elproducto #47 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Alexa for business, Youtube Reels, Instagram repost, Snapchat redesign, AWS summit announcements, WeWork acquires Meetup, Ofo bike sharing & more.

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

📰 Seen on the news

Amazon announces in-skill purchases for third-party Alexa apps; launching in preview for select trivia games, users will be able to buy additional features or contents.

YouTube announces Reels: a new short-form video format (30-second maximum); initially displayed on a dedicated tab on the creator’s page; creators can add stickers, filters, music and text.

Instagram begins testing several new features including a repost tool; the firm is also testing a GIF search tool, allowing users to add them to Stories; also testing the ability to archive Stories.

Facebook begins verifying user activity by asking them to upload an image of their face; the company says the process is an anti-fraud measure and images are deleted once verification is complete.

Facebook begins testing “breaking news” labels for select publishers; the tag can be set to appear for up to six hours, but it can only be used once within a 24-hour period.

Snapchat is becoming the anti-Facebook. A redesign attempts to draw a distinction between consuming news and content versus socializing with friends.

WeWork acquires Meetup; Meetup enables users to plan interest-based group activities, such as workshops, classes, sporting events, etc; claims 35M members and 300k meetups.

Google Search to launch a dedicated “Finance” tab; the page features sections for followed stocks, recent searches, overviews world markets; Google Finance will display historical tables and portfolios.

Google can tell if someone is looking at your phone over your shoulder; it’s developed an AI-based system that can recognize a person’s gaze in 2ms.

Microsoft makes Office available to Chromebook users via Play Store; free to owners of specific Android devices; others will need paid subscription.

Microsoft launches Edge browser for iOS and Android in beta; includes “continue on PC” functionality similar to the already offered between iPhone and Mac.

Apple will design its own power chips in-house starting as early as next year, according to Nikkei Asian Review sources; Apple already designs its own core processors, bionic neural engine chips, and fingerprint chips; Apple is also developing its own graphics processors.

VR headset shipments passed 1M in Q3; it was the first quarter with more than 1M shipments; Sony led with 490k PlayStation VR shipments; Oculus followed with 210k; HTC came in third with 160k Vive shipments.

AWS announces Amazon Sumerian, a platform for developing and hosting AR, VR, and 3D apps; promises fast development without requiring any specialist programming knowledge; supports apps for Oculus, Vive, and iOS; Android ARCore coming soon; available now in preview. Also announced a set of cloud-based AI tools; includes Rekognition for tracking people in real time video feeds, and Comprehend, which promises to analyze text for sentiment, people, places, and more; Transcribe lets users create text files from audio recordings, and Translate offers automatic translation; availability unclear. And launches SageMaker, a cloud-based tool for incorporating machine learning into new applications; promises expedited processes for developers and data scientists

Samsung announces that its Smart TVs will soon support Amazon Music; streaming service expected to work with models from 2015 and later, as well as other Samsung audio products, by the end of November; subscribers will be able to browse recommendations, playlists, stations, and music libraries on their TVs.

Russian criminals are using Airbnb to launder money from stolen credit cards; the credit card scammers work with corrupt Airbnb hosts to book accommodation and then split the profits; Airbnb says it’s using a multi-layer defense strategy to prevent fraud.

📚 Good reads

5 mental models that help PMs acquiring and retaining users. Hiten Shah with 5 techniques to help you apply critical thinking to day-to-day product challenges.

How Instagram used a tech reorg to gain focus. Head of Engineering at Instagram, James Everingham, explains how he used a reorganisation to scale up, move faster and better support career development.

25 hints you are working on a high performing team. John Cutler with a pleasant read on what should be the usual in any great product team.

8 tough questions to ask about your company’s strategy. HBR highlights the questions that many companies struggle to answer, but whose answers should ultimately be ingrained in everyone within the org.

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Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Creating cool products @ Revolut, formerly @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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