Google Allo vs. Apple iMessage vs. Facebook Messenger: How They Compare | TIME

Which is the best messaging app?

Source: Google Allo vs. Apple iMessage vs. Facebook Messenger: How They Compare | TIME

The messaging apps you likely use each day, like Apple’s iMessage and Facebook Messenger, have changed dramatically over the past few months.

These apps, primarily designed for simple conversation, are gradually evolving into platforms for more complex messaging and outside services. The shift can be compared to the move from mobile webpages to apps that took place once smartphones like the iPhone rose in popularity nearly a decade ago.

Google’s new messaging app Allo, for example, integrates the company’s search prowess directly into text conversations. Apple recently launched an entire store just for apps meant to be used within its messaging app, iMessage. And Facebook earlier this year invited companies to design their own chat bots for its Messenger app, which help you shop or book travel plans.

Apple, Google, and Facebook’s messaging apps serve similar purposes, but in different ways. Here’s a closer look at how they differ.

Google Allo

Lisa Eadicicco
Lisa Eadicicco

Allo’s biggest asset is its integration with Google Assistant, the company’s conversational new virtual aid that can answer questions and make suggestions.

Allo offers two ways to interact with Google Assistant. In a messaging thread, typing the trigger phrase “@google” will tell the assistant to pay attention to the next string of text you type so that it can answer your query. When making plans with a friend, you might type something like, “@google Show me movie times near me?” to display upcoming showings. You can also chat with Google Assistant one-on-one to ask it questions, set alarms, tell jokes, find news, and remember information like hotel room numbers, among other things.

At this point, Google Assistant adds some convenience to texting by making it easier to retrieve information without having to juggle multiple apps. But for now, it’s only helpful for basic tasks. For finding more complicated answers — like public transportation schedules — you’re still better off using a dedicated search app or web browser.

A crucial difference between Allo and the messaging apps offered by Apple and Facebook is that it doesn’t yet offer third-party apps, although Google is considering doing so in the future. With Allo, you can hunt for nearby restaurants and browse movie times without leaving a text conversation, but you can’t book a table or buy tickets for now.

While many texting apps and keyboards can suggest words as you type, Allo goes a step farther by offering up full replies based on the message you’ve just received. If a sibling sends you a photo of the family dog, Allo might suggest that you say something like “Aww!” or “How cute!” in response. This artificial intelligence-powered feature is part of what makes Allo different than iMessage or Facebook Messenger. These suggestions are on point and natural-sounding for the most part, but I found that in most instances I preferred to type out my own responses unless I was in a rush.

Stickers and expression are also an important part of the Allo experience. There are currently around 25 sticker packs available to download in Allo, which is an especially slim selection compared to the 6,000 sticker collections Facebook Messenger offers. Apple hasn’t said how many stickers are currently available for iMessage, but there are dozens upon dozens in the App Store already. These range from recognizable brand-name characters like Mickey Mouse and Mario to cute animals. The stickers in Allo, comparatively, are made by independent artists and studios.

Allo also has an Incognito Mode, which, as the name implies, is meant to offer more privacy for sensitive conversations. With Incognito Mode enabled, all chats are encrypted end-to-end. You can also choose to make your messages disappear after a certain amount of time has passed. This is similar to the Secret Conversations feature available in Facebook Messenger’s mobile app.

However, many reviewers have criticized Google for not activating this functionality by default, as Apple does with iMessage. Google also stores your Allo conversation history, even though it said it wouldn’t look at your messages when it initially unveiled the app, as The Verge noted. (Google says it does this in order to improve its service, but the company’s advertising-based business model is built around knowing as much about its users as possible.)

Unlike Messenger and iMessage, Allo is only available on mobile, for both iOS and Android. This means you can’t continue your chats on your computer while at work or get notifications on your desktop or laptop like you can with Apple and Facebook’s respective apps.

Apple iMessage

Lisa Eadicicco
Lisa Eadicicco

When Apple unveiled the new Apple TV last year, the company did so with the tagline “The future of TV is apps.” Now it seems the company is taking the same approach to messaging.

The new version of iMessage, which recently launched with iOS 10, includes an App Store filled with apps just for Apple’s messaging app. You could, for example, download The Weather Channel’s app for iMessage to look up the forecast and share it with a friend without switching between apps. Or you might have a few friends vote on which restaurant the group should choose for dinner that night through OpenTable.

