Amazon cashier-less grocery store
Do you ever wander around the shop feeling frustrated that you can’t just walk out without scanning and paying for your goods? Well, now there's a way to do just that without going to jail! Cue Amazon’s cashier-less grocery store, which has swung open its robotic doors this week as the company relaunches its move into the grocery shopping space. You’ll need to have an updated AmazonGo app to shop, but Amazon has dubbed its ‘Just-walk-out technology’ akin to something like the self-driving car - a potentially a huge category disruptor (and likely a future episode of Black Mirror). The test store is, at present, only setup in Seattle with no further announcements on a roll out, but we are intrigued to see how this develops.
Die With Me
Have you ever hit 5% battery and wanted to invest your final few minutes chatting to others with a similar battery-doomed fate? No? Well, now you can fulfil that battery fantasy you never even knew you had. A new app they've deemed ‘Die With Me’ offers users a chatroom that's only activated when their phone reaches 5% or less.
While its name lends itself to some creepy Romeo-and-Juliet-style dating app, creators claim it's simply a way you can now blissfully “Die together in a chatroom on your way to offline peace." So will you be part of the 5%? Personally, I think it sounds much more relaxing than watching your phone fatefully F off at 2am Sunday morning *just* as an Uber driver was about to accept your request...
Facebook Watch Party
Post the Facebook announcement over a week ago, we were notified that engagement on the platform will change (more here) with the platform targeting passive video consumption as a clear and present danger. As a direct and proactive challenge to this, Facebook is in a testing phase of their what they are dubbing ‘Watch Party,' which combines the live video product with group experiences on the platform and encourages users to consume content as a group while commenting and reacting in real time.
“One billion people use Facebook Groups every month to connect around their passions and hobbies — from foodies, to dog lovers, to sports enthusiasts, to fans of video creators — and video is a huge part of this interaction," said Fidji Simo, Facebook's VP of Product.
If this evolves and Facebook invests a lot more time in the resurgence of ‘groups,’ then be prepared to consider this as part of a wider contextual play, moving advertising into relevant groups rather than delivering direct-to-Newsfeed content.
Facebook hints at big changes to Messenger in 2018
In a less dramatic announcement than the Newsfeed update, it seems that Messenger is next on the hit list, as 2018 already looks to be a year of development for a number of the larger platforms. Although there are no major structural changes here, it’s interesting to see a continued dialogue around the ongoing ambitions for bots (200,000 were built in 2017 alone), with a number of large companies pushing the platform to integrate more intuitive marketing solutions to deliver both marketing and customer service goals. In addition to this, 17 billion video calls were made from the platform in 2017, so we can expect to see this rise in 2018 with a number of new communication features added. As writes David Marcus (Facebook Messenger VP), “People will expect a super fast and intuitive camera, video, images, GIFs, and stickers with almost every conversation.”
Facebook to rank publishers on trust
In Zuckerberg's next move to
take over the world clean up Facebook, he's decided to change the algorithm for publishers to rank them by how trusted they are. Facebook will be polling users on which news source they trust the most, and they've predicted a 20% drop in how much news people see as a result.
Instagram tests new Type feature and screenshot alert for Stories
Similar to Facebook's colourful text-only status updates, Instagram has been testing a new Type feature, which means Stories users will be able to take a text-only approach when pictures just can't get the message across.
But enough of that, here's the REAL news: this is not a drill - Instagram is testing alerts for when you screenshot someone's Stories and share them with your friends. Honestly, WTF? If I want to privately humiliate someone or make my own sarcastic commentary on one of their Stories, I should be able to without their consent. Cue an outcry from millennial women everywhere. #SOS #SaveOurStories
WhatsApp officially launches WhatsApp Business app
Watch out, Messenger bots - WhatsApp is forging ahead in harnessing the power of businesses with the official launch of its business app in select markets: Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. Their purpose is to provide more advanced tools to communicate with their customers using the app. In a cruel twist of fate, it's only on Android for now.
Snapchat gets clever with targeting using deeplinks
Snapchat has been working behind the scenes to make it easier for marketers to target people based on the apps that they open and play with the most. Brands can now deeplink to specific elements of an app to help drive traffic there. If this is as confusing to you as it is to me, here are a few of Adweek's examples on how it works - a mobile game developer might want to target players once they hit a specific level in the game, or a retailer could spotlight a product page that a user added to a shopping cart but didn’t buy.
After selling 10 million units in the first 10 months of launch, I wouldn't be over exaggerating in saying that the launch of Nintendo Switch was a major success. So where now? The launch of Nintendo Labo will tell you that the future is in interactive experiences developed in cardboard, leaning into the product's versatility by launching a new line of DIY companion toys for a range of new games. Games meeting real life, that feels like a good social opportunity.