Recapping the Google event, iMessage Apps and the race to grab the next billion Internet users

Posted by Jeevan Jayaprakash

In this issue, we look at the main talking points from the Google event held on Tuesday, the arrival of iMessage Apps on iOS 10 and mobile in emerging markets.

We love user feedback, so if our digest is too long, short, amazing or boring — just let us know at hello@himumsaiddad.com.

On a side note, here is some insight and strategy behind the Carling Beer Button, a one-touch, scalable ordering solution we developed in partnership with Carling. Originally published in Contagious Magazine.

Hi Mum! Said Dad


Google event key talking points: Assistant and Daydream VR

The much anticipated Google event has come and gone. So, what did we learn?

1. Google’s future is in AI

This quote from Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, sums up Google’s view:

“In the next 10 years, the shift will be towards a world that is AI-first, a world where computing becomes universally available — be it at home, at work, in the car, or on the go — and interacting with all of these surfaces becomes much more natural, intuitive and intelligent.”

Google wants to lead the AI revolution and Tuesday was an expression of just how far they are willing to go. Google’s new AI ‘Assistant’ formed a core part of all of its newly released hardware products including its new Pixel Phones, Home speaker and 4K Chromecast.

The Assistant seems to be one step ahead of the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Siri as conversations are not conducted in a silo. You are able to build on an initial query with follow up questions (like a natural conversation) because the Assistant understands context. Google also has one huge advantage — it is Google, the world’s most popular search engine with an incredible amount of data that it is able to leverage (Google’s Knowledge Graph stands at 70 billion facts and growing).

The ultimate ambition is to eventually create a personalised assistant for each and every individual, an assistant that grows to understand you inside out. Senior individuals at Google have gone as far as saying that they believe that the Assistant is what Google could eventually evolve into.

2. Google wants to kickstart VR in the household

Google also launched its Daydream View VR headset, which is a significant departure from the half-hearted Google Cardboard. For the design, Google turned to what people are comfortable wearing in everyday life — a lightweight, breathable fabric. In terms of content, it is quite simple too, Google turned to what people watch everyday and so they are partnering with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and HBO to bring their entire libraries to VR. Google will also be releasing a dedicated Daydream app featuring tours of famous landmarks as well as games.

The Daydream View experience only requires a Daydream ready phone (all flagship Androids henceforth will satisfy this criteria) and will come in at a (relatively!) paltry £69 in the UK. Google are pulling out all the stops on this one.

The Google Assistant. Image source: Slash Gear

Developers reap the rewards of iMessage App Store support

The arrival of iOS 10 saw the launch of the a dedicated app store for iMessage (an instant messaging service for the Apple ecosystem). iMessage apps are simply extensions of existing mobile applications that allows users to interact with an app directly within iMessages. These iMessage apps allow users to “share content, edit photos, play games, make/send payments and collaborate with friends”.

A study by the app intelligence firm, Sensor Tower, shows that existing apps that added iMessage support have seen their downloads increase significantly. JibJab, an animated sticker-making app, was an early mover, and consequently a big winner, with its download growth hitting an incredible 1,583%. Admittedly, Apple’s endorsement of JibJab in it’s iMessage app store probably helped a lot but it doesn’t take away from the fact that users are clearly showing an appetite for iMessage apps.

Other genuinely useful iMessage apps include OpenTable’s offering (benefitted from 65% install growth according to Sensor Tower), which allows a group to vote on where they want to eat and AirBnb’s app which allows users to see and share potential places to stay all without leaving their conversation.

OpenTable’s iMessage app. Image source: Apple

The race to grab the next billion internet users

Emerging markets are plagued by a number of common issues such as limited and expensive mobile data as well as inconsistent network coverage. With these pain points in mind, a number of players including Facebook, Shazam and LinkedIn have recently rolled out ‘lite’ versions of their mobile products in an attempt to tap into the next source of untapped growth. India, in particular, is a market that is coveted by all with around 450 million people aged between 15 and 35 — the highest across all countries.

However, it isn’t just mobile data/coverage constraints that are driving this new wave of lite products. Many are operating a model whereby they hope to hook people with a stripped down version of their product, with a view to converting them into loyal, paying customers further down the line.

The likes of YouTube, however, are going even deeper with products like YouTube Go, a bespoke solution tailored specifically to the nuances of the Indian market. Having sent a team of researchers from Silicon Valley to observe Indian consumers engaging with video, YouTube quickly realised that consumers needed a way to preview a video before they spent precious data on it but above all, they needed a way of sharing videos offline. It turns out that sharing videos is an ever-present aspect of digital life in India. Therefore, an integral part of YouTube Go is the ability to share videos through a swiping gesture via a locally created wi-fi hotspot — no need to use any data. YouTube Go will be coming to the Play Store in 2017 but the early feedback from consumers is positive.

Emerging markets are going to be a huge battleground.

The benefits of YouTube Go. Image source: Gadgets360, NDTV

Originally written as part of Hi Mum! Said Dad’s Weekly Digest.

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