Apple’s approach to messaging differs from those of Google and Facebook in that it doesn’t focus on the “conversational interface.” This idea has been front and center in both Facebook and Google’s respective apps. Part of the appeal behind Allo, for example, is that you can ask Google to answer questions or retrieve information for you in the same way you would type a message to a friend. Similarly, thousands of businesses have launched chatbots for Facebook Messenger with the goal of making it easier to use their services through casual communication. But using apps in iMessage largely feels the same as interacting with other apps on your phone, rather than chatting with a virtual assistant or automated bot. You can choose to open an app within the text field of your message or expand it to run in full screen mode.

iMessage has changed in other ways, too. In addition to the new stickers, Apple has added visual effects that Facebook and Google’s apps lack. Some examples include: The ability to send handwritten notes by holding the phone in landscape mode, tapping a word or phrase to replace it with an emoji, and sending a virtual heartbeat to recipient.

Another feature unique to iMessage is the ability to send full screen animations with a text, like a barrage of fireworks in the backdrop of a message that says “Congratulations.” iMessage also allows users to send blurred text or photos that unscramble when the recipient swipes over the message. With the new iMessage, it’s possible to make text bubbles larger or smaller, (Allo offers a similar effect), and tap on a specific in a message within a thread to ‘react’ to it, like you would a Facebook status. Plus, iMessage users can now search for animated GIFs and images with the iPhone’s keyboard by default.

Apple’s service is only available on Apple products, including iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, and iPod Touch devices.

Facebook Messenger

Lisa Eadicicco
Lisa Eadicicco

Facebook began integrating third-party services into its chat app before Apple and Google, first introducing Messenger as a Platform in 2015. Facebook took this a step further in April, inviting app makers to create chatbots for its messaging app. There are currently more than 30,000 bots on Facebook Messenger, allowing users to shop, get weather forecasts, and read the news within the app.

When done well, using bots in Messenger almost feels like having personal assistants for specific tasks. The Whole Foods bot, for example, serves up recipe ideas. Shopping app Spring’s bot, meanwhile, will ask you what you’re shopping for and pull up relevant items. The experience is different with each bot. Some will proactively ask you what need help with, while others field questions or send news updates. What each bot does is largely in the hands of their developers rather than Facebook, which is why some bots are more responsive and engaging than others. By contrast, the Google Assistant experience is consistent since Google is in full control.

In addition to chatbots, Facebook also lets third-party apps plug into Messenger. These are different than chatbots in that they’re not conversational, instead working more like iMessage apps. You can, for instance, request an Uber or Lyft when chatting with a friend or send money through Facebook’s payment service without leaving your conversation. Some of these options appear in your in the tool bar above the text field in Messenger, while a larger selection is accessible in the More section. Many of the app integrations currently available for Messenger include different types of keyboards, games, quizzes, and photo apps.

Other than its massive sticker library and selection of third party keyboards, Facebook doesn’t offer many different tools for expression. You can’t, for example, add full-screen animations to a message or tap a word to replace it with an emoji the way you can with iMessage. It did, however, recently gain the ability to start a live video in a conversation and embed polls in group chats.

Facebook Messenger is available for iOS and Android and can also be used on the desktop.


Ultimately, most people will probably opt for the messaging platform that’s most convenient for them. Most often, that’s the app that most of their friends and family members are currently using. This is where Apple and Facebook have a major advantage over Allo. iMessage is baked into every iPhone by default, while Facebook’s Messenger app is among the largest messaging services in the world, boasting 1 billion users. With Allo, Google will have to convince users to download a new app they likely haven’t heard of.

Still, there are reasons to like (or dislike) each app. The ability to search for GIFs and stickers alone is a major step forward for iMessage, which has lagged behind apps like Facebook Messenger in this respect until now. The overall app experience in iMessage, from discovering new apps to actually using them, feels very much like installing regular apps on your iPhone, which Apple fans will likely appreciate.

Messenger, on the other hand, appears to be focused on building the conversational user interface by pushing developers to create chatbots for its platform. It’s still early days for these bots, and the vast majority of them still have yet to prove their worth. Regardless, it’s clear Facebook is focused on messaging, as the app has seen several significant changes over the past year alone. For now, the app’s ease of use and vast selection of stickers remain its biggest strengths.

