maandag, mei 14, 2018

Facebook restructuring into 3 divisions

3 Divisions

  • Family of Apps (CPO Chris Cox))
    • Facebook (Will Cathcart)
    • Instagram (CEO Kevin Systrom)
    • Messenger (Stan Chudnovsky)
    • WhatsApp (VP Chris Daniels)
  • New Platforms & Infrastructure (CTO Mike Schroepfer)
    • AI (Jerome Pesenti)
    • AR/VR (Andrew Bosworth)
    • Blockchain tech (David Marcus)
    • Engineering/Infra/Privacy (Jay Parikh)
  • Central Product Services (shared features across products & apps, VP of Growth Javier Olivan)
    • Ads (Mark Rabkin)
    • Analytics (Alex Schultz)
    • Integrity/growth/product management (Naomi Gleit)
Other
  • Establishes team to integrate privacy into products, 300 employees.
  • Rumor: plans cryptocurrency.
  • Appoints Jeff Zients to Board.
  • Rebrands Oculus Research to Facebook Reality Labs.

Google I/O 2018

New
  • Android Things (out of beta) for smart devices/IoT, with SDK for developers.
  • Demos Google Duplex (lets Google Assistant call businesses for info or reservation).
  • Launches Smart Displays: smart speaker with screen (from Lenovo, LG, Sony, JBL).
  • Launches Android P (Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness, App Actions, Slices; based on AI), any order OEM partners timely security updates.
  • Launches Subscribe with Google (access all your paid content anywhere, including on Google Search, Google News & publishers’ sites).
  • Plans new chip Tensor Processor Unit 3.0 (requires liquid cooling in datacenters).
Updates
  • Google Assistant connects to >5k smart devices, adds Continued Conversations, adds 6 vioices (total 8) based on WaveNet tech.
  • Gmail adds Smart Compose (autocomplete mails), confidential mode (expiring mails) and offline mode.
  • Google Photos adds Suggested Actions (share with people in picture), turn photo into pdf, turn B&W or colorize.
  • Google Maps adds Google Assistant, adds navigation by Street View (AR), adds For You
  • Google Lens adds highlighting text & make copy, adds Style Match, to be part of top-end Android phones
  • Google News adds AI for personalised feeds.
  • Android Auto adds RCS, Google Assistant, partners with Audi & Volvo (integrate voice search and maps into vehicles).

donderdag, oktober 05, 2017

Google launch event: Pixel 2/2 XL, Pixel Buds, Clips, Home Mini/Max, Pixelbook, Pixelbook Pen

Google launches new hardware & software/AI.

Hardware
  • Smart speakers
    • Google Home Mini ($50)
    • Google Home Max ($400; with Smart Sound (adjusts to positioning in the room), Voice Match (identifies user))
  • Laptop
    • Google Pixelbook (from $1000, 3 versions; with 12.3 inch touchscreen)
  • Smart pen
    • Google Pixelbook Pen ($100; for Pixelbook)
  • Smartphones
    • Google Pixel 2 (5 inch; $650 or 750 for 64 or 128 GB)
    • Google Pixel 2 XL (6 inch; $850 or 950 for 64 or 128 GB)
    • work with Project Fi, eSIM, Android 8.0 Oreo, Active Edge (squeeze to activate Assistant)
    • unlimited free photo/video storage
    • Google Lens, Now Playing
    • accessories (incl. certification program for 3rd party manufacturers 'made for Google')
  • New Daydream View headset ($100)
    • currently over 250 apps & games
    • AR/VR for Pixel 2/2 XL: AR Stickers, AR apps (Houzz, League of Legends, Lego)
  • Headphones
    • Google Pixel Buds ($160; wireless)
  • Camera
    • Google Clips ($250; 8 GB; lightweight hands-free camera, control via app, makes clips, unlimited free storage)
Software/AI
  • Google Assistant (on all devices) to add
    • choice of voices (choice of 2)
    • Family Link (game playing)
    • manage home routines
    • transactions (starting with 1-800-Flowers, Applebee’s, Panera, Ticketmaster)
    • broadcast (to all Google Homes)
    • Nest control
  • Identification/recognition
    • Google Pixelbook Pen: handwriting
    • Google Clips: faces
    • Google Lens: landmarks, books, music albums, movies, artwork
    • Now Playing: songs
    • Real-time translation in Google Translate on Pixel: speech

maandag, oktober 02, 2017

Amazon's expanding CPE portfolio

Amazon's recent launch event brought the following.

