Skype’s massive update, Storyframe before Wireframe, App stores revenue soaring, Optimizing velocity of Learning, Twitter live broadcasts w. BBC & more
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto.
📰 Seen on the news
Microsoft launches Skype update with big focus on messaging. Aims to compete with WhatsApp and Messenger; supports add-ons in conversations (eg. Giphy or Youtube) and adds services like restaurant search. Also includes Stories feature similar to Snapchat. Android already out, iOs, Mac and Windows will follow in few days.
Twitter announces a live streaming partnership with the BBC; broadcasting election specials on May 31 and on June 2, 4, and 8; includes debates and election result coverage.
Google says its machine learning models detect Gmail spam and phishing with 99.9 percent accuracy; the company says 50–70 percent of messages sent to Gmail are spam; business customers will get warnings when clicking on potentially dangerous attachments and when replying to external email addresses.
Google submits designs for a 1M square foot London HQ; construction on the so-called “landscraper” is set to begin next year; the Kings Cross campus will eventually house 7k staff members.
Snap acquires LA-based small drone startup Ctrl Me Robotics; Ctrl Me provided aerial footage to movie studios.
Andy Rubin showcases the $700 Essential Phone; 5.7-inch edge-to-edge display; includes a 13MP dual back camera and 8MP front camera; no 3.5mm headphone port; launch date unclear. Also announced Essential Home, a smart assistant device with a round display; and a 12MP clip-on camera with dual fisheye sensors, capable of recording 4K 360 video at 30fps. Phone will go on sale within 30 days at Essential’s website.
Microsoft reveals details of upcoming Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Dell, Asus and Lenovo.
Samsung announces VR Live Pass, a Gear VR streaming service featuring select UFC fights, X Games competitions, and Live Nation concerts; the free service will be available from the Samsung VR app store in early June.
Apple Music is set to launch Carpool Karaoke on Aug 8; episodes will be released each Tuesday.
66 iOS publishers earned at least $1M in App Store revenue in 2016; Google Play saw 39 publishers reach the same goal; iPhone users in the US spent an average of $40 on apps and in-app purchases, up from $35 in 2015.
Reddit adds support for location tags on iOS and Android; powered by Foursquare; a user can browse nearby places or search for a specific place.
Yandex unveils self-driving prototype vehicle for on-demand ride service Yandex.Taxi; the modified Toyota will help the company test its autonomy software, which employs data and technology from live company products, including Yandex.Navigator and Yandex.Maps.
Research firm CB Insights reports that tech giants acquired 34 AI startups in Q1’17; Google has had the most activity, acquiring 11 since 2012, followed by Apple, Facebook, and Intel; notable recent examples include Ford’s $1B investment in Argo AI.
The New York Times reports on the developments in China’s AI scene; focuses on the rapid progress the country has made in closing the gap with the US; notes its relationship to the state’s goals, and governments funding; contrasts this with Trump’s proposed cutbacks.
Amazon shares pass $1k for the first time; the stock value is up 40 percent over the past year and up more than 50k percent over the last 20 years (went public in May of 1997); the company has earned a profit for the last eight quarters, largely attributable to AWS.
Hyperloop startup Hardt Global Mobility builds a 100-foot, low-speed test track in the Netherlands; plans to build a high-speed test line by 2019; hopes to begin construction on a commercial hyperloop between Amsterdam and Paris in 2021.
📚 Good reads
- Storyframes: the lowest fidelity possible of a design. Fabricio Teixeira proposes an exercise to help you put your core message at the center of designs before jumping into wireframing.
- How Twitch learned to make better predictions about everything. Danny Hernandez from Twitch explains how they forecast decisions and keep improving their confidence intervals with a simple approach.
- Optimizing teams’ velocity of learning (vs velocity of delivery). Jeff Gothelf, author of Sense & Respond, writes about why teams should use velocity of learning as a discovery metric, complimentary to velocity of delivery (as delivery metric).
- How to get started with User Testing. InVision has put together a handy guide (cheap or free resources included) with the basics to get user testing up and running in any team or company.