Author: @jazminduribe

Report: Smart speaker adoption in U.S. reaches 66M units, with Amazon leading

Smart speakers had a good holiday. Amazon already said its Echo Dot outsold all other items on its site this holiday season, which hinted toward the sizable growth for the voice-powered speaker market. Today, research firm CIRP is reporting the U.S. installed base for speakers grew to 66 million units in December 2018, up from 53 million in the September 2018 quarter and just 37 million in December 2017. However, holiday sales didn’t have much impact on the market shares for the various speaker brands, the firm found. Amazon Echo devices still lead the U.S. market with a 70...

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Facebook now lets everyone unsend messages for up to 10 minutes

Facebook has finally made good on its promise to let users unsend chat after TechCrunch discovered Mark Zuckerberg had secretly retracted some of his Facebook Messages from recipients. Today Facebook Messenger globally rolls out “Remove for everyone” to help you pull back typos, poor choices, embarassing thoughts, or any other message. For up to 10 minutes after sending a Facebook Message, the sender can tap on it and they’ll find the delete button has been replaced by “Remove for you”, but there’s now also a “Remove for everyone” option that pulls the message from recipients’ inboxes. They’ll see an alert that you removed a message in its place, and can still report the message to Facebook. The feature could make people more comfortable having honest conversations or using Messenger for flirting since they can second guess what they send, but won’t let people change ancient history. The company abused its power by altering the history of Zuckerberg’s Facebook’s messages in a way that email or other communication mediums wouldn’t allow. Yet Facebook refused to say if it will now resume removing executives’ messages from recipients even long after they’re delivered after telling TechCrunch in April that “until this feature is ready, we will no longer be deleting any executives’ messages.” For a quick recap, here’s how Facebook got to Unsend: -Facebook Messenger never had an Unsend option, except in...

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Super Bowl LIII set streaming records, while TV viewership saw massive drop

Football fans didn’t tune into this year’s Super Bowl coverage on TV in as large numbers as in years past. According to Nielsen, the big game drew an average televised audience of around 98.2 million viewers. CBS, however, said the big game was watched across all platforms – including digital and streaming – by a combined total of 100.7 million viewers. In addition, the streaming coverage of the game broke new records this year, which helped to make up for the TV audience decline. The network said the streamed event was watched across 7.5 million unique devices, up more...

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Account linking could make Instagram the heir to Facebook Login

Teens’ aversion to Facebook jeopardizes not only the company’s feed ad revenue, but its dominance as an identity provider. The Facebook Login platform keeps people tied to the social network in order to easily access other apps without a separate username and password. But for younger users who ditch or neglect Facebook in favor of Instagram, the tech giant stands to lose one of its most powerful wedges into our lives. Meanwhile, Instagram loyalists are forced to juggle multiple sets of login credentials to manage their personal, Finsta, and business accounts. But a new feature in development could make it easy to operate multiple Instagram handles while poising the app as a successor to Facebook Login. Instagram has prototyped “Main Account” feature that would let users set one of their profiles as a primary account and then link their others to it. Logging into the main account would instantly log them in to the rest as well. From then on, users would only need to remember a single email/username and password combo. Simpler login could get people switching accounts, posting, and engaging more with Instagram. Account linking could also power up Instagram’s existing login platform. Currently, third-party apps use it to let you compose feed posts and Stories and then share them to Instagram, or to measure the activity and mentions of business accounts. But Instagram could potentially expand the...

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YouTube expands test of its Instagram-like Explore tab to more devices

YouTube is expanding the test of its “Explore” feature, a new discovery tool it first introduced as an experiment within its iPhone app last year. Similar to Instagram’s Explore page, the new YouTube feature aims to introduce users to a diverse set of personalized recommendations so they can more easily find something new to watch. The test is now available across devices, and has been updated to also suggest smaller, up-and-coming YouTube creators, the company says. The changes to Explore were announced in a recent Creator Insiders video, where the company shares ideas it’s thinking about or testing ahead of a public debut — like a change to the “dislike” button, for example. Last year, the company published a video to Creator Insiders where it talked about a plan to develop a new place within the YouTube app that would help people broaden their horizons when looking for something different to watch. Today, YouTube’s recommendation technology relies heavily on past viewing activity and other in-app behavior to make its content suggestions, the company explained. With the Explore tab, however, YouTube aims to widen recommendations to include various topics, videos and channels you may not have otherwise encountered. For instance, the Explore section might recommend videos about high-end cameras after you watched videos about telescopes. Or it might recommend videos about kittens or puppies because you watched other animal videos....

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Amazon’s 2018 acquisitions totaled $1.65B, led by PillPack and Ring

Amazon’s annual 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed the high prices the e-commerce giant paid for its two biggest M&A deals last year. According to the filing, the company paid approximately $839 million in cash for Ring and $753 million for PillPack, with all other acquisitions totalling $57 million. GeekWire was first to spot and report on the filing. Amazon bought Ring in the early part of the year to shore up its smart home business shortly after its 2017 acquisition of Blink. The deal was then reported to be worth over a billion. The PillPack...

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is coming to Netflix

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop is coming to Netflix. According to a scoop from Variety, Goop will expand its original content offerings with a docuseries at Netflix, focused on issues related to physical and spiritual wellness, much like Goop itself. The brand also partnered with Delta Airlines for an exclusive podcast, and is planning its own in-house podcasts that will delve into areas like beauty, food and books, the report says. The Netflix series, however, is the most ambitious of the new digital initiatives, as it will consist of 30-minute episodes hosted by Goop editors, chief content officer Elise...

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Amazon’s Audible brings Choose Your Own Adventure Stories to Alexa devices

Choose Your Own Adventure-style stories have been making a comeback, thanks to Netflix’s adoption of the format for kids TV and other interactive tales, like “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” as well as earlier efforts, like HBO’s Mosaic. Now Amazon is testing out the genre for Alexa devices, with the launch of professionally performed, voice-controlled narratives from the publisher of the original Choose Your Own Adventure book series, ChooseCo. You may remember ChooseCo from its lawsuit with Netflix over the Black Mirror episode. The company claims that Netflix never acquired the proper license to use the “Choose Your Own Adventure” trademark. But clearly,...

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