character test, Tesla’s UI, Space startups, Elon Musk’s connected world vision, AI for Facebook & more.

Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto!

📰 Seen on the news

Facebook is testing facial recognition for account recovery; can only be used with devices that previously logged into the account.

Instagram introduces controls to let users choose who can comment on their posts; users can set comments from just their followers, or people they also follow; also adds anonymous reporting for live video

Apple releases macOS High Sierra; supports all Macs made in 2010 and later, as well as some MacBooks and iMacs from 2009; employs the new Apple File System (APFS); supports new photo and video standards, and is designed for efficient 4K video storage; features updated Photos app, updated Siri.

Apple is investigating reports of new iPhone 8 Plus devices cracking open; the company believes the incidents to be the result of battery swelling.

Google is developing a high-end version of Home featuring a stereo speaker setup, codenamed Google Home Max.

Google to launch a new account security feature that relies on physical keys, intended for users with special security concerns (politicians, corporate executives, etc).

Google’s new patent aims to create micro-location weather mapping. Describes mapping a user’s path from one location to another using a “climate interface” that behaves like a mapping app for weather, helping travellers stay alert to, and avoid, inclement conditions in real-time.

Snapchat launches sponsored 3D World Lenses, enabling brands to run AR marketing campaigns through which users can add 3D environmental animations to their snaps.

Amazon wins at smart home with its new devices: the next-generation Echo ($100) is cheaper and smaller than the previous iteration; supports multi-speaker streaming; a three-unit bundle will run $250. The $150 Echo Plus; features the upgraded microphones and speakers of the new Echo, and includes a smart home hub; supports numerous smart home products out of the box; more than 100 launch partners, including GE, Kwikset, and Philips; pre-orders now open. The Echo Connect ($35) enables Echo product to make and receive calls via landline (US). Echo Spot, a $130 Alexa-powered device that supports video calls, viewing live feeds from cameras, etc; pre-orders now open; ships in December. Echo Button ($20), a simple game show-type button for playing trivia games on Alexa devices; will come in packs of two. New Fire TV with 4K and HDR; supports 2160p video at 60 fps; features Dolby Atmos, comes with an Alexa Remote; $69 pre-orders now open.

Amazon’s Alexa will be available in some BMW and MINI vehicles; will support navigation, making calls, controlling media, checking the status of smart home devices; will also support third-party Alexa skills.

Olo, which provides an ordering a payments platform for restaurants, partners with Amazon; will expand Amazon Restaurants, the company’s restaurant food delivery service; Olo works with 200 restaurant brands representing 40k locations.

Vimeo acquires Livestream, a platform for watching and broadcasting video of live events; the tech will power a new Vimeo Live product.

Ikea acquires TaskRabbit; TaskRabbit connects freelance service providers with jobs.

Dyson plans to launch an electric car by 2020; the company has had more than 400 engineers working on the project secretly for 2.5 years.

Twitter is testing a data-light app called Twitter Lite for emerging markets; now live in the Philippines, where it has a separate listing in the Google Play Store.

Twitter is testing a 280-character tweet limit with small groups of users.

WhatsApp has been fully blocked in China; censors prevented video and pictures earlier this year, but text messages are now also being blocked.

Microsoft launches three new tools for machine learning developers; the Azure ML Experimentation service enables users to quickly train and deploy experiments; the Azure ML Workbench is a desktop client that serves as a control panel for ML development; the Azure ML Model Management service enables Docker deployments.

Microsoft announces a new quantum computing programming language to be released this year; fully integrates with Visual Studio; the company will also provide a quantum computing simulator for testing code.

Marks and Spencer begins testing on-demand deliveries in London and Berkshire; available to select customers, frozen items and ready meals can be delivered within one hour, with fresh produce delivered within two hours.

Elon Musk shares his vision for a rocket-based connected world. The animations propose flying anywhere on earth in under 60 minutes.

Jalopnik publishes the first comprehensive video of the Tesla Model 3 touchscreen UI; the mounted, tablet-like display is the vehicle’s sole source of visual feedback and serves almost all of the vehicle’s controls.

Timekettle launches a Kickstarter for WT2 Translator, a set of earpieces that promise to translate conversations in real time; supports Mandarin Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch goes on sale; the Flyer Bluetooth headphones will also be available; Ionic includes GPS and is waterproof up to 15 meters; features the Fitbit Coach app.


📚 Good reads

Designing with AI for Facebook: Building a ‘Recommendations’ feature. Erica Virtue walks us through the process followed to get to the current AI-based recommendations feature.

How digital devices challenge the nature of ownership. The Economist looks at how ownership is becoming slippery in the digital age, taking control away from the owners.

14 geeky chrome extensions. From optimising browser performance to a light ‘Google Analytics’ for any website. Some great tools in this list!

Learning is (usually) not the goal. Strategizer on why it’s important to keep an eye on the bigger picture, and do regular checkpoints to keep it present.

How to build a career in tech, a free book by ProductHunt. The guys at ProductHunt can’t stop being awesome and have collected career advice by remarkable investors, founders and leaders (Tim Ferriss, Ben Horowitz, Jessica Livingston, Jack Dorsey,…).

One Product Manager, four teams? John Cutler shares some thoughts on how to handle better the frequently and abused approach of throwing more PMs. No one size fits all. The maturity of teams should be considered as a core decision factor for any of the proposed ideas.

Space tech startups market map by CBInsights. Because… Space!


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