Facebook News subscription, Amazon messaging App, Google recruitment tools, Product acronyms, Star Wars AR games, Emoji products, New Atari & more.
Elon Musk urged the US government to regulate AI asap, considering it “the biggest risk we face as a civilization”. Meanwhile, China plans to leverage AI to achieve world economic dominance by 2030. HBR explains here what the business of AI is about and what it can do for your organisation.
Btw, tired of wasting your life trying to decipher acronyms? Check out the Product Acronyms guide I put together.
📰 Seen on the news
Facebook begins piloting ads within its Marketplace hub; the firm is testing Newsfeed ads in the Craigslist-like section; advertisers are not currently being charged for the additional exposure.
Facebook announces plans to launch a subscription news product; tests slated for October; non-paying users will be able to access 10 articles before hitting a paywall; The Wall Street Journal previously reported the subscription product would be based on Instant Articles.
Uber acquihires social apps studio Swipe Labs; founder and select engineers will work on the driver experience; the company built four apps for sharing photos, videos, and text.
Amazon has been surveying customers about a new messaging app called Anytime; the company is asking potential users which features are most critical to them; promotional portions of screen captures indicate the app will support voice, video, and group chats.
Amazon launches Spark: a social product discovery feature in the Amazon mobile app; Prime members can post stories, ideas, and photos; product images are shoppable; Prime members can also comment on posts and “smile” (like); non-Prime users can select categories of interest and access the feed, but cannot post or comment.
Amazon is already selling meal kits to select AmazonFresh customers; news of a trademark related to the service sent Blue Apron shares falling on Monday; an AmazonFresh customer speaking with GeekWire says meal kits have been available since late June.
Snap is now selling its camera-equipped Spectacles via Amazon; Spectacles record and share video for viewing on smartphones.
Snapchat adds the ability to successively record up to six 10-second videos; users can then select the best clips for their story; also introduces Tint Brush, an editing tool that lets users select objects in a photo and change their color.
Augmented reality startup Mira opens pre-orders for Prism: a $100 smartphone-powered AR headset; an iPhone is secured in front of the user’s forehead, with the display facing away from the user; images are reflected by a transparent panel, superimposed over what the user sees in the physical environment.
Google launches premium recruiting app Hire; designed for identifying candidates, building relationships, managing the interview process, more; integrates with G Suite apps: Hire messages are synced with Gmail messages and vice versa; makes an interviewer’s schedule visible in a candidate’s Calendar and syncs details like contact information.
Google app (iOS, Android) adds a personalized feed; includes trending stories from a variety of sources, local content, and more; users can also choose to follow topics from search results.
Alphabet’s moonshot division, X, announces Glass Enterprise Edition; the successor to the Google Glass AR product has been updated to be lighter and more comfortable for long-term use; X has spent two years developing custom software and business solutions for partners; applications have included assistive visuals for machine assembly and airplane maintenance.
Apple launches Machine Learning Journal: a sub-site where Apple engineers share machine learning research and innovations; the company encourages outside researchers, students, engineers, and developers to submit questions and feedback.
Samsung begins rolling out Bixby voice for Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus users in the US; support for English was initially expected in May, but was delayed due to issues with syntax and grammar.
Netflix ($71B market cap) Q2 beats: $2.79B revenue, up 32.3 percent year-on-year ($2.76B expected); $65.6M net profit, up 60.7 percent year-on-year; (added 1.1M US subscribers (630k expected); added 4.1M non-US subscribers (2.6M expected).
Converter Bot (Messenger) lets users convert files and websites into other formats; outputs to PDF, MP3, PNG, and more.
Transit app company Citymapper to launch its first commercial bus service in August; previously launched a free pop-up route in London, but was not yet licensed for commercial service; the CM2 route will serve East London on weekend nights; the buses feature USB ports for charging devices and displays showing current location.
HTC launches an Alexa app for HTC U11; users can activate the assistant via voice or by squeezing the device (exists alongside Google Assistant); offers 15k Alexa skills; lets users listen to apps such as Amazon Music or Audible books without having to download separate apps.
Disney announces “Star Wars: Jedi Challenges”: an augmented reality bundle that comes with a smartphone-powered Lenovo headset, lightsaber controller, and multiple games; might include the Holochess game from “A New Hope” and “The Force Awakens”; more details in coming months. Also announced Marvel Powers United, a multiplayer VR game created in partnership with Oculus and Sanzaru Games.
Google is providing early access to cloud quantum computing services; has served artificial intelligence researchers and science labs; a slide presentation obtained by Bloomberg references a quantum data center called Embryonic, and ProjectQ: an open-source initiative to get developers to write code for quantum computers.
SpaceX hopes to achieve a 24-hour turnaround for reusing Falcon 9 rockets next year. Current cost of refurbishing is near cost of manufacturing new rockets.
Elon Musk argues that the government must be proactive in regulating the development of artificial intelligence; speaking at a National Governors Association meeting, Musk said if the government regulates AI in a reactive manner — only after things have gone wrong — it will already be too late; Musk also noted the risk of fleet-wide autonomous vehicle hacks.
Elon also said that he has received verbal government approval for The Boring Company to build an underground tunnel for a Hyperloop route connecting New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC; details undisclosed; Musk also says his company will likely build a Hyperloop tunnel between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and another in Texas.
Baidu’s open-source autonomous vehicle platform, Apollo, will use Microsoft Azure services outside of China; will enable car companies to use Apollo without building their own custom cloud infrastructure; Microsoft’s cloud AI, machine learning, and deep neural network capabilities will be used to capture and process data to help Apollo scale.
Atari reveals more details about the in-development Ataribox, including rendered images; the previously teased console will come bundled with classic titles and new content; will feature HDMI and USB ports, and an SD card slot.
📚 Good reads
Product Acronyms. A (hopefully) useful guide to Product Acronyms by yours truly.
Not experimenting? Here’s why you are missing out. Antoine Frange writes about the importance of hypothesis-driven experimentation. Make sure to also check the Part 1 of this series of posts on experimentation.
Diseases of will — the six psychological flaws that keep the talented from achieving greatness. Slightly longer read than what I usually share, this article is pure gold. Although based on a 1897 book, the advice presented in this post could very well resound with present day Product Management attitudes.
Designed Degradations: UX patterns for hostile environments. Practical examples on how to ease users’ pain in frustrating scenarios.
🎯Quote of the week
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…” — Isaac Asimov