The Frightful Five, Snap Context Cards and More

One: The Frightful Five Want to Rule Entertainment. They Are Hitting Limits.

"The tech giants are too big. Other than Donald J. Trump, that’s the defining story of 2017, the meta-narrative lurking beneath every other headline.

"The companies I call the Frightful Five — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — have experienced astounding growth over the last few years, making them the world’s five most valuable public companies. Because they own the technology that will dominate much of life for the foreseeable future, they are also gaining vast social and political power over much of the world beyond tech."

Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times

 

Two: What Tech Backlash? Google, Facebook Still Rank High in Polls

"Technology companies are in the defensive, battling waves of criticism. Facebook is overrun by fake news and sold political ads to the Russians. Rivals accuse Google of skewing its search results, and women have sued the company for alleged discrimination in pay and promotions. Liberals complain the platforms are enabling hate speech; conservatives say they are suppressing free speech. Some policy makers want to curb companies they say have grown too powerful."

Klint Finley, Wired

 

Three: Inside Evan Spiegel's Quest to Map Snap's Future

"I don’t know I’ve reached Snap’s global headquarters until I am standing in front of them, leaning on the handle of my rolling suitcase and puzzling over a map app. A baby-faced security guard in braces approaches me. “I’m here to see Evan Spiegel,” I tell him."

Jessi Hempel, Wired

 

Four: Now Everyone Wants to Design Silicon

"The move my major technology companies to start designing some custom silicon components vs. buy off the shelf components from suppliers has been a long time coming. One of the biggest challenges in the competitive field of consumer electronics is when competitors all use the same components and software platforms as their competitors. Companies competing for the consumer will live and die by their ability to be different and stand out from the pack. When you use the same software platforms and components as your competition you simply swim in the sea of sameness and have a hard time standing out. This is why Apple has developed a fully mature and foundational strategy to design all of the most critical and differentiating components that give their products an edge in the market. So it comes as no surprise that Google has developed a custom SoC for the image processing part of their new Pixel 2 smartphones."

Ben Bajarin, Tech.pinions

 

Five: Apple's Grand Vision

"Apple's product strategy has been receiving more attention lately as voice-first and AI-first become buzzwords in Silicon Valley. Questions regarding whether Apple even has a coherent product vision are on the rise. While Apple is no stranger to receiving skepticism and cynicism, the degree to which people are discounting Apple's product strategy is noteworthy. There is mounting evidence that Apple's industrial designers are following a product vision based on using design to make technology more personal. It is becoming clear that such a vision extends well beyond just selling personal gadgets."

Above Avalon, Neil Cybart

 

 

Photo by Omar Lopez

Five for FridayTimothy Buck