Hardware
  • Echo Spot (with circular screen, Alexa, front-facing camera, built-in speaker, Bluetooth, audio-out), $130 in US (Dec 17); 2018 in UK, Germany
  • New Echo, $100 (with Alexa, Dolby)
  • Echo Plus, $150.
  • New Amazon Fire TV, $70 in US (dongle; HDMI, 4K, HDR, Alexa Voice Remote, 60 fps, Dolby Atmos)
  • Echo Connect, $35 (Alexa accessory, turns Echo device into hands-free speakerphone for existing home phone line (PSTN or VoIP); connects to home phone jack or VoIP adapter & to Echo device over WiFi)
  • Echo Buttons, $20 for 2 in US, UK, Germany: device for playing games via Alexa; push to answer; Trivial Pursuit from Hasbr; Sounds Fun with Mike Epps; Buzzer Beater Basketball Trivia with Karl-Anthony Towns; Fourth Down Football Trivia with Philip Rivers; Full Count Baseball Trivia with Buster Posey from Ground Control; Beat the Intro from Musicplode)
  • Plans more Alexa Gadgets.
  • For all Echo devices: microphone array with second generation far-field technology.
Software & services
  • Fire OS 6.0 (based on Android Nougat), first in 4K Fire TV
  • Smart Home hub, built into the Echo Plus
  • Alexa Calling, in all Echo devices
  • Alexa Routines (customisable actions using a single voice command)
  • Free outbound calling in US, Canada, Mexico (excl 911)
Milestones
  • Alexa reaches 25k 3rd party skills
  • 5k employees work on Alexa
The total hardware (CPE) portfolio
  • Kindle: e-readers (and a tablet)
  • Fire: tablets
  • Fire TV: casting devices (STB, console, dongle)
  • Dash: ordering devices
  • Echo (and Tap): smart speakers
  • Alexa Gadgets: Echo Buttons

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maandag, maart 20, 2017

Facebook's CPE efforts are coming none too soon

According to rumors, Facebook will launch a range of CPE/hardware at next month's developer conference in San Jose (April 18-19), through its hardware division Building 8 (established at last year's conference).

It makes sense in a number of ways

  • Trend. All internet majors (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook) engage in hardware development. It's a new market, they are flush with cash and they know precisely what their users do.
  • Cross-selling. With the exception of Apple, selling hardware is aimed at growing sales in an adjacent area.
  • Vertical intergration. As such, it is a form of vertical integration, capturing a larger part of the value chain.
  • Diversification. Facebook's revenues are 98.0% from ads (2.0% from payments & other fees). Diversification, in light of the inevitable growth slow-down, is coming none too soon. In fact, the other majors are way ahead of Facebook in this respect.

maandag, januari 16, 2017

Picnic: 24,000 customers, or 7.4% household penetration

Picnic on its website still states it has over 10,000 happy customers, but it looks like there a lot more now.

Picnic is an online supermarket, without traditional stores. It provides services in Amersfoort, Almere, Leusden, Soest, Maarssen and Utrecht. The business case is threefold:

  • Having no stores, prices can be lower than in traditional stores.
  • Having no stores, home delivery is standard. And it carries no extra fees.
  • Picnic really is an app. The website is just for promotion. All the custmer sees and needs is the app, which has great functionality.
The company sent out a mail to its customers on 10 January 2017, saying that it now has 24,000 customers.

The six towns mentioned above have 780,000 inhabitants (assuming that Picnic serves the entire cities where it is active), equalling roughly 325,000 households. Picnic's penetration then stands at 7.4%.

dinsdag, mei 24, 2016

Google I/O, May 18-20: recap

New products & services:
  • Launches Google Assistant (@google, Ok Google; chatbot; voice control, based on Knowledge Graph)
  • Plans Allo (free chat app) summer 2016, incl Google Assistant, mobile-only, works with phone number, with incognito mode (e2e encryption)
  • Plans Duo (HD video calls app) summer 2016
  • Launches Google Home (voice controlled speaker), incl Google Assistant, Cast
  • Plans Project Magenta 160601 (use AI to create art), based on TensorFlow (open source AI -platform).
  • Launches Daydream (platform for developers for VR for Android; with headset & controller), partners with IMAX, Yi Technology (for cinema-grade VR rig)
  • Launches Android Instant Apps (no installation, launches subset of app from URL)
  • Launches Tensor Processing Unit (TPU; custom ASIC for machine learning) for datacenters
Updated products & services:
  • Plans Android N (split screen, 3-D, VR)
  • Launches Android Wear 2.0 (opens apps while offline)
  • Launches Android Auto update (integrates Waze)
  • Launches Android Studio 2.2 for developers
  • Launches Firebase update for developers (470k users)
  • Adds Android apps & Play Store to Chrome (OS)
  • Plans Project Ara (6 interchangeable module slots: camera, battery, speaker, memory, e-ink display etc, not core components) for developers 16Q4, commercial 2017
  • Project Jacquard partners with Levi's for smart jacket (control music, answer phone calls, access navigation etc by tapping & swiping the sleeve), plans beta fall 2016, commercial spring 2017
  • Project Soli demos smartwatch with gesture control based on radar sensor (with Infineon)
  • Project Abacus (password-free login, based on biometrics) available for developers end 2016
Usage stats:
  • 65b app downloads from Google Play -12 mo
  • 600 new Android smartphones -12 mo
  • Google Photos 200m MAU
  • 50m Cardboard apps downloads
  • App downloads driven by ads: 2b

