elproducto #45 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Google’s chatbot analytics, Facebook Creator and Local apps, New Teslas, Firefox update, Women in Tech, Netflix stickiness, Skype Professional & more.
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto!
📰 Seen on the news
Google launches chatbot analytics platform Chatbase in general availability; provides cloud tools for analyzing and optimizing chatbot performance; can track active users, sessions, retention, more; integrates with any messaging platform and bot.
Google begins rolling out broadcast functionality for Google Home devices; lets users tell Google Assistant to broadcast a message such as “OK Google, dinner’s ready,” which is then relayed to all connected Google Home devices; also allows a user to broadcast a message via phone. Also announced new Assistant features for third-party apps; new API enables speaker-to-phone transfer, so a user can begin a conversation on Google Home or another smart home speaker, then pass the conversation to a phone and continue.
Google Maps adds new icons and color schemes to better identify points of interest; the app will also highlight relevant locations based on use, such as gas stations while driving.
The upcoming Android 8.1 update may tell users which apps are draining their phones’ batteries most in a banner at the top of the battery screen.
Facebook launches Creator, a suite of tools enabling video makers to build and connect with communities, to create more polished content, more; provides live streaming with effects, cross-posting to other platforms, centralized commenting from multiple social network sources, more.
Facebook begins rolling out a trust indicator icon for news articles; the tags were developed in partnership with the Trust Project and once clicked users are shown details on the publisher’s ownership, their ethics policies, fact-checking processes, and more; Facebook says the icons will initially be added to articles from select publishers.
Facebook introduces the standalone app Facebook Local, a rebranding of its relatively unpopular Events app; Facebook Local helps users discover new bars, restaurants, and more with features such as shortcuts to nearby attractions and a Discover feed that shows which places and events their friends are into.
Instagram appears to be testing a feature that would allow users to follow specific hashtags in addition to other accounts.
Kickstarter launches recurring payments feature, Drip; enables supporters to automatically back their favorite creators each month; enables creators to set rewards for contributions and to set an initial “founding members” window, so users who donate in the first, e.g. 30 days, get special rewards.
Mozilla launches the latest version of desktop Firefox in public beta; Firefox Quantum promises to be twice as fast as previous and claims to use 30% less memory than Chrome; features a redesigned UI and better tab management.
YouTube partners with Ticketmaster to provide concert dates and ticket sales on artists’ pages; a “view all upcoming shows” drop-down appears under a relevant video; a user can click/tap a show to purchase a ticket through Ticketmaster; rolling out to US artists with upcoming Ticketmaster shows.
Apple is developing a rear 3D sensor system for the 2019 iPhone; unlike the TrueDepth system on iPhone X, the feature will use laser measurements to build a 3D image of an environment (similar to Project Tango).
Microsoft announces Skype Professional Account: a version of Skype specifically tailored to small businesses and freelancers; provides an event calendar, in-app payments, more; plans to roll out a preview in the desktop app soon.
Microsoft announces Visual Studio Live Share; provides real-time collaboration for developers using Visual Studio 2017 or Visual Studio Code; does not require code synchronization; developers do not need to work with the same tools nor environment.
Recipes website Allrecipes partners with Amazon to let users order ingredients via AmazonFresh; users select a recipe, which in-turn puts the ingredients in their AmazonFresh cart.
AWS is set to launch an AI-centric data warehouse service; codenamed Ironman, the cloud tool will be able to capture large amounts of company data and apply machine learning processes; AWS also plans to announce a new deep learning tool, which will be an upgrade to its current system.
Amazon sells some AWS servers and assets to its Chinese partner Beijing Sinnet Technology for roughly $300M; Amazon says the move is for compliance and service reasons; follows reports that AWS would exit China, which Amazon has denied.
Conversational computing company PullString announces Converse: a platform enabling marketers to create Alexa skills; following the Nov 27 launch, Converse will expand to support other AI assistants and apps; does not require coding knowledge.
A sticky Product: 7% of Netflix users watch movies in the bathroom, and 26% at work, according to a survey commissioned by the company.
Twitter launches premium APIs; fills the gap between the company’s free APIs and enterprise solutions; targets growing businesses; Search Tweets API provides access to the past 30 days of data; will ultimately provide complete Twitter history; allows more tweets per request and higher rate limits, compared with the free APIs.
Reddit is testing a chat system to replace private messages; Reddit Chat will in initially be limited to one-on-one conversations before expanding to live group chats; supports links, stickers, more; currently available to small groups in limited beta; will roll out site-wide in the first quarter of next year.
Square begins testing bitcoin support in its Cash app; lets users generate wallet addresses, send and receive bitcoins, view historical performance; Square says the pilot is limited to a small number of users.
HTC announces Vive Focus, a standalone VR headset; features 6-degree-of-freedom tracking with no need for external sensors; runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor; will initially be available in China only; the company claims it’s the most advanced market for smartphone VR, while also noting headsets from competitors such as Samsung and Google are not currently available there.
Tesla unveils a new roadster. The fastest production car ever made, according to Elon Musk, with speeds of just 1.9 seconds for 0 to 60mph 4.2 seconds for 0 to 100mph. Available in 2020 starting at $200.000. Announced together with the semi truck, which will have 500-mile range.
Baidu announces Raven H smart speaker; powered by the company’s DuerOS voice assistant, the top segment is removable and works as a voice remote for other Raven devices; set to launch in China next month for $256; unknown if it will launch in other markets; Baidu also announced the Raven R and Raven Q home robots; price and launch details undisclosed.
Postmates launches in Mexico City, its first international market; has established more than 1k merchant partners and couriers; the company is offering 1k pesos of delivery credits to new users as a launch promotion; delivery costs 25 pesos per order thereafter.
Futurist and Google executive Ray Kurzweil predicts that medical robots will connect humans’ brains to the cloud by 2029 at a Council for Foreign Relations Q&A session recently.
📚 Good reads
Stephanie Shaw’s advice for women in tech. Invision’s Stephanie Shaw (Product) shares some thoughts on the challenges and opportunities for women in the field.
Let teams figure it our, by John Cutler. A thought exercise on continuous improvement and what really matters in Agile. “Scrum heresy!”, some may say. Be it then.
Solutions looking for problems. Celebrating shipping comes with its risks. We should celebrate achieving outcomes instead.
6 reads for first time managers. First Round recommendations on management books.
A quick intro to statistics. Power your stories with data. A simple and handy guide covering few statistics essentials for business.
The future of Humanity. My favourite marketing & analytics writer, Avinash Kaushik, with a thought-provoking prediction of our future explained to his kids.