New Alexa features, Instagram voice messaging, Google’s year in search, UberBus, UberEats grouped delivery, Deliveroo restaurant, Apple’s new campus,..
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto!
🎰 The week in figures
50B - hours of video gaming views on YouTube in 2018; the number is almost twice as much time as Americans spend commuting to work annually.
$86.6M - worldwide consumer spending on Netflix’s iOS and Android apps; a 77% increase over Nov 2017.
$21.8B - valuation of Tencent Music after its IPO this Wednesday; raised $1.1B.
58M - videos removed by YouTube for policy violations during Q3; in September it removed 280k videos due to child safety issues, 90% of which received fewer than 10 views; a majority of the removed content was spam.
52.5M - users whose data got exposed due to a new Google+ API bug; Google discovered the issue within six days and said there is no evidence any developer abused access; the consumer version of Google+ will shut down next April.
$23M - net monthly losses of Lime in October; increased from $6M/month in H1 2018; the company is expected to reduce its burn rate to $11M a month by Jan 2019. Bird and Lime are currently raising more fundings; both are reportedly struggling with the economics of their businesses as theft rates are high and scooters break more frequently than expected.
1/3 - Nearly a third of US calls are scams, robots, or both. It’s no wonder Americans don’t answer the phone anymore.
20% of US adults get news from social media, while 16% rely on newspapers; other traditional news sources, including TV and radio, remain more popular than social media.
📰 What’s going on
Uber files paperwork for IPO with Morgan Stanley; the S-1 filing indicates the company could go public by Q1 2019; could reach $120B.
Uber launches the Uber Bus service in Cairo; similar to Uber’s Pool product, Bus groups passengers traveling in the same direction, and costs less than individual on-demand rides; the company plans to launch Uber Lite, a version of the app for areas with low connectivity, in the Middle East early next year.
Uber Eats is testing grouped meal deliveries: a driver picks up multiple orders from a single restaurant and delivers them to customers in close proximity; restaurants pay for enhanced visibility; the company incentivizes users, with discounts, to order from specific restaurants to maximize delivery efficiency.
Deliveroo launches its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Hong Kong; the location will serve customers onsite and function as a shared kitchen for online delivery orders; the concept is an extension of Deliveroo’s Editions shared kitchen spaces, which do not offer consumer-facing restaurants.
Lyft partners with Washington DC transit agency Metro to display live bus and train schedules within the Lyft app; Lyft recently launched the Nearby Transit feature in Santa Monica and Los Angeles; Lyft also operates scooter- and bike-share programs in the DC area.
Slack hires Goldman Sachs to lead its 2019 IPO; the messaging company hopes to fetch a valuation of more than $10B.
Apple could launch its subscription magazine and newspaper service as soon as spring; the company plans to relaunch digital newsstand app Texture, which it acquired earlier this year, as part of Apple News; will charge $10 per month for unlimited access.
Apple announces plans for a $1B campus in Austin; will initially generate 5k jobs with the potential to add 10k over time; Apple will also open new offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego, as well as expanding its presence in New York, Pittsburgh, and Boulder.
Google acquires India-based software firm Sigmoid Labs, maker of transit app Where is My Train; previous reports say the deal is worth $30M to $40M; Where is My Train has more than 10M downloads on the Play Store.
Google and Levi’s develop smart jacket feature designed to prevent users from losing their phones; the tech sends automated alerts if your jacket becomes too far removed from your device.
Google unveils plans for new Mountain View multi-use development; the project includes as many as 8k new homes, 3.12M square feet of office space, and up to 400k square feet of community retail space.
Google adds Lens support to its main iOS app; lets users conduct searches via their iPhone or iPad camera.
Amazon is rolling out new Alexa features, including location-based routines, location-specific reminders (ex: “remind me to do the laundry when I get home”), the ability to check email and call local businesses via voice commands, more.
Instagram launches voice messaging for 1–1 and group chats via Instagram Direct; allows audio messages up to one minute long, and they remain available permanently.
Instagram promotes Vishal Shah to Head of Product; Shah previously served as a Director of Product Management, overseeing the company’s shopping and ad services as well as IGTV.
Facebook in talks to sell streaming services; the company has been holding discussions with companies like HBO, Starz and Showtime about letting its users sign-up watch the videos on the platform, likely in the Watch tab.
Facebook announces a new individual verification process for app developers not associated with larger businesses; enables developers to use numerous APIs, one year after the company revoked access.
Microsoft launches website analytics service Clarity in beta; provides session playback and insights to facilitate user behaviour understanding; also offers heat maps and scroll maps; Microsoft internally used Clarity to detect ad-injecting malware on computers visiting Bing.
Atlassian-owned Trello acquires Butler, a Trello Power-Up that enables scheduled command automation, rules for auto-triggering, more.
Samsung is also retiring the headphone jack. After mocking Apple’s decision to do so in 2016, the Korean company is now following suit.
Samsung will launch Galaxy S10 on Feb 20; there will be three sizes — 5.8-inch S10 Lite, 6.1-inch S10, and 6.4-inch S10 Plus; 5G version expected later in 2019; features Infinity O display (as seen on A8s) and up to 512GB storage; will start at ~$1K.
Intel and JD.com announce a partnership to develop IoT tech for use in brick-and-mortar stores; known as Digitized Retail Joint Lab, the companies will work on next-gen vending machines, adtech, and more.
Postmates unveils Serve: an autonomous delivery robot developed by the Postmates X R&D lab; can travel 25 miles per charge with 22.6Kg on board; Postmates estimates the robot can handle a dozen deliveries per day; the company seeks a permit to operate Serve in San Francisco.
Website building and hosting firm Wix launches Ascend, a suite of tools for managing customer engagement and services; includes features for chat, memberships, email marketing, etc.
Zero-commission stock trading app Robinhood launches checking and savings accounts; no monthly or overdraft fees, three-percent interest rate; claims more ATMs than the five largest banks combined; US market only.
Opera updates its Android browser with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet; coming to Windows, Mac, and Linux next year; due to Apple’s stricter policies, iOS is not a priority; uses the ethereum Web3 API, which also powers online identity management.
Virgin Galactic reaches space for the first time; the company’s SpaceShipTwo vessel briefly reached an altitude of 83Km before returning to Earth; Virgin Galactic aims to eventually carry paying customers just beyond Earth’s atmosphere for a few minutes at a time.
📚 Stuff to think about
Google’s Year in Search. Google released its 2018 Year in Search this week. The top 5 most searched terms globally were: World Cup, Avicii, Mac Miller, Stan Lee, and Black Panther, and the #1 “What is…?” query was “What is Bitcoin?”
Bot, bye. Google Allo’s death speaks to a larger chatbot trend.
Google’s caste system is bad for the company. The stratification between full-time employees and contract workers has turned what seems like a whimsical workplace into a depressing office.
Every step you take. The smartphone location data that companies are using to cater to advertisers, retailers, and even hedge funds is anonymous — but it’s so precise that user identities could be exposed.
Land of the “Super Founders“: a data-driven approach to uncover the secrets of billion dollar startups in 100 charts.
What’s it like to run a tech startup in 2018? Here’s what 520+ founders said to First Round.
How tech market makers create value. Market makers such as Google and Amazon continually spend M&A and R&D $ to create demand where none presently exists. A culture of risk taking and innovation along with the ability to make smart deals can spark growth.
📻 Something to listen to
Andrew Chen’s Podcast Q&A with Product Hunt. Covering
Silicon Valley network effects, OKRs for your personal life, and more.