View profile

Big Revolution - Shock and awe

Hello and welcome to Wednesday's Big Revolution.  Thanks to a certain developer conference that's on
May 2 · Issue #66 · View online
Big Revolution
Hello and welcome to Wednesday’s Big Revolution. 
Thanks to a certain developer conference that’s on right now, this big blue newsletter has a lot to say about the big blue tech company (not IBM, the other one).

Big things you need to know today
Credit: Facebook
- Facebook kicked of f8 with a barrage of product announcements. The company sums them all up in a blog post. Highlights include the ability to clear the browsing data Facebook holds about you, a dating service to take on Tinder(!), and the Oculus Go, a $199 standalone VR headset available worldwide immediately. The Verge as a review of the headset.
- Facebook didn’t mention the smart speakers it’s been working on, but a CNBC scoop says the company is considering releasing them outside the US first to avoid kickback about it being creepy. “The two speakers will include a voice assistant based on the same underlying technology that powered its ’M’ chatbot, which was discontinued in January.”
- Meanwhile, the UK government is so keen to hear directly from Mark Zuckerberg about Cambridge Analytica that they’ve threatened to issue him with a formal summons next time he enters the country if he doesn’t go of his own free will.
- Tech earnings: Apple is up, Snap is down, and the iPhone X is way more successful than some analysts had suggested.
- Amazon has a fun new subscription product for parents in the US. Prime Book Box sends a bunch of hardback children’s books, handpicked by Amazon staff, to Prime members at regular intervals for $22.99 per box. I know a bunch of people who’ll hope this expands internationally.
The big thought
Zuck's ten-year plan. Credit: Facebook
Shock and awe
If there was a theme among the many and varied announcements on day one of Facebook’s f8 event, it was ‘shock and awe.’ This was the company facing up to its critics and showing it wasn’t going to back away.
If last week’s earnings report showed recent scandals hadn’t affected Facebook’s bottom line, yesterday showed they hadn’t affected its ambition either.
And some of that ambition was down right brazen, given the conversations that have swirled around the media of late. The dating service is particular raised eyebrows in certain quarters.
Christina Warren
Wait. Wait. Wait. I’m catching up. You mean that after all the data scandals, Facebook just launched a dating app? Are you serious! Who thought going ahead with this RIGHT NOW was a good idea? #F8
6:40 PM - 1 May 2018
Or as BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski put it…
John Paczkowski
Regulators to Facebook: We worry you're collecting too much information about us.
Facebook: Today we are announcing 8 fun new ways to collect even more information about you.
7:04 PM - 1 May 2018
The more Facebook expands, the more potential touchpoints with your life it will have. And as much as some may complain, a few factors are key to its ongoing success:
  • - Most users don’t care much about what Facebook does to make money as long as it connects them with their friends.
  • There’s no viable rival on the horizon.
  • Future regulation might clip its wings a little, but Facebook’s reach is increasingly broad, and short of being forcibly broken up (how would that work for a global company?) there’s little that can hold it back significantly.
Recent scandals may have given Facebook a moment’s reflection, but its juggernaut isn’t going to stop any time soon.
One big read
A Lot Of Apps Sell Your Data. Here's What You Can Do About It. A Lot Of Apps Sell Your Data. Here's What You Can Do About It.
Sure, you know big tech companies track you, but what about adtech firms? 
That free app you’ve had on your phone for years despite only using once? Its developer might have received a load of cash to send details like your location (even right now – even if the app doesn’t have location access permission) to advertising companies. 
This is nothing new, but it’s something most people don’t really think about, and this article explains it well.
One big tweet
Christopher Mims 🎆
Under-appreciated how much Facebook for Dating is actually a sales funnel for potentially gigantic new revenue streams for the company:

Facebook for IVF
Facebook for Doulas
Facebook for New Parents™ including health, life, home insurance
11:16 PM - 1 May 2018
You joke, but…
That’s all for today...
Do you enjoy Big Revolution? Please consider tweeting a recommendation, with a link to this edition or the homepage. It makes me feel warm and tingly when people do that.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $5 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Martin SFP Bryant
You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here
Powered by Revue