elproducto #24 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

EU free roaming, Amazon buys Whole Foods, Uber CEO indefinite leave, Amazon Magic Wand, Twitter redesign, Postboarding vs Onboarding & more.

👩‍🚀 TL;DR

Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto.

Amazon has just reconfirmed their focus on groceries by announcing the acquisition of Whole Foods, their biggest acquisition ever. This is a game changer in a competitive space where other online/offline grocery stores, like Wal-Mart, have been trying (with little fortune) to get more stake of the online market. The acquisition will give Amazon hundreds of fulfilment centres near affluent consumers, in a highly-growing eCommerce category.

Uber’s toxic culture bubble has finally exploded. After a series of scandals and executives’ departures during the last few months, it’s their CEO Travis Kalanick who will be taking an indefinite leave. Despite internal turmoil, the company keeps a steady growth, seeing 8.7% more orders last quarter.

Cool products announced this week include: an Amazon “magic wand” to let you scan and order anything, new Snap Spectacles and a contactless payment sticker that you can wear in your clothes or gadgets.

In the updates & redesigns space, Twitter, Apple Podcasts and Headspace are seeing big revamps.

Happy reading!

📰 Seen on the news

The EU has dropped mobile roaming charges across member states this week; carriers may still apply fair use limits to certain plans, but additional charges are capped.

Apple announces revamp of Podcasts app; includes season structuring, labels indicating teaser, full episode, or bonus, and ability to download full seasons, listening from beginning or end; podcasters will now also have access to in-episode analytics.

Tim Cook confirms Apple is working on self-driving technology; Cook notes the industry’s potential to disrupt; Cook wouldn’t confirm or deny hardware plans.

Amazon to buy WholeFoods for $13.7b; a huge step to enter the brick-and-mortar space while groceries’ competitors like Wal-Mart push into the digital area.

Amazon launches Alexa-powered Dash Wand; can listen or scan items and adds them directly to shopping cart.

Uber is being run by a committee of 14 executives as CEO Travis Kalanick takes indefinite leave. Follows recent complaints about mismanagement, toxic company culture and sexual harassment.

Twitter is rolling out a redesign that unifies look across web and apps; includes new icons and rounded corners; apps feature a new side tab for accessing Moments, profile and settings; the new iOS app does away with Twitter’s in-app browser in favor of Safari View Controller, which provides AutoFill, Reader view, etc.

Meditation app Headspace updates: features redesigned UI with a personalized timeline; now lets users alternate between goal-specific meditation packs without losing progress.

Apple launches developer preview of Business Chat for iMessage; will generate message icons next to businesses’ names in Siri, Spotlight, and Maps; requires iOS 11; intended to connect with both online and offline businesses.

Apple is set to let patients store their clinical data on an iPhone; the system would allow patients to share records with medical professionals.

The next iPhone will feature wireless charging, according to Apple manufacturer Wistron; CEO Robert Hwang said the device would also be waterproof (current iPhones are water resistant).

Engadget demos Visa’s contactless payment sticker; intended to allow users to shop simply by tapping, using IoT home devices among others; uses tokens to replace sensitive information.

Microsoft announces $500 Xbox One X; offers 4K gaming and movies; available with 1TB storage; also supports Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Xbox games; available Nov 7.

Google Maps updates its Local Guides program, adding additional levels and rewards; points are linked to the value of data; users who reach level 4 will get three months of Google Play Music and movie rental discounts.

Google Play introduces Android Excellence, a curated list of high quality apps; selections are based on Android’s best practices and will be updated on a quarterly basis

Google open sources MobileNets: a set of pre-trained machine learning models for on-device image recognition processing; fully optimized and ready for implementation in apps; deployable with TensorFlow Mobile.

Snap is working on a new version of Spectacles, according to TechCrunch sources; the report suggests Snap may include AR features.

Translate by Touch App (iOS) offers translations in Safari; works with individual words, sentences, or a whole page.

China-based bike-rental service Mobike is set to launch in the UK, its first overseas market; the firm will make 1k bikes available in Manchester and Salford from June 29; follows similar moves by rival Ofo which launched in Cambridge, UK last year.

Amazon loaned $1B to around 20K SMEs in the last year; has loaned $3B since 2011; the program is available by invite-only basis for companies that sell goods on the website.

Slack is raising $500M at a $5B post-valuation; sources say Slack now earns $1B in revenue, though it’s still not profitable; the company has received no formal acquisition offers, though Microsoft, Google, Salesforce and Amazon have expressed interest; has raised more than $500M to date.

Spotify earned $3.3B revenue for 2016, up 50 percent year-on-year; $390M operating loss; EU filings also show the firm has agreed to pay record labels at least $2B over two years to get better royalty rates.

Elon Musk tweets indicate that SpaceX could launch its Falcon Heavy as early as September; the rocket can carry three times more weight than the Falcon 9, or 140K pounds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates Tesla’s Model X a perfect five stars in every category; Model X is behind only the Model S for lowest probability of injury and has the lowest probability of injury of any SUV the NHTSA has ever tested.

French President Emmanuel Macron launches a new technology visa intended to draw top researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to the country; also announced plans to eliminate complex regulations that inhibit startups and to fund young companies.

The New York Times makes use of Jigsaw’s Perspective to automatically filter user comments; uses AI to measure posts along a “toxicity” scale; allows community editors to focus on certain comments.

📚 Good reads

Psych: a framework to measure the emotional impact of user interactions. Darius Contractor from Dropbox looks at every UX interaction as an emotional event in order to understand how can they play increasing or decreasing funnel conversion.

The illusion of measuring what customers want. Can qualitative insights be quantified? This article explores the malleability and inconsistency across time and events of peoples’ satisfaction and desires.

The value of Non-feature work. Not all work needs to be ‘new’ work. John Cutler argues we should do better to understand the impact of often vilified refactoring. ‘New and shiny’ doesn’t mean more valuable.

Z-shaped pattern for reading web content. In an ideal world, users would read every piece of content you want them to read. However, down here in planet Earth, it is common that users follow a z-shaped pattern when scanning (not reading) your site. Nick Babich tell us what, how and why this happens. More important: what can you do about it.

How Alexa Hooks you. Good review of Alexa through the Hook model lenses.

Postboarding, the alternative to Onboarding. Onboarding processes tend to be considered a necessary evil, however, there are alternatives to spread the educational process through the use of the product.

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