Summary of “The Facebook Brand – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

What is indisputable is that brand matters – and that includes the regulatory future for Google and Facebook.
Harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, according to former Cambridge employees, associates and documents, making it one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history.
The reference to “Unstructured links” was clearly about Google, and while it’s easy to think of the two companies as a duopoly astride the web, Facebook was at the time a much smaller entity than it is today: 400 million users, still private, and a tiny advertising business relative to Google.
Facebook finally shut down the friend-sharing functionality five years later, after it was clearly ensconced with Google atop the digital advertising world, of course.
That’s the thing with branding: what people think about your company is not so much what you say but what you do, and that many people immediately assume the worst about Facebook and privacy is Facebook’s own fault.
If a person signed on to Dashboard through his or her Facebook account, the campaign could, with permission, gain access to that person’s Facebook friends.
No more needing to build different code paths just to handle information that Facebook users are sharing with you.
It seems far more likely that Facebook will be directly regulated than Google; arguably this is already the case in Europe with the GDPR. What is worth noting is that regulations like the GDPR entrench incumbents: protecting users from Facebook will, in all likelihood, lock in Facebook’s competitive position.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Eight things your phone’s camera can do-other than snapping selfies”

With the right apps, your camera can perform feats from translating texts to scanning paperwork.
If you own a Samsung Galaxy phone, version S8 or later, you can pull off the same feat with the native camera app.
With the right app, your phone’s camera will act as a star guide.
Install the photo and video messaging app, open the camera screen, and tap anywhere on the scene.
While you can always snap photos of documents and keep them in your default photo app’s gallery, a dedicated app will provide extra features like automatic cropping and even text recognition.
Only the Android app offers automatic optical character recognition-you won’t find that ability in the iOS app.
Dropbox also includes an integrated document-scanning feature that employs your phone’s camera: From the front screen of the app, tap the Plus button, then Scan document.
You could jot down notes on paper or a memo app, but snapping a photo is faster and easier.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Google Wanted to Know What Makes a Manager Great, So It Conducted a Study. Here Are the Results”

It’s giving you a glimpse inside its robust research on what makes a great manager.
It’s no secret that being a good manager can make all the difference in how happy your team is and how well it performs.
Communicating effectively is one of the basics of being a good manager.
Stephanie Davis, who won one of Google’s Great Manager Awards, told HBR that feedback reports helped her realize how important it was to communicate team vision in addition to company vision.
“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” he said.
So all hope isn’t lost if you find yourself managing people who know more than you.
Google’s last addition is a reminder that while it’s important for a manager to listen and share information, employees also appreciate one who can make decisions.
One of the reasons this research was so effective was that it used internal data to prove what makes managers great at Google.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Stop Giving Amazon Your Money”

The company offers everything from online shopping to audiobooks to AI-powered speakers, all at cut-throat prices, but Amazon also does a lot of things that you might not agree with.
If you’re ready to stop giving Amazon your hard-earned cash, you’ve definitely got your work cut out for you, but it’s not impossible.
You won’t be using Amazon anymore, so there’s no need to pay $99 per year for free shipping, online streaming, and all the other services that come with Prime.
You could also try Microsoft’s Invoke smart speaker, as long as you’re willing to take a chance with the company’s Cortana AI.Stream TV on a Gaming Console Instead of Amazon Fire TV. When it comes to picking a streaming set-top box that’s ethically sound, you don’t have many options if you’re not a fan of the NRA. NRATV is still available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Google Chromecast, but don’t give up yet.
Amazon Prime Video is a great service, but there are plenty of other places to get your TV and movie fix-as long as you don’t mind missing out on Amazon’s original programming.
If you run an online business, there’s a decent chance you rely on Amazon Web Services to support your website.
The prices for all three services can change pretty frequently as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others try to edge each other out.
Amazon offers two different music streaming services, and telling them apart can be complicated.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why We May Soon Be Living in Alexa’s World”

In an effort to do so, I recently dived headlong into Alexa’s world.
Late-night shrieks notwithstanding, one day very soon, Alexa or something like it will be everywhere – and computing will be better for it.
At least 50 devices are now powered by Alexa, and more keep coming.
Many don’t include some of Alexa’s key functions – I tested devices that don’t let you set reminders, one of the main reasons to use Alexa.
Alexa on my Echo is the same as Alexa on my TV is the same as Alexa on my Sonos speaker.
Ford – the first of several carmakers to offer Alexa integration in its vehicles – lent me an F-150 pickup outfitted with Alexa.
Google, which is alive to the worry that Alexa will outpace it in the assistant game, is also offering its Google Assistant to other device makers.
Sonos now integrates with Alexa, and is planning to add Google Assistant soon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Aggregator Paradox – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

The implication of Facebook and Google effectively taking all digital ad growth is that publishers increasingly can’t breathe, and while that is neither company’s responsibility on an individual publisher basis, it is a problem in aggregate, as Instant Articles is demonstrating.
A core idea of Aggregation Theory is that suppliers – in the case of Google and Facebook, that is publishers – commoditize themselves to fit into the modular framework that is their only route to end users owned by the aggregator.
For all of the criticism Facebook has received for its approach to publishers generally and around Instant Articles specifically, it seems likely that the company’s biggest mistake was that it did not leverage its power in the way that Google was more than willing to.
Beginning Thursday, Google Chrome, the world’s most popular web browser, will begin flagging advertising formats that fail to meet standards adopted by the Coalition for Better Ads, a group of advertising, tech and publishing companies, including Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc. Sites with unacceptable ad formats-annoying ads like pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound and flashing animated ads-will receive a warning that they’re in violation of the standards.
Nothing quite captures the relationship between suppliers and their aggregator like the expression of optimism that one of the companies actually destroying the viability of digital advertising for publishers will actually save it; then again, that is why Google’s carrots, while perhaps less effective than its sticks, are critical to making an ecosystem work.
There is no better example than Google’s actions with AMP and Chrome ad-blocking: Google is quite explicitly dictating exactly how it is its suppliers will access its customers, and it is hard to argue that the experience is not significantly better because of it.
At the same time, what Google is doing seems nakedly uncompetitive – thus the paradox.
Yes, consumers are giving up their data, but even there Google has the user experience advantage: consumer data is far safer with Google than it is with random third party ad networks desperate to make their quarterly numbers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Case Against Google”

