elproducto #15 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness for humans
Google’s drawing assistant, Facebook group payments, Samsung’s foldable screens, Inside Zendesk design, Backlog anti-patterns, Internet nostalgia & more
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto.
📰 Seen on the news
- Google launches machine learning-powered art tool AutoDraw; the user sketches an object and AutoDraw uses machine learning to provide suggestions for professionally created drawings; the user can add color and text; applications include event posters, greeting cards,... Try it here.
- Google Duo’s voice calling is now available globally; the app now features a video/audio switch at the top of the screen.
- Google launches style suggestions to Image Search. When searching for fashion items, the feature recommends other articles and accessories.
- India keeps growing as a testing ground for innovative products. Google launches local services app Areo; lets users order food, book beauty appointments, find a handyman, and more; users can pay with a credit card, bank transfer or cash.
- Burger King pisses off Google by triggering Home devices from a TV ad. Invoked OK Google to promote the Whooper.
- Facebook updates Messenger with group payments (Android and desktop); previously limited to individual p2p payments; can enter a different amount to be sent to each user, or, enter a total amount to be divided evenly; can also request funds and see who has paid. Facebook not aiming to take cut of payments.
- Facebook Messenger now claims 1.2B monthly active users, up from 1B in July of 2016; also increased number of messages sent per user; David Marcus, who heads Messenger, says the app’s Snapchat Stories clone, Messenger Day, has driven teen use above expectations; teens are also engaging with group video calls. The company also reported strong growth on advertisers (5M monthly, up from 3M in Mar 2016).
- Facebook takes out full page ads in several French newspapers, providing tips for spotting fake news. It has also suspended more than 30k accounts on the grounds of suspicious fake news in that country.
- Slack enables in-message menus for third-party apps; launch partners include SurveyMonkey and To-Do Bot; developers can integrate static menus (fixed choices), user menus (members of a team), Slack public channel menus, conversation menus (public/private channels and DMs) and live menus (populated by server queries).
- Microsoft begins rolling out Windows 10 Creators Update; includes Paint 3D, Compact Overlay (picture-in-picture mode), Dynamic Lock (automatic PC locking).Also opens up its Insider Program to Business users with an Azure Activity Directory account; was previously only available for personal users; company plans to roll out further business applications soon.
- Samsung is set to begin testing foldable dual-screen smartphones; the devices will make use of two 5-inch OLED displays; Samsung plans to have 2k to 3k prototypes ready for testing by mid-2017.
- Apple is working on non-invasive sensors for the treatment of diabetes; the technology has been in development for at least five years, with roughly 30 people working on the project; some of the engineers have been embedded with the Apple Watch team.
- Snapchat-owned app Bitmoji becomes most downloaded app in US, UK, France, Canada, and Australia; was not in any top 10 when Bitmoji was acquired by Snap last year; Uber also entered three top 10 markets for the first time.
- Fitbit’s GPS-equipped smartwatch and Bluetooth headphones delayed until fall; the smartwatch was originally slated for a spring launch; GPS issues required some redesign; not clear if watch will be fully waterproof.
- Lyft raises $600M for $7.5B post-valuation; a $500M-plus round was reported last week; updated round total brings funding to date to more than $2.6B (still far from Uber’s $8.81B).
- Uber used a secret program called “Hell” to track Lyft drivers; the software was used to monitor the availability of Lyft cars, and those that drove for both companies; the firm then used methods to lure those drivers away from Lyft customers; the practice ended in early 2016.
- Electric Vehicle charging network company Char.gy aims to install charge points on street lamps and charge users a monthly fee for access; currently arranging a pilot in London that will see charge points go live in Barnes and Kew this summer.
- Apple gets permit to test self-driving cars in California. The company appears to be involved in machine learning and automation systems rather than in a vehicle.
- Tesla will unveil the final Model 3 in July; Musk previously likened the vehicle’s interior to a spaceship. Also announced plans for a semi truck (to be unveiled in September) and a pick up (in 18–24 months).
- Google publishes its methodology for calculating employee pay; the firm says compensation is based on the role, job level, location, and performance reviews. Also testing a service to manage job applications.
- Connect off the grid. GoTenna, which enables text and GPS on cell phones where there is no service, raises $7.5M Series. Provides key fob device that pairs with a phone via Bluetooth LE; communicates with other GoTenna devices over radio waves; raised $9.3M to date.
📚 Good reads
- What happens when the algorithm goes wrong? Roman V Yampolskiy writes for HBR on AI failures during the last couple of years, and predicts what to expect in this young field.
- Inside Design Zendesk. InVision talks to the popular customer service platform on their design principles and practices.
- Stories everywhere. Why Facebook is so interested in pushing its serial-copied feature.
- Internet nostalgia. A throwback to how the internet’s favourite websites used to look.
- A visual vocabulary for concept models by Christina Wodtke. Because generally pictures > words. Inspiring ideas for data and concept visualization lovers like me.
- Product Backlog anti-patterns. Stefan Wolpers walks us through 28 common pitfalls and “bad practices” in Product teams.
- Design consistency. Anton Nikolov explains why consistency matters, giving an overview on types of consistency and the ways they can play enhancing the user experience.
👨🏫 Quote of the week
“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations