Network Effects, Facebook’s facial recognition, (Not so)serious Products, Smarter Google Flights, New Samsung Galaxy, Google’s vs Apple’s Maps & more.
Happy holidays and welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto!
📰 Seen on the news
Facebook introduces facial recognition features; if a user tries to use the photo of another person as a personal profile picture, the actual person in the image will be notified; will also notify a user if someone else uploads a photo of them without tagging it; all facial recognition features will be controllable with a single on/off switch.
Facebook enters multi-year licensing agreement with Universal Music Group, enabling users of the social network to include songs from the label in their video uploads; also covers Instagram and Oculus.
Facebook launches “Snooze,” a tool that allows users to mute a person, page, or group for 30 days; does not require users to unfollow or unfriend others and muted parties will not be informed they’ve been muted; site says it will invest in research on digital distraction and the effect of social media on kids and will share findings publicly.
Snapchat reigns as the preferred social media platform of teenagers; in a social media survey, RBC Capital found that 79% of 13–18-year-olds said they have accounts with Snapchat, while 73% and 57% of them reported having Instagram and Facebook accounts, respectively. Full research here.
Google Flights will now offer tickets “tips” in search results; will alert users when a flight price is cheaper or more expensive than normal and will help users identify the best time to book a flight.
Google Chrome update enables users to mute autoplay videos; other Chrome 64 beta features include an enhanced pop-up blocker, HDR video playback on Windows 10, “split view” for Chrome OS & more.
Google’s Inbox app now offers to unsubscribe desktop users from promotional email lists if they consistently don’t read the emails.
Apple plans to unify apps across Mac, iPhone, and iPad; currently, developers must publish separate apps for mobile and desktop/laptop; change could come as soon as next year.
Apple drops its $100 developer fee for nonprofits and government agencies; follows an earlier change to the App Store guidelines, preventing developers from publishing template-based apps on behalf of others
Apple is testing an electrocardiogram for Watch integration; the user presses two fingers against the frame of the Watch, which then sends an imperceivable current through the wearer’s chest to detect an irregular heartbeat and other potential problems.
Twitter launches Account Activity API for enterprises; enables company apps with Twitter-powered customer service, brand engagement, chatbots, more; differs from the existing Account Activity API in that it supports more data, offers multiple webhooks URLs, and includes managed support.
Downloads of the Bitcoin exchange app Coinbase spiked to 700k during the week ending Dec 12; had twice as many first-time installs as Snapchat or Instagram during that period.
Japanese company GMO Internet to give 4k employees the option to receive a portion of their salaries in Bitcoin; starting in February, workers can opt to receive up to the equivalent of $890 in the cryptocurrency monthly; GMO Internet seeks to better understand Bitcoin as its value soars.
Alexa now has more than 25k available skills in the US, although the growth rate is slowing; , 62% of the skills are not yet rated, suggesting their user bases are small.
Samsung announces 5.6-inch Galaxy A8 and 6-inch Galaxy A8 Plus featuring dual-array front cameras; includes support for portrait mode via the the 8MP and 16MP selfie lenses; both devices also feature a 16MP back camera and an AMOLED display; available January.
Amazon’s Prime Video app for Apple TV sets new record for the platform for the most downloads during the first week of availability; the app also works within Apple’s TV app for iOS.
Messaging firm Line acquires a 20% of Chinese bike sharing Mobike; as part of the deal Mobike users will be able to unlock a bike using the Line app; Mobike operates in roughly 200 cities around the world.
Tidal launches apps for Apple TV and Android TV; each provides subscribers with access to the entire Tidal library and to music videos, live streams, concerts, etc.
The EU’s top court says Uber can be regulated as a traditional taxi service; the ruling means the 28 EU member states can apply their own transportation laws to Uber and other ride-hailing services.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin could launch a human flight by the end of next year; timing depends on the results of Blue Origin’s test program.
The UK government to make high-speed broadband a legal right by 2020; the universal service obligation (USO) will mean all homes and businesses must have access to download speeds of at least 10 Mbps.
📚 Good reads
Startup Network Effects (NFX). Nice read on NFX and how companies that leverage them tend to generate more value. <20% of business cases in the study are based on NFX, yet ~70% of tech market cap has NFX.
Why every Product Manager should be able to prototype. The guys at productboard want us to prototype more: “Prototypes are visions of the future — some way of being able to see and experience the future of an idea [where doing so in words would fall short]”.
How far ahead is Google Maps from Apple Maps? A great (and extensive) post deep-diving into the differences between the 2 biggest consumer maps.
The 25 most popular password of 2017. The facepalm-triggering list by SplashData is here again, and humans will still disappoint you.
Subscription business are booming, and HBR looks at how and why.
6 types of data roles explained through Star Wars characters. Because…Star Wars!
Serious Products don’t have to be serious. Mo Bashagha argues seriousness can use a Maslow-like need pyramid. Bonus: here’s an article I wrote about one of my favourite serious not-so-serious products, Monzo.
Great science books of 2017 — from consciousness to black holes to trees, by Maria Popova.
💥 Quote of the week
“When you put problem in computer, box hide answer. Problem must be visible!”- Hideshi Yokoi