Facebook’s home speaker, Amazon’s AR try-on patent, Problem-market fit, Tech Q2 results, Self-driving people by Airbnb, Worst UI techniques & more.
Q2 earnings calls week: Facebook profit grew 71% YoY beating expectations. Both Amazon and Alphabet (Google) presented ok results, still shares trended down due to lower earnings per share for the former and the EU fine for the latter. Twitter shares dropped more than 14% after poor results.
Facebook and Amazon passed $500B in market value, following Apple, Google and Microsoft in achieving that milestone. The surge also made Jeff Bezos the richest man on Earth, ahead of Bill Gates.
The giants’ race for leading ‘the next big thing’ continues as Facebook will develop a smart speaker and Amazon shows interest in AR.
More details on all this below. Happy reading!
📰 Seen on the news
Facebook is developing a home speaker with touch display; focuses on photo display; reportedly will be manufactured by Pegatron Technology and slated to launch early next year.
Facebook does not plan on taking revenue from its coming subscription news feature; rather than operating a subscription service, Facebook will present a paywall to users who have viewed 10 of a publisher’s articles, and will direct them to the publisher’s signup page.
Facebook is set to launch its first TV-style shows in mid-August; the company will start with short-form programming before releasing higher-end episodes later this year.
Amazon patents AR technology for home try-on. The patent suggest an approach to try furniture, jewellery and more via augmented reality before purchasing.
Amazon has established a skunkworks team to develop health tech products; known as 1492, the unit are working on hardware and software projects including a platform for medical records, telemedicine apps, and more.
Apple and hearing implant company Cochlear announce the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor, designed to work with iOS; streams sound from a mobile device to an implant and enables control over surgically implanted devices; works directly with iOS — no app required; options are accessible under Settings > General > Accessibility.
Chrome 60 adds support for MacBook Pro Touch Bar; lets users initiate Search, add shortcuts, rearrange buttons, and more; available now.
Google launches Trusted Contacts for iOS (previously available for Android); lets pre-approved friends and family members check on a user’s safety by requesting their location; will also share a user’s last known location if their device is offline.
Google announces Launchpad Studio, a program providing AI startups with resources and access to Google product specialists and engineers; will offer data sets, prototyping assistance, more; now accepting applications.
Google begins testing vacation rentals within its hotel comparison tool; results include ratings and booking links; currently works with certain European destinations including Rome, Milan, and Paris.
Google introduces major crisis updates for Search and Maps; SOS Alerts are shown to users who look for information about an incident or the affected area; provides relevant news, emergency numbers, details on road closures, and more; the firm is working with several crisis management agencies including Red Cross.
PayPal partners with Baidu to let Baidu Wallet users send payments to Paypal’s 17M merchants worldwide; approximately 180M residents of China purchased goods from overseas last year; Baidu claims more than 100M Baidu Wallet users; compares with Alipay’s 450M active users.
Elon Musk posts footage of The Boring Company’s car elevator being tested; the system is designed to transfer vehicles between the roadside and an underground tunnel network.
Adobe to stop distributing and updating Flash by the end of 2020; will continue to provide security patches and compatibility support until that time; Adobe encourages content creators to migrate to other formats.
Oculus releases its first “full-length” virtual reality film, “Miyubi”; Felix & Paul Studios and Funny Or Die produced the 40-minute feature, which places the viewer in the role of smart home robot in 1982; Jeff Goldblum appears; now available.
GoPro launches QuikStories (iOS, Android); automatically pulls Hero5 footage and creates edited videos with music, filters, and effects; users can then share the videos to Instagram, Facebook, and more.
Origami Labs launches Kickstarter for voice-controlled ring wearable, Orii; aims to allow users to make/receive calls/messages, and access Google smart assistant; has raised $158K on $30K goal, ends August 17.
Swidget launches a Kickstarter for a modular IoT power outlet; supports home motion sensors, nightlights, USB chargers, and more; inserts can be controlled via a companion app; has raised $43k of a $40k goal, ends Sept 1.
Grabr, which matches shoppers with international travelers who purchase and deliver goods, raises $2.7M seed led by SignalFire; travelers generally earn 15 to 20 percent of the item cost; to date, travelers have earned more than $400k; raised $6.2M to date.
The UK proposes a full ban on all new gas and diesel vehicles from 2040; the draft legislation also includes hybrid cars and vans; lawmakers say the move is necessary due to rising air pollution; follows a similar announcement by the French government.
Officials from Jinan, China say multiple government departments will begin using a quantum communications network by the end of August; applications will include finance and national defense communications; the technology obscures and alters communications in case of eavesdropping and notifies both parties of an intrusion.
The first Tesla Model 3 have been handed over. The car has more than 500k orders. New customers will get the car by end 2018.
🤑 Q2 results
Both Facebook ($494.9B market cap) and Amazon ($516B market cap) passed $500B in market value this week, a first for each company; Apple ($778B market cap), Google ($650B market cap), and Microsoft ($560B market cap) are the only tech companies worth more. Jeff Bezos becomes the richest person in the world after a surge in Amazon shares; Bill Gates has held top position since 2013; Bezos’ net worth is now $90.9B, compared to Gates’ $90.7B.
Amazon Q2 mixed: $38B revenue, up 25 percent year over year ($37.2B expected); $4.1B AWS revenue, up 42 percent year over year; $0.40 EPS, down from $1.78 in Q2 2016 ($1.42 expected); expects $39.25B to $41.75B in revenue for Q3.
Alphabet Q2 ($684.4B market cap) beats: $26B revenue, up 21 percent year-on-year ($25.6B expected); $22.6B Google ad revenue, up 18.4 percent; $3.5B net income; the results factored in a $2.7B EU fine for Google.
Twitter ($12.48B market cap) shares drop more than 14% following the company’s second quarter earnings report, which revealed a lack of user growth and disappointing ad revenue; the company lost most of its year-to-date gains today.
Facebook Q2 beats: $9.3B revenue, up 45 percent year-on-year ($9.2B expected); $3.9B profit, up 71 percent year-on-year; mobile ad revenue was responsible for 87 percent of the company’s income; Facebook now claims 2B monthly active users.
WhatsApp reaches 1B daily active users; 55B messages are sent across the platform each day, including 4.5B photos and 1B videos; the company has 1.3B monthly active users.
Samsung ($325B market cap) Q2 beats: $54.8B revenue, up 19.8 percent year-on-year; $9.9B profit, up 89 percent year-on-year; Samsung says the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have outsold last year’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Plus; the firm also noted increased demand for its memory chips and displays.
Netflix was the top-grossing app in the App Store in the second quarter; the app saw $153M in revenue, up 233 percent year-over-year, according to Sensor Tower; in the second quarter of last year, the app earned $46M across both the App Store and Google Play.
📚 Good reads
Self-Driving People, Enabled by Airbnb. How Airbnb wants to unlock human potential while enriching the local community and creating new employment.
Solve for humans, be human-centric. Avinash Kaushik presents the upgrade of customer-centricity, and that is focusing on humans and behaviours rather than narrowing your view to existing customers.
How to build and launch a chatbot over the weekend. Yes, that is possible! And Mike Williams tells you how step by step. And if you are up for the challenge, Invision explains here why message length matters.
Problem-market fit before product-market fit. Sean Byrnes explains his approach to ensure you are solving real humans’ problems.
🎯Quote of the week
“Push Notification is a privilege because users place trust in you by allowing you to send messages directly to them, and you mustn’t abuse that privilege.” — Nick Babich