Digitally Lead: Graphite’s February Roundup
4 mins read
Published on Monday 27th February 2017
Welcome to Digitally Lead – a monthly segment where we look back on the news stories that turned our collective heads during the last four weeks.
AI home assistants to gain screens
As voice-controlled technology becomes more ubiquitous by the week, innovators are already looking forward to what’s next. Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu believes that they while a 2016 study by Stanford researchers and his own team showed that “the fastest way for a machine to get information to you is via a screen,” despite speech input being three times faster than typing. His company have been working on screened AI assistant called Little Fish; with Amazon is apparently following suite.
Facebook reveals staggering fourth quarter figures
Facebook's Q4 2016 results were released this month to widespread surprise. Revenue hit $8.8 billion which is up by 51% from the preview quarter. An amazing 84% of that revenue came from Mobile; a direct success from allowing advertisers straight into users' newsfeeds. However, the company also warned that mobile ad supply is likely to peak in the middle of this year. Facebook now has 1.9 billion users with 1.2 billion active every day.
Uber has a car-crash of a month
Uber decided not to follow suit as New York taxis went on strike to support of the protests against Trump's immigration order at JFK airport, prompting mass use of the #DeleteUber hashtag. This saw their main competitor Lyft’s daily downloads on the App Store beat Uber for the first time. They had to create an automated process for deletions as there were so many that their manual function couldn’t keep up. Later, the CEO cut ties with Trump’s administration by leaving the president’s business advisory group.
Then last week a blog post by former website reliability engineer for Uber Susan Fowler detailed how she had experienced routine sexual harassment and an incredibly oppressive environment during their time there. It is now being officially investigated by Anne Huffington.
Instagram introduces multiple image carousel
The photo-sharing giant has launched new functionality allowing users to upload up to 10 photos and videos at once in order to showcase an event with a gallery style. These collections appear on the feed with blue dots below the first image and viewers scroll left and right to view the other selections. This comes as a response to audience feedback that it’s hard to choose just one image from a specific occasion with people not wanting to overload feeds with multiple separate uploads.
Snap Inc. starts selling glasses online
Until this month you could only get hold of a pair of Snap Inc.’s video-shooting glasses from a small number of special vending machines in surprise locations and from their pop-up in NYC. They have now started selling them to American consumers at www.spectacles.com for $129.99 (£104.99) each. This development comes in the build up to Snap’s March IPO where they are seeking a valuation of up to $22 billion.
Tinder edges closer to Snapchat-style video
The latest social app to seek to emulate the success of Snapchat is dating-platform Tinder. In February they announced that they will acquire social video startup Wheel. Having launched less than 2 years ago, the app allows users to share and collaborate on videos. Tinder is expected to merge it into the ‘matching’ experience to allow users to connect in more visual ways. The dating app now reportedly facilitates 26 millions matches everyday.
Pinterest Lens makes an entrance
In a bold step forward, Pinterest have released a visual discovery tool in beta to allow users to find related images simply by pointing your camera at something. Acknowledging that it is sometimes hard for users to put into words a search terms exactly what they’re looking for, Lens using visual recognition to suggest similar themes, patterns, colours and collections based on what it sees. If this proves successful it could revolutionise the way Pinterest is used.
The return of Nokia 3310
In a brilliant example of a brand listening to the cult followings, Nokia have just revealed that they intend to bring back the fabled Nokia 3310. The first mobile for this writer and many others, the 3310 was famed for its enviable battery life and resilient exterior. Unfortunately, it only operates in 2G which will be a pain for a lot of territories, but at just over £40 it’s a nice alternative for with a nostalgic longing for simpler times.