el producto #135 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Google Maps AR navigation, Airbnb acquires Urbandoor, Klarna leads fintech in Europe, Disney’s streaming service, Feature FOMO, Product careers & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto.
You can sign up here to receive it every weekend in your inbox.
🎰 The week in figures
$10B: The boards of Just Eat and Takeaway.com approve a previously announced merger; the companies say shareholders of both firms will vote on the agreement no later than Dec 20; the deal is expected to close in Q4; the combined company is estimated to be worth $10B.
$5.5B: Swedish payments company Klarna is now the most valuable fintech startup in Europe. The company earned a valuation of $5.5B following a $460M VC round led by Dragoneer Investment Group. Klarna was previously valued at $3.5B in April of this year.
$1.3B: Salesforce ($123.9B market cap) acquires Israel-based field service software firm ClickSoftware for $1.3B; the company provides service management tools to enterprise customers.
$13: Disney announces a $13 per month streaming bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, available from Nov 12 in the US; unknown if or when the package will launch internationally; Disney CEO Bob Iger says the package will likely be available via Apple, Amazon, and other platforms, but he notes the company is yet to sign deals with such firms.
📰 What’s going on
Apple will restrict background access in iOS 13 for apps that let users make VoIP calls; apps such as WhatsApp are currently able to collect data while not in use, but the change will only allow to receive incoming calls.
Apple expands its bug bounty program to include macOS, watchOS, and tvOS; the firm is also increasing its maximum payout to $1M, up from $200k; additionally Apple is opening the scheme to all security researchers (previously restricted to those signed up to its bug bounty program). Apple will offer special iPhones to select security researchers; those signed up to the iOS Security Research Device program will be able to access iPhones with advanced debug capabilities, ssh, and a root shell.
Apple officially launches Apple Card in the US; initially available to select customers, it will roll out broadly later this month; users sign up for the card via the iOS Wallet app; it’s backed by Goldman Sachs and features Apple Pay integration, cashback rewards for Apple Store purchases, and more.
Apple launches its Music for Artists dashboard out of beta; previously a web-only product, the company now offers a dedicated iOS app; enables artists to see visualized data on commercial performance, more; also provides Shazam data; stats are viewable by city.
GitHub launches continuous delivery and integration with the new beta of workflow automation product Actions; plans general availability in November; enables developers to build, test, and deploy on any platform; “matrix builds” feature allows parallel testing across multiple platforms.
Huawei officially announces HongmengOS — aka HarmonyOS — an operating system for use on smart speakers, smartphones, and more; Huawei’s head of consumer products Richard Yu says the OS will first appear on yet-to-be-announced smart screen products but notes it can work with wearables, IoT sensors, and more; Yu says the company would prefer to use Android for its smartphones, but claims the company could quickly transition to HongmengOS if it had to.
Facebook is in talks with multiple news outlets to license content for a dedicated news section; the firm is offering media firms as much as $3M per year for access to headlines and previews of articles; Facebook has approached companies such as ABC News, The Washington Post, and Dow Jones; the section is expected to launch later this year . Facebook confirms it plans to launch a news tab this fall.
Flaws in WhatsApp could allow third-parties to manipulate private and public messages, according to Israel-based cybersecurity firm Check Point Software; the company’s research team have uncovered three ways to change chat content, including adjusting the text of a person’s reply; Check Point says WhatsApp has fixed some of the issues but not all.
Airbnb acquires Urbandoor, which negotiates directly with multi-unit building owners to offer extended-stay rentals for corporate travel; terms undisclosed; the deal will increase inventory for Airbnb for Work, which serves 500k companies for business travel; Urbandoor offers units in 1.5k cities across 60 countries.
Google Assistant for Android adds the ability to read messages from third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Slack; the features doesn’t support chats that contain images or videos.
Google Maps rolls out AR walking directions as a beta; known as Google Maps Live View, lets users see street names and navigation direction when they hold up their smartphone; available now for iOS and Android.
Google begins including individual podcast episodes in search results; users have to add the word “podcast” to their search, and episode results play in the Google Podcasts web app; the company plans to add playback support via third-party apps.