Allo has potential, but for now it feels more like a testbed for Google Assistant more than anything else. The idea of having a virtual assistant present in chats to help you make plans with friends is helpful and appealing, but it does present some privacy concerns. For now, the lack of third party app integration and desktop compatibility puts Allo behind Messenger and iMessage, although it will be interesting to see how Google Assistant improves over time.

bcg.perspectives – Will Industry Stacks Be the New Blueprint for Banking? (Source: BCG)

The banking industry’s structure is moving to industry stacks, reflecting a shift from competition among vertically integrated companies to horizontal competition at each layer of the banking business.

Source: bcg.perspectives – Will Industry Stacks Be the New Blueprint for Banking?

Digital technologies are reshaping the banking industry at an unprecedented rate, generating waves of fresh opportunity and potential peril for traditional banks. Digital has increased customers’ expectations for greater efficiency, quality, and speed, and it has opened the door to new competitors and disruption. (See Global Retail Banking 2016: Banking on Digital Simplicity, BCG report, May 2016.)

In other industries, prominent companies, including Google and Apple, are emerging as serious competitors through digital innovation. And a rapidly growing number of smaller fintech digital platforms—such as alternative-payment provider Earthport and mobile bank Moven—are winning customers with new digitally enabled products and services.

The traditional value chains of banking incumbents show signs of fragmenting. New technologies, such as blockchain, are evolving as potentially fundamental elements of the emerging new industry structure that we call industry stacks.

The Shift from Value Chains to Industry Stacks

The emergence of industry stacks represents a shift away from vertically integrated companies competing head-to-head across the entire value chain and toward a horizontally layered industry architecture. (See “Borges’ Map: Navigating a World of Digital Disruption,” BCG article, April 2015.) The winning organizations in the industry stacks structure will be those that adapt their business models to compete and prevail in specific layers of a stack.

Remember when IBM mainframes did the heavy lifting of global corporate computing? The computer industry began shifting to a stacked business architecture in the early 1980s. The arrival of the PC and the rapid distribution of increasingly powerful and inexpensive personal software dissolved links in the industry’s vertical integration and introduced a new balance of power. Today, those mainframes and supercomputers have largely been superseded in business applications by cloud computing and storage, as well as by racks of networked modular PCs running open-source Linux.

Stacked business architectures result in incumbents either taking on new roles—witness IBM’s evolution to a largely services and advisory company—or exiting the business entirely as their industry consolidates. Will digital technology threaten leading roles in banking, as it has done in many other industries, including computing, telecommunications, media, retail sales, and travel? We believe the answer is yes. In fact, a fundamental change in the structure of the industry has already begun. That conclusion is evident in the shifting dynamics of banking and in the drivers of change, as well as the new structures, that can be seen in other industries that are further along the digital disruption path.

The Vanishing Advantages of Vertical Integration

Many industries, banking included, have been characterized by oligopolistic competition among large, vertically integrated companies. Until now, the market dominance of those companies has been secured by two advantages of size: low transaction costs and moderate economies of scale. Transaction costs are incurred when interfacing with other firms and dealing with information asymmetry. They can be reduced through vertical integration. Economies of scale have been typically moderate because the value chain includes a mix of fixed and variable costs as well as a blend of activities that are more or less sensitive to scale. The net effect has been to confer some benefit to market share and to drive industries toward oligopolistic, but not monopolistic, structures.

Changes in technology, however, are undermining these two advantages. By broadening access to information and advanced analytics, digital and information technologies are eliminating asymmetries in the use of large amounts of sophisticated data while slashing communications costs. Smaller companies and digitally empowered consumers now have access to market information that previously was monopolized by large companies. At the same time, certain infrastructure activities—such as cloud computing and the curation of the cloud’s immense databases—are revolutionizing economies of scale.

As the cost of market interaction plummets, the dismantling of vertically integrated value chains accelerates. And as value chains are reconfigured, the various elements can consolidate or fragment on the basis of their specific economies of scale. The result is a move toward the industry stacks structure. (See Exhibit 1.)


The computer industry clearly illustrates the shift from value chains to stacks. During a 20-year period, it evolved from a vertically integrated market dominated by IBM to a horizontally layered one. Some layers stayed concentrated—Intel remains the leader in processing chips and central processing units, and Microsoft still prevails in operating-system software. Other stack layers, including application development and hardware manufacturing, continued to fragment.

