Eye-tracking Google Search Results, New Apple products, Learning Roadmaps, Google Maps real-time location, Tesla’s solar roofs, Airbnb on China’s & more.
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto.
📰 Seen on the news
- Apple refreshes its 9.7-inch iPad with an A9 chip and drops the “Air” branding; the 32GB Wi-Fi model now starts at $330 and is now available; comes as the firm adds a special edition iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in red, and introduces 32GB and 128GB options for iPhone SE.
- Apple announced Clips, a free app for capturing and editing videos; users can also speak to add live titles, which appear alongside the spoken words; also includes a range of other effects and filters; set to launch sometime next month. Also made public the acquisition of the IFTT-like service Workflow, an automation service for iPhone and iPad. Lastly, Apple has committed hundreds of engineers to its AR efforts; the firm is exploring several AR-related projects, including the ability to manipulate iPhone photos after the fact; the company also has plans for AR glasses, but a release timeline remains unclear.
- Samsung launching an AI-powered assistant called Bixby; available on the Galaxy S8 (for which pricing and new pics and have appeared), and be able to take certain actions within pre-installed apps.
- eBay updates its homepage, adding improved recommendations; users will see carousels for recently viewed, watched items, and recommended eBay shops; users no longer have to follow a seller or save a product to receive suggestions. Also announced guaranteed 3-day shipping for elegible products (starting in US).
- Foursquare launches Foursquare Analytics: a platform for brands and retailers that provides foot traffic data according to age, gender, etc; data can be viewed at the city or national level and compared against competitors or to an entire category.
- Model: an AR photo editing app for iOS. Launched by Tipit, which provides an SDK that enables developers to integrate AR functions into apps; the software separates a subject from the background of an image and applies various effects and filters.
- Researchers manage to manipulate personal electronic devices via cheap speakers. They cheater the devices’ accelerometer using sound waves. Devices “hacked” include smartphones, Fitbit, Smart home devices, etc.
- Google releases first developer preview of Android O; improves battery life by increasing limits on what apps can do in background; adds notification channels so developers can break notifications into categories: enables users to control app notifications by type, rather than applying the same setting to all of an app’s notifications & more.
- Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announces that construction will soon begin on its first passenger pod; is working with Spanish engineering firm Carbures; plans to unveil the 20-ton pod in early 2018; will carry 28–40 passengers at a top speed of 1123 kmh (760 mph).
- Tesla to open pre-orders for Solar Roof product in April; will cover entire roofs with solar cell shingles; no price announced; Elon Musk has said it may be cheaper than conventional roofing in the long term, with maintenance, energy savings, etc factored in. Elon also tweeted a video of the first drive of a Model 3 release candidate.
- Reddit announces improved profile pages; users can publish posts directly to their profiles, not just to individual subreddits; users can follow one another and see followed profile posts on the front page; begins with limited test group (which all can view).
- Facebook is testing News Feed design changes, including Messenger-like text bubbles for comments, an indicator that another commenter is typing, more; a company spokesperson says the small test is intended to make post comments more visual and conversational. Also rolled out Reactions and @ mentions for Messenger; users can add an emoji to a friends message, including a thumbs-up or thumbs-down; typing @ and a user’s name will alert them to a conversation thread.
- Instagram begins blurring sensitive content and makes two-factor authentication available for all users; the content will be blurred when users report a post as offensive or questionable, and the post doesn’t violate Instagram’s terms of service. Viewers can still tap through a warning to view content. Also to introduce booking tools for businesses; the app will let customers book a appointments at salons and other brick-and-mortar locations by clicking a link on their business profile.
- Linkedin introduces Trending Storylines, a curated list of developing stories; situated alongside the regular feed, each story is populated by subject links and posts.
- Medium launches $5-per-month premium subscription; subscribers will eventually get exclusive content, the ability to save for offline reading, and early access to a new interface with curated reading lists; however, exclusive features are not yet available; for now, all subscription revenue goes to writers and publishers.
- Google Maps to allow iOS and Android users to share real-time location; rolling out worldwide over the next week; users will have control over who can see their location and for how long; will also add features for finding parking and locating a parked car.
- Airbnb rebrands as Aibiying in China; comes as CEO Brian Chesky announces plans for the country, including launching Trips in Shanghai, and arrangements with various cities to allow home rentals; the firm is also working with Alipay and WeChat to offer payment and customer support.
- Walmart receives patent to use drones to move products throughout stores; would route drones over shelves to enable customers’ sense of being secure; some experts claim such a system is far more feasible than using drones for home delivery.
- T-Mobile to roll out scam call reporting and blocking; compares incoming call numbers with lists of known scammers and spammers; new numbers are automatically added based on call data.
- Stephen Hawking is going to space. Not really related to product, but…Stephen Hawking is going to space! No need to say more.
📚 Good reads
- Invisible user experiences. A great user experience goes well beyond a beautiful design. Michael Wong walk us through few examples where great experiences may be led by unnoticed and otherwise obvious designs.
- Summary of Stack Overflow 2017 Developers’ survey. What +64.000 developers said about their jobs and themselves.
- Sharing screenshots doesn’t need to be a pain. Jason Zimdars from Basecamp shows us a couple of UI design examples aimed to help users sharing screenshots without breaking the in-App experience.
- How strong is your innovation evidence? The effort put in exploration and validation of new ideas shouldn’t be a constant measure, but rather a curve in which you will ideally move from quick & cheap methods towards more solid and exhaustive ones.
- Eye-tracking Google search results. Insightful analysis on the recent evolution of Google paid ads within SERP and its impact on users. The article is focused on a Hotel Industry example.
- 2017, the year of challenging conventions. First we heard about RATs killing MVPs, now we have Learning Roadmaps vs Product Roadmaps. A concept many companies may claim be doing (responding to change vs following solid plans is at the core of Agile), however hard to fit within certain archaic layers out of IT. Keep’ em coming!
👨🏫 Quote of the week
“The details are not the details. They make the design.” — Charles Eames