Video coming to Tinder, Amazon to kill Skype, Zuckerberg to save the world?

Lots of nice little titbits in this week’s digital news. And not one bit of misinformation.

Zuckerberg writes 6,000 words on building global community

Mark covers everything from fake news to globalization in a letter that many feel is a response to Donald Trump’s presidency.

Read it here on your lunch.

Amazon launches conferencing service

Amazon has announced Chime, a Skype competitor for video conferencing and live document sharing. Could this be Amazon’s latest web services success?

Big trouble for Magic Leap

The highly secretive, Google-backed AR company has had a bad fortnight. This week, a female former exec has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination and tolerance of sexism at Magic Leap.

The details make for sorry reading (more from The Guardian). The lawsuit comes on the back of a Business Insider scoop which revealed the first photo of a Magic Leap device, which was then ridiculed for its bulky appearance.

Magic Leap claims that this is not a prototype but in fact an R&D test rig to collect room/space data for machine vision and learning work.

Amazon’s Seattle retail experiment

There was a great article in the New York Times over the weekend, looking at Amazon’s various retail experiments in Seattle. It’s well worth a read.

Did Cambridge Analytica overstate its role in Trump’s victory

Cambridge Analytica is a company that uses psychographic profiling to test online messaging. The company, whose board includes Steve Bannon, was involved in the Trump campaign according to CEO Alexander Nix.

However, BuzzFeed reports that other sources in the company claim this is not true, and no psychographic work was undertaken. The article also highlights concern from some commentators about Cambridge Analytica’s possible misuse of Facebook data.

Tinder to incorporate Snapchat style video?

Tinder has announced that it is to acquire Wheel, a social video startup. Wheel launched in 2015 as Ferris, and allows people to share and collaborate on Snapchat-style mobile video.

An article in Variety suggests that Tinder will work Wheel’s functionality into its dating app.



European fintech flying

European fintech deals hit a five-year high in 2016, rising 11% to 179. This is against a backdrop of a 1% fall in deals globally and an 8% decline in the US.

Four of the world’s 22 fintech unicorns are based in Europe. More from the FT

Google self-driving car staff quit because they’re too rich

Google’s self-driving car project has lost staff over the course of 2016, including its technical lead.

Bloomberg reports that early staffers were paid so handsomely, they had no incentive to stay on at the company once they, presumably, got a bit fed up. 

Amazon Prime reveals 65m members

Amazon Prime subscriptions generated $6.4bn in 2016. For perspective, retail and web services earnt $91.4bn and $12.2bn respectively.

Prime revenue growth was 43.1% as subscribers grew by 20m to 65m globally.


Google Home now allows shopping

This week, Google announced Home users can order from Google Express retailers like Costco and PetSmart.

Users can say, “Okay, Google, how do I shop?” or, “Okay, Google, order paper towels,” and they’ll hear product options read out, having to say “yes” after the one they like.

It does sound rather clunky and bolsters the writer’s opinion that screens are needed on these smart home devices (and indeed may be in development).

Echo and Google Home to make phone calls?

More smart speaker news – both Amazon and Google are reportedly working on voice-calling features for Echo and Home.