elproducto #42 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Uber Credit Cards, Gmail add-ons, Paid Alexa skills, Twitter’s good numbers, Design-Developement gap, Sony’s robot pet, Don’t spend time on solutions & more
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto!
📰 Seen on the news
Google updates Gmail with support for third-party add-ons; launch partners include Trello, Asana, and QuickBooks; Gmail can contextually surface apps based on message content and can exchange information; accessible via the settings gear icon under “Get add-ons”; once installed, the plugins appear across devices (web and Android)
Google launches Pay with Google, an expedited checkout feature for Android devices; lets users pay for goods with a credit card previously linked to a Google account; works across apps and Chrome, and is currently available for select services including Airbnb, Instacart, and Boxed.
Google updates Assistant with more than 50 games, activities, and stories for children; available on Android devices and on Google Home; activities include musical chairs and freeze tag; games include science trivia and Disney-themed titles; Assistant now recognizes kids’ voices and customizes its responses for them.
Google unveils OpenFermion: open-source quantum computing software for chemical and material scientists.
Facebook launches Workplace Chat for desktop (previously in beta); available for PC and Mac, the Messenger-like app features desktop notifications and screen sharing; set to add group video in the coming months that will support up to 50 participants.
Facebook says it currently has no plans to split the News Feed or to charge Pages to appear within it; follows criticism of a test that puts non-promoted stories in the Explore Feed only (user engagement with Pages reportedly has dropped 60 — 80 % among those participating in the trials); Facebook says it’s trying to see if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content.
Facebook’s Marketplace will add vehicle listings from Cars.com, Auction123, and others in the coming weeks; Facebook will also add used car values from Kelley Blue Book, and users will be able to filter searches by model, year, mileage, and more.
Whatsapp rolls out its new “delete for everyone” feature, which allows users to delete messages up to seven minutes after sending; recipients will be informed that the message has been deleted; all group and one-on-one chat users must have the latest version of the app for the feature to work.
Uber is rolling out multi-stop trips in the US and Canada; UK, Ireland and other markets to follow; Uber has been testing the feature in limited markets and recently rolled it out more broadly in Asia-Pacific and Latin America; a + symbol next the destination field enables user to add up to three stops.
Uber will now charge pre-ride fees when drivers have to travel more than eight or 11 minutes (depending on the market) for a pick up; standard ride rates; the app estimates the additional fee before confirming a booking; also, trip cancellation fees are now adjusted based on how far the driver travels before the user cancels.
Uber announces a credit card, offered in partnership with Visa and Barclays; beginning on Nov 2, Uber members can apply in the Uber app (which will auto-populate data it has on file); once approved, cardholders can pay for Uber and UberEats on credit; the company will also send a physical card; provides cash back and other perks.
Amazon launches preview of paid subscriptions for Alexa skills; enables third-party skills developers to monetize directly; Amazon previously shut down an ad network for skills, but it does pay out rewards for top-performing skills in various categories; the Jeopardy! game skill is the first to employ the subscription; all subscription skills will be free for Prime members.
Amazon announces Amazon Key, a service that lets couriers drop off packages inside a Prime customer’s home; makes use of a smart lock and the newly launched Cloud Cam which records the delivery process; Alexa-enabled Cloud Cam also offers motion detection and online storage starting at $70 per year.
Amazon launches Business Prime Shipping in the US and Germany; the subscription program provides unlimited free shipping for qualifying items for any member of an Amazon Business account; priced according to account size: $500 per year for up to 10 people, $1.3k for up to 100 people, $10.1k for over 100 people.
Apple says the iPhone X will be available at retail locations on Nov 3; pre-orders open Oct 27; the tenth anniversary model starts at $1k with 64GB storage.
Microsoft opens Mixed Reality capture studios in London and San Francisco; developers and other creators can lease a space to scan people or objects and create holograms viewable with Windows Mixed Reality hardware, HoloLens products, or standard 2D displays.
Event ticket marketplace SeatGeek has signed Facebook on as a distribution partner; enables any events company to sell tickets via SeatGeek on Facebook; SeatGeek announced its Open platform last year; provides an API so third parties can integrate SeatGeek ticket sales into sites and apps.
Twitter shares jump more than 18% after the company announced an earnings beat and the potential for profitability by year’s end; user growth was up four percent year-over-year in the third quarter.
Sony is set to introduce a new Aibo (robot dog) next month; follows reports the robot will support voice commands and be able to control smart home devices; price and release details are unknown.
Sony launches Xperia Hello smart speaker for $1.3k; the Android-powered device can be controlled by voice or gestures, and responds to facial expressions; also takes pictures and lets users make calls via Skype; available in Japan only, ships Nov 18.
UK lawmakers are set to introduce a bill which would require gas stations to add electric charging units; the country currently has a network of 11.5k charging points; the draft legislation also outlines requirements for owners of autonomous vehicles to have insurance.
Tesla will build a manufacturing plant in Shanghai’s free-trade zone after reaching a deal with the the city’s government.
📚 Good reads
Great product managers don’t spend time on solutions. The guys at Intercom argue that we spend too much time solutionizing and not enough understanding problems. Check out their approach to time/effort distribution.
Faster, Faster, Faster. John Cutler on the multiple meanings of “faster”, and why to Optimize for learning, not for output.
Bridging the gap between design and development. 8 tips on facilitating a smooth product creation.
Building an unforgettable first-time user experience. Wayne Chang explains how nailing the onboarding experience helped Crashlytics.
Top travel startups around the world. CB Insights brings an extensive report on the travel startup scene and funding trends.