Groupon ($1.52B market cap) acquires B2C calling and messaging platform Presence AI; terms undisclosed; Groupon will add the automated communications tech to its booking products.
Stock-trading app Robinhood receives regulatory approval for the UK; the Financial Conduct Authority has granted the company a broker’s license, though it’s unknown when the service will launch in UK.
Amazon now enables Alexa users to opt out of manual recording reviews and to delete existing recordings; Apple recently suspended Siri QA reviews following a report that workers frequently heard private conversations and activities; Google also paused manual Assistant reviews; Alexa users can opt out via the app or web.
Amazon will begin testing its Scout delivery robots in Irvine, CA; Amazon has been trailing the autonomous units in Snohomish County, WA since earlier this year; deliveries are restricted to daylight hours, and each Scout will be accompanied by a so-called Scout Ambassador.
Postmates receives the first-ever permit to test sidewalk delivery robots in San Francisco; the company is authorized to test up to three units for a period of 180 days; Postmates previously unveiled its lidar-equipped Serve robot which promises to travel as far as 25 miles on a single charge.
GrubHub is updating restaurant Yelp listings with GrubHub-owned phone numbers; a user who finds a restaurant on Yelp and taps to call sees two options: “General Questions” and “Delivery or Takeout”; the first button initiates a direct call with the restaurant; the second routes the call through GrubHub’s phone system to the restaurant, and GrubHub takes a fee; GrubHub recently faced scrutiny for buying domains matching client restaurants’ brands.
Deliveroo acquires software design and development consultancy Cultivate; Cultivate previously built Deliveroo’s payments system; Deliveroo plans to establish a tech hub in Cultivate’s hometown of Edinburgh.
Food delivery firm Foodpanda opens an office in Singapore to serve as its Southeast Asia HQ; plans to hire 500 people for the location.
Twitter is testing a feature that lets users mute notifications for a fixed period of time; users can pause alerts for one, three, or 12 hours.
Walmart-owned Flipkart is beta testing a new streaming service for India; reportedly will be free for members of Flipkart’s Plus loyalty program; customers earn membership through purchases; the service will initially rely solely on licensed content.
Nike ($101B market cap) acquires Boston-based Celect, which developed AI to predict consumer demand for given products; terms undisclosed; the MIT spinout uses structured and unstructured retail data to help clients optimize inventory.
Didi Chuxing spins out its autonomous driving unit; the subsidiary employs 200 people in China and the US; Didi says it will continue to invest in the company and its ongoing R&D projects
A study commissioned by Uber and Lyft finds the company’s services are responsible for increased congestion in US cities; the study looked at traffic data for Boston, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC in Sept 2018, and found Uber and Lyft were responsible for a significant amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in each location; in San Francisco the firms made up 13.4% of all VMT; in Boston 8% , and Washington DC 7.2%.
Samsung announces 6.3-inch Note 10 ($950) and 6.8-inch Note 10 Plus (starts at $1.1k); features an S Pen with support for motion controls and a 16MP wide angle rear lens. Available to order Aug 23.
Samsung announces 13.3-inch Galaxy Book S laptop; runs Qualcomm 8cx chip, and promises 23-hour battery; includes a SIM/MicroSD slot; costs $1k; availability unclear.
💰 Q2 financials
Uber ($72.8B market cap) FQ2 misses: $3.1B revenue, up 14% YoY ($3.3B expected); $5.2B loss; Uber Eats saw $3.4B in gross sales ($3.5B expected).
👩🏾💻 Good reads
China’s AI education. MIT Technology Review reports on how education companies and institutions are leveraging AI to personalize lessons, understand students better, and provide “intelligent education”.
Product Management careers: levels, career growth, and promotions. Many of us arrived to Product by “accident”, and once in a Product job, career paths are generally little structured. Brent Tworetzky has attempted to give them some structure and shares with us with a simple overview.
InVision has shares its DesignBetter library for free. The books, are now available for free in digital formats, including audio.
Feature FOMO is real, and it stalls product innovation. MindTheProduct talks about what causes feature FOMO and how to be more ruthless about sunsetting features people are not using (or not building features people won’t use).