Harvard Friday Five


Priscilla McGregor-Kerr

05 Oct 2018

At Harvard we stay up to date with the latest news and trends shaping the tech world by rounding up the top stories each week. We’ve recapped our favourite stories from the last few weeks to create September’s news round-up.

Snapchat reveals user stats

Snapchat has revealed that it has approximately 188m daily active users (DAUs) globally, who each check the app 20+ times a day on average. In Europe, 76 million people can be reached through the app on a monthly basis. Due to these impressive reach stats, Snapchat is branding itself to advertisers as the best place to reach a global audience of young people. Snapchat has also been heralding the purchase rates of its second-generation Spectacles, which have been designed to be more discrete and versatile than the first iteration. Snapchat stated that V2 owners are capturing 40% more snaps than V1s. All part of the fightback after its share price fell close to an all time low last quarter.

Instagram plans standalone shopping app

Instagram is planning to launch a new separate app specific for shopping, which might be called IG Shopping. This mirrors its recent launch of IGTV, its standalone long-form video app. Just like the main Facebook app, which span of Messenger separately, Instagram seems to be unbundling itself. With the new shopping app users will be able to browse goods and buy them directly from other people and businesses. The app is currently in development with no clear signs on a public launch date yet, but so far over 25m businesses already have instagram accounts, so the potential for success is great

Twitter puts live broadcasts at the top of your timeline

Twitter now puts livestreams and broadcasts at the top of users' timelines. The new feature will include breaking news, updates from personalities, and also sport reports, which will be streamed first. The launch of the feature follows an update to the iOS version of the Twitter app at the beginning of September which introduced support for audio-only live broadcasts. With video ad profit growing year on year, we are likely to see more social media platforms adapting their sites and apps to accommodate video.

UK moving towards internet regulation?

Two stories this month suggest that the wheels are in motion for a major shift in the UK’s political and regulatory approach to the tech sector. First, Ofcom published a “discussion document” claiming that 12m people have experienced abuse or harassment online, and suggesting that principles from broadcasting regulation could be usefully applied to tackle this. It’s a clear bid for the role of regulating social media platforms - something it’s been inching towards for some time now. That would put Twitter, for instance, on the same level as the BBC or Channel 4 as a media firm responsible for the content it publishes. Second, the FT reported that the government’s planned white paper on tech regulation has got so big, with so many different elements in it, that it’s been pushed back to the end of this year or even early next. That’s a sign of how many things tech firms are now blamed for, from online bullying to mental health and extremist content. This time next year the UK’s tech landscape might look very different

Amazon launches four-star store

Amazon is expanding with the launch of a new store, called Amazon Four-Star. The first store will open in the SoHo area of New York, where all the items it sells are rated 4 stars and above, are a top seller or are new and trending on Amazon. It will also have sections based on the recommendations you usually see on the online store, including Most-Wished For, Frequently Bought Together and (of course) Amazon Exclusives. What's interesting here is how Amazon can use its online data to create physical stores structured around different themes or topics from traditional outlets   Sign up to the newsletter if you like what you see, and get more like this in your inbox every Friday.