elproducto #47 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Alexa for business, Youtube Reels, Instagram repost, Snapchat redesign, AWS summit announcements, WeWork acquires Meetup, Ofo bike sharing & more.
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto!
📰 Seen on the news
Amazon unveils Alexa for Business; integrates with enterprise software (including Exchange, RingCentral, and Salesforce) and features custom management tools; administrators can establish access for employees and assign private skills to specific people.
Amazon announces in-skill purchases for third-party Alexa apps; launching in preview for select trivia games, users will be able to buy additional features or contents.
YouTube announces Reels: a new short-form video format (30-second maximum); initially displayed on a dedicated tab on the creator’s page; creators can add stickers, filters, music and text.
Instagram begins testing several new features including a repost tool; the firm is also testing a GIF search tool, allowing users to add them to Stories; also testing the ability to archive Stories.
Facebook begins verifying user activity by asking them to upload an image of their face; the company says the process is an anti-fraud measure and images are deleted once verification is complete.
Facebook begins testing “breaking news” labels for select publishers; the tag can be set to appear for up to six hours, but it can only be used once within a 24-hour period.
Snapchat is becoming the anti-Facebook. A redesign attempts to draw a distinction between consuming news and content versus socializing with friends.
WeWork acquires Meetup; Meetup enables users to plan interest-based group activities, such as workshops, classes, sporting events, etc; claims 35M members and 300k meetups.
Google Search to launch a dedicated “Finance” tab; the page features sections for followed stocks, recent searches, overviews world markets; Google Finance will display historical tables and portfolios.
Google can tell if someone is looking at your phone over your shoulder; it’s developed an AI-based system that can recognize a person’s gaze in 2ms.
Microsoft makes Office available to Chromebook users via Play Store; free to owners of specific Android devices; others will need paid subscription.
Microsoft launches Edge browser for iOS and Android in beta; includes “continue on PC” functionality similar to the already offered between iPhone and Mac.
Apple will design its own power chips in-house starting as early as next year, according to Nikkei Asian Review sources; Apple already designs its own core processors, bionic neural engine chips, and fingerprint chips; Apple is also developing its own graphics processors.
VR headset shipments passed 1M in Q3; it was the first quarter with more than 1M shipments; Sony led with 490k PlayStation VR shipments; Oculus followed with 210k; HTC came in third with 160k Vive shipments.
AWS announces Amazon Sumerian, a platform for developing and hosting AR, VR, and 3D apps; promises fast development without requiring any specialist programming knowledge; supports apps for Oculus, Vive, and iOS; Android ARCore coming soon; available now in preview. Also announced a set of cloud-based AI tools; includes Rekognition for tracking people in real time video feeds, and Comprehend, which promises to analyze text for sentiment, people, places, and more; Transcribe lets users create text files from audio recordings, and Translate offers automatic translation; availability unclear. And launches SageMaker, a cloud-based tool for incorporating machine learning into new applications; promises expedited processes for developers and data scientists
Samsung announces that its Smart TVs will soon support Amazon Music; streaming service expected to work with models from 2015 and later, as well as other Samsung audio products, by the end of November; subscribers will be able to browse recommendations, playlists, stations, and music libraries on their TVs.
Russian criminals are using Airbnb to launder money from stolen credit cards; the credit card scammers work with corrupt Airbnb hosts to book accommodation and then split the profits; Airbnb says it’s using a multi-layer defense strategy to prevent fraud.
📚 Good reads
The future of bike sharing with Ofo cofounder. Inspiring talk with one of the most disruptive startups in China. Ofo has revolutionized the bike sharing market in China, and now is looking to do the same worldwide.
5 mental models that help PMs acquiring and retaining users. Hiten Shah with 5 techniques to help you apply critical thinking to day-to-day product challenges.
How Instagram used a tech reorg to gain focus. Head of Engineering at Instagram, James Everingham, explains how he used a reorganisation to scale up, move faster and better support career development.
25 hints you are working on a high performing team. John Cutler with a pleasant read on what should be the usual in any great product team.
8 tough questions to ask about your company’s strategy. HBR highlights the questions that many companies struggle to answer, but whose answers should ultimately be ingrained in everyone within the org.