x5: Facebook takes on Craigslist and Samsung gets its own Siri

October 11, 2016 Eric Mercer


x5-intextx5 is our news update that covers the 5 things that happen in tech each week and why they matter.

Facebook launches “Marketplace”, a Craigslist competitor

The new feature allows users to browse through items for sale that are nearby or put up their own items for sale. According to TechCrunch, 450 million people already visit “buy and sell” groups on Facebook each month.

Why This Matters

Facebook already owns 3 of the most popular apps in the world: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. We continue to see them add features in different markets that aim to give them even more dominance of the Internet and our time. In the U.S., Kijiji doesn’t exist and Craigslist is huge. With Facebook stepping in, it is able to serve up classified ads to consumers (given the data it have on all of us), rather than simply host them like Craigslist. Given Facebook’s scale and adoption, this new feature could well have a dramatic impact on the buy & sell (or recycling) market.


Panasonic announces a bendable battery for IoT products

The battery can be bent up to a radius of 25mm, as well as twisted up to an angle of 25 degrees, and still maintain 99% of its charge. It holds a relatively small charge, but is intended for smart clothes and smart cards.

Why This Matters

Sweaters that have heaters in them have existed for a while. Smart Clothing with flexible batteries inside is something entirely different. Advancements like this could open up a whole new world of smart devices and IoT that we haven’t yet contemplated. For example, imagine that the sheets on your bed could measure your body temperature at night and communicate with your smart thermostat to set the perfect temperature for a good night’s sleep. The possibilities are endless.


Ontario-based Clearpath Robotics raised $30M Series B

Clearpath makes the OTTO, a self-driving electric vehicle that is used in factories to move items across the factory floor. Clearpath currently services major customers including GE and John Deere.

Why This Matters

There are a few other players in this industry, namely Amazon Robotics. Clearpath is planning on using this funding to expand to other vehicles of different sizes to be able to accomplish a wider variety of tasks. These bots map out their environment, are incredibly efficient, and charge themselves when they need to. They have the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing and supply chain industries by providing improvements to both speed and profitability.

A Husky robot, left, and a Jackal robot is at the Clearpath Robotics warehouse in Kitchener, Ont., on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah Yoon

Samsung acquires AI company Viv

Viv was founded by Adam Cheyer, Dag Kittlaus, and Chris Brigham, who also created and sold Siri to Apple. Viv is essentially a much more advanced version of Siri that the team has been working on since 2012. Viv will now provide services to all of Samsung’s platforms.

Why This Matters

It seems as though the goal for the team at Viv is to create a one-stop shop of a virtual assistant to live on all Samsung Platforms. Not only can Viv control multiple applications and complex questions, it can write its own code to teach itself how to do things you want it to do. This makes it much more powerful than Siri. Right now, Siri can complete a number of tasks within the MacOS and iOS ecosystem, along with a few apps. Amazon Echo can do the same within the Amazon world, as well as control IoT devices in the home. Google Assistant offers the same. Where Viv has the potential to stand out is that the team aims to have Viv become your only virtual assistant, with the ability to complete virtually any task you can do yourself, all control through conversation (more nuanced than simply voice commands). This may give Samsung the edge it needs in its battle against Apple.team-built-siri-creating-new-ai-assistant-viv-the-global-brain

Rimmel launches “AR mirror” app for cosmetics

The app is called Get the Look and allows users to experiment with different looks from Rimmel by virtually trying them on using AR technology (similar to SnapChat filters). This allows users to adjust the settings of the makeup to capture the perfect look, and then offers direct links to purchase all of the products involved.

Why This Matters

This offers real-time experimentation and shopping to millennials via mobile. By providing users the ability to try on many different styles instantaneously, Rimmel has removed the need for an in-store, makeup assistant experience. This will not only speed up the shopping process (versus going into a store and speaking with a beauty advisor), it also increases the chances that consumers will find a look that suits them and ultimately buy. This is a great example of how AR is being used as a tool for driving engagement and sales.2016_06_30_coty_rimmel_0009_jpeg-full-size-srgb-for-web-1200x800

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