Snap updates, Facebook’s lists, Apple watch sales, Tactical framework for managers, Google’s open-sourced card layout, Uber Q4 results & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto!
🎰 Some figures this week
Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry last quarter, according to estimates from Canalys and IDC; Canalys estimates Apple sold 8M watches in Q4; if correct, Apple is one of the biggest watchmakers in the world.
Uber had Q4 revenue of $2.2B, up 11.8% on Q3; lost $1.1B in Q4, which compares with a Q3 loss of $1.46B; Q4 gross bookings of $11.1B, up 14% on Q3.
📰 What’s going on
A team working in Google’s Area 120 incubator is bringing the tech behind Google’s Smart Reply feature to more apps; referred to as “Reply,” the AI-powered tech will initially be limited to Android users; it is currently in testing for Google Hangouts and Android Messages.
Google announces AMP story format, an open-source platform for displaying web content in a card-based layout; Google has partnered with several publishers including Vox and CNN to preview the format, though tools for creating stories are yet to launch; stories will eventually be surfaced in Search results. Google begins testing AMP within Gmail; promises a range of functions including the ability to manage subscriptions or make bookings within an email without having to launch a website; several companies including Pinterest and Booking.com are experimenting with the service
Uber introduces a feature that requires its US drivers take a six-hour break for every 12 hours of driving; the company says most drivers won’t be affected as they’re not on the road enough; follows the introduction of similar restrictions in the UK.
Apple will require all new iPhone and universal apps to support the iPhone X Super Retina display from April 1; must be built with iOS 11 SDK or later; new Apple Watch apps must be built with watchOS 4 SDK or later.
Amazon is designing its own AI chips for Alexa devices; would likely improve Alexa’s speed because more processing would take place on device, rather than in the cloud.
Microsoft launches Microsoft for Startups, a program providing young companies with tech and marketing expertise; also includes a co-selling program through which startups will work with Microsoft sales people.
Facebook introduces Lists in its Android app, a feature for creating to-do lists, wishlists, and more; a user composes a list from the status box and then sets the audience.
Facebook makes its “Onavo Protect — VPN Security” available to iOS users via the “Protection” tab; Facebook acquired the Onavo VPN service in 2013; the iOS integration promises to protect users’ credit card numbers and to warn of malicious sites; it also collects user activity data for Facebook; for instance, the company gains insights about apps usage and trends.
Instagram begins testing a feature to notifiy users when someone takes a screenshot of their Story; the feature was previously limited to private messages.
Vimeo launches new video distribution tools that enable simultaneous upload or live streaming to multiple services; the upload tool supports YouTube and Facebook; the live-stream tool supports Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Twitch.
Snap launches a dedicated Snap Map website; lets non-Snapchat users see public videos and photos pinned to locations; content is available for 30 days and can also be embedded on third-party websites.
Snapchat launches analytics for creators; includes demographic markers, story engagement, time spent viewing stories, reach, more; Snap recently rolled out a controversial redesign as part of Snapchat’s broader plan to separate social and media features.
South Korean carrier KT Corp is using 5G at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang to ward off wild boars; includes tech from Intel, Ericsson, and Samsung; the system senses boars and emits tiger roars, gasses, more to deter the pests; the games are also serving to demonstrate driverless shuttles, real-time 360-degree video, more.
📚 Stuff to think about
The indispensable document for the modern manager. Whether you are a people manager or an individual contributor, this tactical framework for employee/manager communication is full of best practices to drive success.