zondag, januari 05, 2014

Amazon's innovations in 2013

The Amazon innvation factory is spinning at full speed. Just take a look at the sheer number of 2013 press releases. They can be ordered in this fashion:
  • New stores:
    • US: Entertainment Collectibles, 50+ Active and Healthy Living, Art, AmazonSmile (dedicated store where portion of purchase price goes to charity)
    • Canada: Beauty, Health & Personal Care, Toys & Games, Groceries, Auto, 
  • Delivery:
    • Physical:
      • opening several large fulfillment centers across the US (1 in NJ, 2 in Cal, 3 in Texas, 2 in Florida, 1 in Maryland, 1 in Wisconsin, 1 in Connecticut, 1 in Poland)
      • AmazonFresh (grocery delivery) trial in the US; expands to San Francisco
      • plans Prime Air (aerial 30 minute delivery by drone)
      • pop-up stores in malls
      • Sunday delivery in selected cities for Prime members
    • Combining physical and digital delivery:
      • AutoRip (free MP3 versions of CDs and LPs bought from Amazon)
      • Kindle MatchBook (low-cost Kindle editions of books bought on Amazon)
  • Payments:
    • launches 1c shipping for wine in the US (direct-to-consumer)
    • credit card patent
    • expands Amazon Coins to UK, Germany
    • Amazon Coins can now be gifted
    • Fire tablets can now be paid in installments
  • Membership, subscriptions:
    • Prime adds 1m subs in 3rd week of December
  • Print:
    • licensing deals with Valiant
    • own imprints (Jet City Comics, Kindle Singles Interview, StoryFront)
    • Day One (weekly digital magazine, 20 $/yr)
  • Streaming music:
    • Cloud Player for Ford cars; and for BMW and Mini
    • for iPad
  • Streaming video:
    • content deals for Prime Instant Video members (A+E, PBS, CBS, FX, Scripps, MGM, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Disney, Warner Bros, Oceanhouse, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, A24)
    • distribution deals (Nintendo Wii); Lovefilm for Xbox One
    • original content production
    • launches Prime Instant Video in Japan
    • all original content to be shot in 4K from 2014
    • launches Storybuilder (digital notecards and virtual corkboard for writers)
  • Games:
    • licensing deals with EA
  • Devices (Kindle):
    • Paperwhite (gen 6 r-reader)
    • Fire HD and Fire HDX (tablets).
    • OS: Fire OS 3.0 (Mojito); Fire OS 3.1 for tablets
  • Other:
    • Amazon Coins (virtual currency for apps, games, in-app purchases)
    • Login with Amazon (single sign-in)
    • Amazon Storyteller (turns script into storyboard)
    • Second screen: X-Ray for Movies (based on IMDb)
    • Kindle Worlds (UGC based on licensed characters and stories)
    • Mayday Button (free live, on-device tech support for Kindle Fire users)
    • Login and Pay with Amazon (for partners sites)
    • Amazon Source (wholesale for book stores)
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS):
    • many developer services
    • launches WorkSpaces (virtual desktop)
    • expands to China
  • Acquisitions:
    • IVONA Software
    • Goodreads (books social net)
    • TenMarks (web-based math programs)
    • Liquavista (screen tech)
    • Evi (speech recognition)
    • GoPago (partly: tech and team only)
The unsurprising conclusions:
  • Innovation at break-neck speed. For physical and digital goods: print, music, video and games. Focus is on e-books and streaming video. So, expect more streaming audio (music subscription) and games?
  • Infrastructure provider for its own but also wholesale (developers, 3rd-party sellers).
  • Growing list of services and subscription-based services, many around Amazon Prime. On last count, there were 215 mln active Amazon customers and 10 mln Prime subs.
  • Devices are limited now, possible additions: smartphone (project Smith), STB (code name Cinnamon), gaming console, etc.
  • Expansion focuses on existing markets (Canada, Australia, Mexico). When will a new market be added?
  • More acquisitions coming?
    • Streaming audio service?
    • Intel's connected STB unit Intel Media?
    • Non-US e-commerce company?