In other words, it’s very likely you love Google, or are at least fond of Google, or hardly think about Google, the same way you hardly think about water systems or traffic lights or any of the other things you rely on every day.
Shivaun would sit at her computer, exhausted, Googling phrase after phrase – How do you lift a Google website penalty? Who at Google reviews mistakes? Google and deindexed and phone number and help – hoping that some magic combination of words might yield a new solution.
Skyhook’s accuracy “Is better than ours,” one Google manager speculated in an internal email later revealed in a lawsuit filed by Skyhook against Google.
Skyhook sued Google, and though one suit was dismissed, Google ended up paying $90 million to settle a patent-infringement claim.
Yelp complained – to Google and later to the F.T.C. – but Google said the only alternative was for Yelp to remove its content from Google altogether, according to documents filed with federal regulators.
In 2013, Google adjusted how it displayed images so that rather than directing people to Getty’s website, users could easily see and download Getty’s high-definition images from Google itself.
TradeComet.com, which operated a vertical-search engine for finding business products, initially prospered by buying ads on Google, but as the site grew, Google “Raised my prices by 10,000 percent, which strangled our business virtually overnight,” the company’s C.E.O. at the time, Dan Savage, said when he filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2009.
Whereas a decade earlier someone searching for steakhouses would have seen a long list of websites, now the most noticeable results pointed to Google’s own listings, including Google maps, Google local search or advertisers paying Google.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Google Flights will now predict airline delays – before the airlines do”

Explains Google, the combination of data and A.I. technologies means it can predict some delays in advance of any sort of official confirmation.
Google says that it won’t actually flag these in the app until it’s at least 80 percent confident in the prediction, though.
You can track the status of your flight by searching for your flight number or the airline and flight route, notes Google.
Google Flights will now display the restrictions associated with these fares – like restrictions on using overhead space or the ability to select a seat, as well as the fare’s additional baggage fees.
It’s initially doing so for American, Delta and United flights worldwide.
These changes come only a month after Google Flights added price tracking and deals to Google Flights as well as hotel search features for web searchers.
The additions seem especially targeted toward today’s travel startups and businesses, like Hopper which had just added hotel search, and uses big data to analyze airline prices and other factors; or TripIt, a competitor of sorts to Google’s own travel app Google Trips, which most recently introduced security checkpoint wait times.
The features are also a real-world demo of Google’s machine learning and big data capabilities, especially in the case of predicting flight delays.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Smart homes and vegetable peelers”

If you do need to interact deliberately, is voice or a screen the right model – and does that mean a screen on the device itself or just your phone? An oven that lets you tell it what you’re cooking might want a screen on the device, but also be accessed from your phone to check progress, and also talk to Alexa: ‘pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees please, and turn it off 30 minutes after I put the dish in’.
You can keep a garage door opener for 20 years or buy a new smart one now, but no-one will replace a two-year-old fridge just to get a smart one.
Many of these device categories will be commodity products using commodity components – some categories will have 50 companies making near-identical devices.
Is there a network effect? A cloud service? Something with the use of aggregated data across all the devices? Or, do you have a route-to-market advantage? If not, then your whole category will probably go to the incumbents – generic ‘consumer electronics’ devices will go to Shenzhen and washing machines will go to the washing machine companies, where smart becomes just another high-end feature.
Self-evidently, Amazon and Google make little to no money from selling cheap smart speakers per se, nor from the sale of smart devices with their tech embedded.
Rather, controlling the smart home is a use-case to get you to buy the device, and making the device into the hub of a smart home makes it sticky, but the value of the device to Google or Apple is something else.
The point is not really sales of the device, nor the smart home, but the leverage to their ecosystems, in some way, that it provides.
Even if voice and smart speakers are very, very important, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Alexa or anyone else will run away with the space.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Everyone Hates Setting Goals. Here’s How Google Makes It Easier for Its Employees”

On Google’s re:Work site, a resource that shares the company’s perspective on people operations, Google explains the concept.
Objectives are the “Big picture.” They answer the questions “Where do we want to go?” and “What do we want to do?” Also, objectives are where Google encourages its employees to stretch themselves, be ambitious, and embrace uncertainty.
If you don’t get nervous or feel a little uncomfortable after setting a goal, then you haven’t reached high enough.
Because they are designed to stretch employees, Google recommends only three to five objectives total.
Anything more, and Google knows that it runs the risk of spreading employees too thin.
What Google warns against are goals that don’t “Push for new achievements.” The examples they share are: “Keep hiring,” “Maintain market position,” or “Continue doing X.”.
Google includes everyone’s goals on their internal directory.
In a YouTube video that explains how Google uses OKRs, Rick Klau provided some additional clarity on the process: “Personal OKRs define what the person is working on. Team OKRs define priorities for the team, not just a collection of individual OKRs. Company OKRs are big picture, a top-level focus for the entire company.”

The orginal article.