The ramifications of such an evolution for the banking industry are significant. Until now, winning has required mastering the whole value chain from end to end, and doing so better than your competitors. An advantage in one part of the value chain could support selling the whole value chain of services, thus compensating for disadvantages elsewhere.

Fighting Battles in Each Layer of the Stack

In stack-based competition, players have to fight separate battles in each layer of the stack. Competitive advantage requires a company to be flexible enough to win in diverse and changing markets while collaborating with winners in layers in which it doesn’t dominate. Vertically integrated incumbents will now confront different competitors in each arena. They will need to excel at all layers of the stack or eventually be forced to limit their focus to the layers in which they already have a competitive advantage.

Banking already shows signs of moving toward a stacks architecture. (See Exhibit 2.) The bottom layer of the stacks model is infrastructure, which benefits from scale. It includes platforms that incorporate hosting infrastructure; platform enablers, such as core banking systems; and other processing and information services based on data, such as clearing.


The second layer up comprises banking applications and services. These include basic accounts for money and securities as well as transaction, lending, and investment products.

Above that sits the customer interface layer—which includes not only traditional channels, such as branches, but also brokers, points of sale, and ecosystems—through which products and services become accessible to users.

At the very top are the communities of users, including consumers and businesses. Here, users are quickly becoming producers and information sources. For example, in financial services, investment platforms offer user-generated advice and information.

Incumbents Face Attack in Every Layer

In banking today, new industry entrants are attacking incumbents in every layer of a given stack. Players from other industries typically attack at the customer interface, offering select, high-margin products. These include giant global retail technology pioneers, such as Apple, Google, and Amazon; focused global players, such as PayPal; and telecom providers.

The degree of peril posed by these players depends on the services they offer. A new front end to traditional banking services could prove to be a major threat to banks if it allows the interloper to steal the customer’s loyalty or to substantially reduce business volumes, confining the bank’s role to commodity back-end processing. In the worst case, these outside competitors will aim to become full-service banks, though many shy away from doing so because they don’t want to be regulated.

What makes some of these companies particularly dangerous is that they approach banking with a different financial logic. Banks focus on earning money from their products and services, but players from other industries are more interested in building the value of their ecosystems and gaining access to rich data. To enhance that value, they are willing to disrupt business by giving products away for free, as Apple did with maps and navigation systems.

Fintechs, which have grown rapidly in number and in level of investor funding, similarly aim to take control of the customer relationship. They enter specific, attractive banking segments with focused products and services, aiming to disrupt banks through platforms, such as peer-to-peer lending and investment services. Some fintechs address customers’ new or unmet needs through innovative business models, such as the online money transfer service TransferWise. Others upstage the existing services of traditional banks with improved offerings, such as Mint, Intuit’s online personal-money-management service.

Fintechs that insert themselves into customer relationships or limit direct access to clients pose a particular challenge to banks, jeopardizing margins if not volumes. They threaten to disrupt banks’ ability to provide a full-service offering by going after the most attractive pockets of revenue and profitability, such as payments or investments. This leaves banks with lower-margin, unattractive products and underused platforms and networks.

Specialized service providers are active at lower layers of the stack, mainly in the infrastructure layer but also in the applications and services layer. Some companies—such as IBM, Experian, and SAP—offer IT services, data management, and risk management. Others, such as Wirecard, provide private-label platforms.

Most radical of all, perhaps, are the companies that use blockchain technology, which harnesses large federations of computers (that may or may not be owned by banks) to validate transactions through a shared protocol.

These institutions can exploit scale and innovation beyond what a single bank can achieve. Some take advantage of the increasing volume and availability of data, thus eroding banks’ information and analytics advantage in the products and services layer. These players do not pose a direct challenge to banks but rather see them as customers. Nevertheless, they threaten banks by facilitating disruption as they provide services to attackers and lower the barriers of entry for players that need only to master the top layer of the stack.

Incumbent banks will find it increasingly difficult to prevail. A strong position in accounts, for example, can no longer be relied upon to sell a bank’s own service solutions. Further, as new entrants continue to compete for the customer interface, banks will lose control of the channels that are driving volumes in the lower layers of the stack. Regulators, however, might protect the current industry structure and slow down the emergence of a stack structure if they focus on regulating services rather than certain players.

