Netflix’s customer obsession, Spotify’s IPO, Apple’s beta OSs, Amazon considering Flipkart takeover, Apple’s multi-room streaming, The end of Windows & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto!
🎰 The week in figures
~$30B: Spotify went public this week. The company raised $7.36B at a nearly $30B valuation in its IPO.
$9.5B: China-based food delivery company Ele.me was acquired by Alibaba group.
$2.7B: Shanghai-based bike-sharing platform Mobike was acquired by Meituan.
87M: number of Facebook users whose data was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. The previous estimate was 50M.
📰 What’s going on
Facebook Messenger adds support for 360-degree photos and 720p HD videos; recipients can view panoramic images by dragging the onscreen image or moving their smartphone around.
Facebook launches AR Target Tracker effects in beta; enables a user to activate AR experiences with the Facebook camera; e.g. pointing a phone at a movie poster could cause characters to come to life in a promotional AR experience; creation is limited to beta partners.
Facebook limits data available via the Events, Groups, and Pages APIs; the company will screen which apps have access and limit how much information is available; the Instagram Platform API is now deprecated; has disabled searching for users by email and phone number to reduce scraping attempts
Apple plans to use its own processors in Macs starting as soon as 2020; shares of Intel, whose processors currently power Macs, closed down more than 6% following the news.
Apple releases the developer beta versions of iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and watchOS 4.3.1; Apple’s site previously said iOS 11.4 would support ClassKit APIs, but that reference has been removed.
Apple’s latest iOS and tvOS betas include AirPlay 2, which supports multi-room streaming; in the latest (beta) version of Music, a user can tap the speakers icon and select multiple and different devices for synchronized playback.
Apple to launch new Mac Pro in 2019; a Pro Workflow Team is working on performance and compatibility for pro-level software across Apple products; focus areas for next Mac Pro are workflow and modularity; Apple also plans a new display.
Google Voice begins testing Wi-Fi and mobile data calling via Android and the web (iOS support coming soon); phone calls were previously routed via a connected phone number only; the feature also lets users roam without incurring additional charges.
Google updates movie search results so users can see ratings, showtimes, theater locations, and more in a single view; tapping a showtime initiates ticket purchase; now live in mobile browsers and the Google app for Android; coming soon to the Google app for iOS.
Amazon is considering a takeover bid for e-commerce firm Flipkart, according to sources for Indian newspaper Mint; the report also claims Walmart is in talks to acquire 40% of Flipkart, valuing the firm at $21B.
Amazon updates Echo with one-way intercom functionality; if one user says, “Alexa, announce that dinner is ready,” the message is broadcasted to all connected Echos; also accepts the command, “Alexa, tell everyone…”; now rolling out in the US and Canada.
Snapchat introduces group video calls with support for up to 16 users and voice calls for up to 32 people; also adds support for user tagging in Stories.
Mozilla announces Firefox Reality: a browser designed specifically for standalone VR, AR, and MR headsets; Mozilla says it’s the first cross-platform browser for those applications; the company has released source code as well as developer builds for various platforms.
InVision acquires fellow design platform Wake; Wake provides enterprise tools to let designers share and discuss projects that are in-progress; Wake will continue to operate as a standalone business.
Uber and its ride-hailing competitor Taxify plan to launch a motorcycle ride-hailing service, uberBoda, together in Uganda; Taxify riders in Kenya will also have access to the service.
Uber announces it will suspend its UberX service in Greece due to new legislation; the rules require each trip start and end in a fleet partner’s headquarters or parking area; also requires ride-share companies submit user data to a digital registry.
Lyft expands testing of its monthly subscription plans to more than 30 US cities; plans start at $200/month.
Hotjar launches weekly podcast “The Humans Strike Back”: Why it’s time to put people first — in Tech, in Marketing, in Everything
📚 Stuff to think about
Steps to autonomy, a deep-dive into the different stages to autonomous vehicles by Ben Evans.
The end of Windows. How Satya Nadella subtly (or not so) moved Windows to a secondary strategic position at Microsoft.
The Design Genome Project. InVision created a beautiful site deep-diving on design culture at recognized organizations.
Netflix’s customer obsession. Former VP at Netflix shares what moved Netflix from Customer Centric to Customer Obsessed.
Understanding Microservices. A good introduction on Microservices architecture, including a bunch of examples and resources on the topic.
MIT researchers develop a system for transcribing words a person verbalizes internally; the AlterEgo headset uses electrodes to detect neuromuscular signals in the face, and a machine-learning system interprets the signals, which are associated with words.