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ANDRÉ CRAMER

… my view of where technology innovation will lead us

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Great Comparison of Amazon’s Alexa approach vs. Microsoft, Google, Facebook: Amazon’s Operating System (Ben Thompson)

It was apparent on day one that the Echo was a much more compelling product than the Fire Phone:

  • The physical device (the Echo) was simply a conduit for Alexa, Amazon’s new personal assistant. And critically, Alexa was a cloud service, the development of which Amazon is uniquely suited to in terms of culture, organizational structure, and experience.
  • The Echo created its own market: a voice-based personal assistant in the home. Crucially, the home was the one place in the entire world where smartphones were not necessarily the most convenient device, or touch the easiest input method: more often than not your smartphone is charging, and talking to a device doesn’t carry the social baggage it might elsewhere…

Source: Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Virtual Reality Allows the Most Detailed, Intimate Digital Surveillance Yet (Joshua Kopstein)

“Why do I look like Justin Timberlake?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on stage wearing a virtual reality headset, feigning surprise at an expressive cartoon simulacrum that seemed to perfectly follow his every gesture.

The audience laughed. Zuckerberg was in the middle of what he described as the first live demo inside VR, manipulating his digital avatar to show off the new social features of the Rift headset from Facebook subsidiary Oculus. The venue was an Oculus developer conference convened earlier this fall in San Jose. Moments later, Zuckerberg and two Oculus employees were transported to his glass-enclosed office at Facebook, and then to his infamously sequestered home in Palo Alto…”

Source: Virtual Reality Allows the Most Detailed, Intimate Digital Surveillance Yet

Facebook 2026: Mark Zuckerberg on his plan to bring the internet to every human on earth (Casey Newton)

By nearly any measure, Facebook has had a remarkable year. More than 1.65 billion people use the service every month, making it the world’s largest social network by a considerable margin. Its advertising business has grown significantly faster than analyst expectations, powered by sophisticated targeting capabilities that rivals struggle to match. And in April, CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out an ambitious 10-year vision that places the company at the frontier of computer science, making aggressive moves in bringing artificial intelligence and virtual reality to the mainstream.

Source: Facebook 2026

Very insightful Read: Facebook’s really big plans for Virtual Reality (Bryant Urstadt, Sarah Frier)

The office building on Facebook Way is in the unfinished style that honors materials like plywood, concrete, and steel. The I-beams supporting its soaring walls still have the builders’ chalk placement instructions on them. It takes a business making billions of high-margin dollars to make plywood and concrete seem so appealing. The merely ordinary have to put up drywall.

Facebook’s spokeswoman calls its headquarters the largest single room in the world. Maybe. It feels like it, anyway. The space isn’t square, so it doesn’t seem pointedly vast; it’s long and narrow. Heading to meet Mark Zuckerberg, the wizard of this open-plan office, you wind through it like an Ikea, following a painted path…

Source: Facebook’s really big plans for virtual reality

Remarkable, but not really surprising: 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound (Sahil Patel)

Facebook might be hosting upwards of 8 billion views per day on its platform, but a wide majority of that viewership is happening in silence.

As much as 85 percent of video views happen with the sound off, according to multiple publishers…

Source: 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound – Digiday

Fine Piece from a good Buddy: Messaging — A Game of Thrones (Malte von Medem)

Facebook is creating a new web. With one single King. We might want a “United Federation of Planets” instead.

The basic idea goes: Everyone uses Chat-Messengers. It is the dominant medium today.

The money bet goes: “(Chat) Conversation” is a great new way for businesses to interact with customers in a million ways. Creating a great platform and — if used dominantly — a new web over time.

Many great ideas from startups have been seen, messengers added platforms (Kik, Telegram, Slack, Skype, WeChat) & one player tries to own it all: Facebook…

Source: Messaging — A Game of Thrones — Medium

Must-Read to understand where Facebook is heading: Facebook May Have Peaked as a Social Network. But It’s Reinventing Itself as Something Bigger (Will Oremus)

Even before it was the title of a movie, the phrase “the social network” was synonymous with Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s startup snatched the title from MySpace in 2008, and its pre-eminence among social networks has gone unquestioned ever since.

Now there are signs that it may have peaked. Not as a media platform, or as a place where people simply spend time on the web, and certainly not as a business. But as a social network per se—a place where people go to connect with friends and acquaintances—Facebook may be just beginning to wane…

Source: Facebook May Have Peaked as a Social Network. But It’s Reinventing Itself as Something Bigger.

Great Overview on the M&A Race for AI: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple Grab and the Artificial Intelligence Startups they have grabbed

Over 60% of the AI companies acquired in the last 3 years had VC backing. There have been 4 major acquisitions already in 2016.

More than 20 private companies working to advance artificial intelligence technologies have been acquired in the last 3 years by corporate giants competing in the space, including Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, Yahoo, Facebook, Intel, and, more recently, Salesforce. There have been 4 major acquisitions already in 2016…

Source: Race For AI: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple Grab Artificial Intelligence Startups

Facebook’s Messenger Bot Store could be the most important launch since the App Store (TechCrunch)

If Facebook announces the “Messenger Bot Store” at F8, as many predict, it would be arguably the most consequential event for the tech industry since Apple announced the App Store and iPhone SDK in March 2008.

Even Steve Jobs could not have foreseen the impact of what he described as “a new application that lets users browse, search, purchase and download third party applications directly onto their iPhone”…

Source: Facebook’s Messenger Bot Store could be the most important launch since the App Store | TechCrunch

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