At the same time, the innovation driven by fintechs provides an opportunity for incumbents. Banks can innovate at an unprecedented speed if they embrace new market solutions, such as robo-advice.

These changes to the banking industry’s structure are in their early stages, and further shifts toward the stacks structure are likely. A greater proportion of banks’ revenues will therefore become vulnerable to attack by new entrants at various layers.

Four Viable Business Models Emerge

In BCG’s article “Borges’ Map,” Philip Evans and Patrick Forth argue that business architecture has itself become a strategic variable. Technology may be used to optimize and create competitive advantage within a business model. But real success stems from an organization’s ability to reinvent its business model or adapt to the opportunities provided by both technology and the ubiquitous availability of digitized information that can be generated, mined, analyzed, and used at low cost.

In this world, stacked business architecture will be the dominant structure, and four distinct, viable business models are emerging within it: traditional oligopolist, infrastructure organization, platform, and user community.

What will this mean for the future of the banking industry?

Traditional Oligopolist. Companies following this business model have a competitive advantage in environments where uncertainty is high but not incalculable and where economies of scale are significant but not overwhelming. Their advantage stems from continuous improvement in core products and processes as well as from investments in sustaining the advantages of scale. The successful traditional oligopolists will continue to control a large part of the value chain.

Current incumbent banks, whose number one priority is to keep their offerings relevant for customers, are naturally positioned for this space. When they lose access to the customer, these banks will have to become the new winners’ best partners at the customer interface to avoid losing platform scale. Partnering with future winners will also allow them to gain share on volumes. Margins will come under pressure as products are commoditized, and some products will even become unsustainable for the majority of integrated banks that fail to reach the scale required.

Overall, the model of traditional oligopolists will become less relevant.

Infrastructure Organization. This type of company will be found at the bottom of the stack, where scale matters most and uncertainty is lowest. Scale and efficiency are key here, and IT providers, utilities, and global product players, such as credit card companies, will continue to prevail. Several products currently manufactured by banks will migrate into this space, especially in the capital markets business; consider foreign exchange trading, for example. Infrastructure organizations will therefore both partner and compete with traditional oligopolists.

Platform. Organizations using this business model provide services to communities and allow them to scale as a result of the network effect of serving a large number of users. This creates a winner-take-all environment with monopolistic structures. The value of these platforms must be sustained by continuous innovation and reinvention. Unlike traditional monopolies, which are protected by barriers to entry created by the immense investments in infrastructure—such as cables, pipelines, or railroad tracks—that are needed to form a traditional network, these new networks are generated by users’ decisions. And as users’ views and needs evolve, the new fragile monopolies can lose scale as quickly as they gain it.

Some traditional banks, including BBVA and Citibank, are exploring the platform approach—for example by opening their applications programming to benefit from external innovation.  As the value of physical distribution networks erodes, more banks might want to explore options to create new digital platforms. With access to customer data, an understanding of customers’ needs, and the sheer scale of their customer base, banks have the assets that are essential for building a platform.

The bank as an app store in the center of an ecosystem might become a business model for the future.

User Community. Consumers, professionals, and small entrepreneurs will gather in communities at the top layer of the stack, consuming services and products offered by companies in the layers below. They flourish in environments that have high uncertainty and weak economies of scale. Members of these communities innovate to build solutions that are better than the ones provided by companies in the other layers. They build on platforms, and their costs of failure are low; the main investment is the creator’s time—and the upside is large when they hit it right. Innovative solutions can scale quickly and create global businesses within months.

This potential to scale quickly in the user community space is what attracts venture capital to fintechs and other startups. Though some banks are building disruptive business models independently—creating venture capital funds to fuel external innovation that they can internalize or using hackathons to create new digital solutions for their customers—this space is largely untapped by banks today.

The detailed structure of future banking is, of course, unclear. As the stacks architecture continues to evolve, however, banks will need to know which model to employ given their circumstances and then excel in its execution.

What Banks Must Do to Succeed

Some say that banks will be marginalized and become mere product providers. Others argue that banks should appeal to regulators for protection from the economics of disruption. Still others believe that determined banks will find paths to evolve and survive by leveraging their core assets, such as their customer base, relatively large investment budgets, and generally well-educated staff.

