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Big Revolution - Insta-shopping

Welcome to Wednesday's Big Revolution, brought to you from a tab in the new-look Google Chrome, which
September 5 · Issue #192 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Wednesday’s Big Revolution, brought to you from a tab in the new-look Google Chrome, which my eyes are still adjusting to. More on that below.

Big things you need to know today
  • The ‘birthday surprise’ Google Chrome teased over the weekend is a complete visual refresh. You’ll have seen this already if you’ve been using certain builds of Chrome, but the official channel now has a revamped design. There are other new features too. Emil Protalinki at VentureBeat (or 'Mr Browser Update News’ as I like to think of him) has the full details.
  • Google eventually plans to remove URLs from Chrome entirely, Wired reports. It just isn’t sure how yet.
  • Amazon is the second US company to hit a $1 trillion market cap. Apple hit the milestone just a few weeks ago. “Jeff Bezos is worth nearly as much as Bill Gates and Warren E. Buffett put together,” reports the New York Times.
  • Disgraced blood testing company Theranos is to wind down, according to a report. The firm and its executives have been accused of Silicon Valley’s biggest ever fraud.
  • Evernote seems to be in trouble. The company, which announced a refreshed brand last month, has lost four senior executives in the past month according to TechCrunch. The news comes as Evernote reportedly seeks a new funding round at a lower valuation than its last.
The big thought
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Many people find things to buy through Instagram, but dislike the shopping process. You get thrown out to a browser window – way more fiddly than using main the app. So, Instagram is building a separate shopping app, The Verge reports.
While the app may never actually launch, it’s certainly a bold move to try. Will people like shopping via the Instagram brand enough that they’ll consciously open a separate app just to browse products? Or is the success of ecommerce on Instagram more a result of people enjoying browsing through a variety of visual content – content that just happens to include retail?
But building a shopping section into Instagram’s main app instead would mean more clutter. People already complain about the messy way the recently-launched IGTV feature is promoted in-app.
The third way would be for Instagram to simply allow businesses to take payments and receive shipping details via the main app. There would be no shopping section per se, but if you found something you wanted, you could buy it with no hassle in a simple flow.
I imagine that Instagram is wary of the third option, because while it’s the simplest, it doesn’t necessarily boost the company’s revenue very much. A dedicated shopping app, with Instagram taking taking a cut of sales or charging for specialist tools, would be a whole new area of business.
I’m just not certain the company’s brand can stretch that far beyond its main app. Instagram is all about simplicity – you engaging with images and videos you like – can it really become a successful brand beyond that?
One big read
How Duterte Used Facebook To Fuel the Philippine Drug War How Duterte Used Facebook To Fuel the Philippine Drug War
Yes, it’s another story of Facebook being used for ill. But this is a bit different. It’s well worth reading how the Philippines’ President is using the platform – it’s like a microcosm of the worst social media campaigning and propaganda techniques, focused on one small nation.
That’s all for today...
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