We believe that the organizations that embrace the opportunities of technology in the industry stacks structure will emerge the strongest. Banks that aim to be among the winners must take three actions:

  • Build an understanding of their market’s dynamics and, more important, identify current and future competitors in each layer of the stack.
  • Generate options for their future market position using the opportunities provided by technology for both digitizing the core and launching disruptive solutions.
  • Above all, develop the ability to adapt to an uncertain and shifting environment.

Ultimately, banks will need to face the brutal facts about where in the stack they have a sustainable competitive advantage and are able to compete profitably. It may be necessary to focus activities more narrowly in some layers while investing heavily to innovate and broaden scope in other areas.

Because the precise outcome cannot be predicted, becoming more adaptive is the key challenge. Banks operate in an environment in which aversion to risk is part of the culture on all levels and where decision making is complex and slow. Those institutions will now have to be able to manage both continuous incremental improvements in their core businesses, where they still mainly compete against one another, and innovations in adjacent and new business areas, where they will compete against new, agile competitors.

Banks must be able to operate with a more diversified mix of channels and to supplement captive channels with other solutions. Technology will play the main role rather than just support it, and data management will become a key source of competitive advantage.

This will require a fundamental change in the way banks operate, starting with a significantly tighter focus on customers. Banks will need to take the following steps:

  • Become less hierarchical and siloed and instead allow more distributed leadership and empowerment of teaming for customer-relevant solutions.
  • Establish clear processes for innovation with KPIs and set up governance structures that differ distinctively from those of the traditional mature businesses that banks are used to running.
  • Develop modular organizations, in which services from bottom layers are easily available to all services at the top.
  • Create a new people strategy to attract and cultivate digitally savvy entrepreneurial talent.
  • Foster a culture of excellence in everything they do; this is critical for banks aspiring to remain relevant in all layers of the stack.

Times of uncertainty are times of opportunity for entrepreneurs. Now is the moment for banks to rebuild entrepreneurship while retaining their abilities to manage efficiency and incremental improvement.

Yet disruption has not defined the future of banking. Organizations that understand and wield the digital opportunities to drive change, rather than be driven by its perils, hold the future in their hands. Taking a small number of decisive management actions now can lay the foundation for success.

Apple will push for organ donor registration in iOS 10 | The Verge

Source: Apple will push for organ donor registration in iOS 10 | The Verge


Apple’s next software update for the the iPhone will make it easier for users to register as organ donors. The company is adding the new feature to its Health app, and will let users sign up to become organ, eye, and tissue donors “with just a few taps.” Registrations submitted on the iPhone will be sent straight to the National Donate Life Registry. The feature will be available in fall this year when iOS 10 is launched, although the software will also be available via a public beta later this month.

A shortage of organ donations has been a longstanding difficulty in the US, and Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Associated Press that the problem hit home for him after the death of the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011. Jobs suffered from a rare type of pancreatic cancer, and eventually received a liver transplant in 2009 after enduring whatCook called an “excruciating” wait. Jobs even turned down the offer of a transplant from Cook himself, according to one biography of the Apple co-founder.


The National Kidney Foundation says are currently 121,678 people ≈ population of Bridgetown, capital city of Barbados

≈ population of Male, capital city of Maldives
≈ population of Praia, capital city of Cape Verde
≈ population of Malabo, capital city of Equatorial Guinea
≈ population of Georgetown, capital city of Guyana

“>[≈ population of Papeete, capital city of French Polynesia] waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the US, with 100,791 of these in need of a kidney. Each day, an average of 22 people die inneed of an organ transplant, while a patient is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. In May, the White House announced a new effort to close the gap between “the 95 percent of Americans who support organ donation and the roughly 50 percent who areregistered organ donors,” pledging to work with Facebook, Google, and Twitter to improve awareness. Now it seems Apple can be added to that list.

“With the updated Health app, we’re providing education and awareness about organ donation and making it easier than ever to register. It’s a simple process that takes just a few seconds and could help save up to eight lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a press statement. “Together with Donate Life America, we’re excited to deliver this new feature to iPhone users in the US with iOS 10.”

Apple first announced iOS 10 at its Worldwide Developers Conference last month, with SVP Craig Federighi calling the software update “the biggest iOS release ever for our users.” It might not be appear to be as dramatic an overhaul as iOS 7 was in 2013, but it features the most significant visual tweaks seen since then, with a completely revamped lockscreen experience and major redesigns for apps like Music, Maps, and News. Developers can currently access an early beta of the software, with a full release expected later this year alongside the launch of the next iPhone.

10 most reputable companies in the world – Business Insider

The luxury watch brand Rolex is the most reputable company in the world, according to the Reputation Institute’s annual rankings.

Source: 10 most reputable companies in the world – Business Insider

The Reputation Institute sorts companies according to the public’s perception of their performance in seven areas: products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership, and performance.

The chocolate maker The Hershey Company is the most reputable brand in the US, but the brand is much less well known internationally, so it did not make it onto the list. Facebook did not even make it into the top 100.

After the emissions scandal that engulfed the company last year, Volkswagen dropped from being the 14th most reputable company in the world in 2015 to the 123rd spot this year.

To compile the rankings, the Reputation Institute collected more than 240,000 ratings from 15 countries. You can see the full results here.

10. Apple. RepTrack Points: 76.6.

Apple’s reputation is getting worse, according to the study. The company has dropped from seventh place in 2014’s rankings to eighth in 2015’s, and it now sits at 10th. The tech company, however, came out on top in both the innovation and the leadership categories.

Here’s everything Apple announced at its Keynote on Monday, including its new, cheaper-than-ever iPhone.

9. Sony. RepTrack points: 76.7.

Sony proved to be a truly global brand. The company was among the 10 most reputable brands in 10 of the 15 countries surveyed. On this metric, it was beaten only by Rolex.

This year Sony faced criticism over its failure to release singer Kesha from a six-album contract with one of its record labels, Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records. Kesha alleged that her producer at the label, Lukasz Gottwald, sexually abused her.

Aside from music, the Japanese conglomerate makes electronics and produces movies and video games. The company was founded in 1946 by Masaru Ibuka.

8. Canon. RepTrack points: 76.9.

Canon is the third most reputable brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The world’s biggest maker of cameras and printers has been expanding further this year. It just announced that it would buy Toshiba’s medical devices unit for nearly $6 billion.


7. Microsoft. RepTrack points: 77.0.

Microsoft has returned to the list after it dropped out in 2015. It came out as the third most reputable brand in Asia. Microsoft is performing particularly well in the detachable tablet market, outperforming Apple.

Microsoft is predicted to take a 74.6% share of the detachable tablet market by 2020.

The company’s biggest businesses in 2016 include the Windows operating system, the Xbox, and Microsoft Office.

6. Lego Group. RepTrack points: 77.4.

Lego remains the most reputable brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

This year Lego faced a serious backlash after the company refused to sell artist Ai Weiwei a bulk order of its plastic bricks. The Chinese artist had planned on using them to make a political point, which went against the company’s rules. The toymaker later reversed this policy.

According to a report by Brand Finance, Lego is the world’s second most powerful brand after Disney.

5. Daimler (Mercedes-Benz). RepTrack points: 77.7

Daimler dropped from third place to fifth in the global reputation rankings this year.

Daimler sold 2.9 million cars in 2015, up 12% from the previous year, it was announced at the company’s annual press conference.

The Daimler-owned Mercedes could soon become the car brand most closely associated with Uber, as the taxi app just announced an order for 100,000 Mercedes S-Class cars, according to Fortune.

4. BMW Group. RepTrack points: 77.9.

BMW dropped from first place in 2015, but it retains its lead on its fellow German carmaker Daimler.

BMW celebrated its 100th birthday this year. To celebrate, it released the concept car it predicts everyone will be driving in 100 years.

As well as producing BMWs, the company makes Mini cars and oversees productions of Rolls-Royce vehicles.

3. Google. RepTrak points: 78.1.

Google came top in the performance and workplace categories this year, but it slipped from second place — which it had held in 2015 and 2014.

The search-ad business has had another important year; in October it reshaped its corporate structure to form a new parent company, Alphabet.

2. The Walt Disney Company. RepTrak points: 78.2.

The Walt Disney Company came in the top 10 in each of the seven categories. The huge media and entertainment company came first in the citizenship and governance categories, making it unlucky to miss out on the top spot.

The company is not afraid to stand up to things it disagrees with. On Wednesday, Disney Film Studios announced that it would boycott Georgia if the state brings into law a bill allowing officials to refuse to conduct same-sex marriages, The Guardian reports.

The California-based company employs about 185,000 people across various divisions, according to its website.

NOTES: 1. All tokens are represented by ‘$’ sign in the template. 2. You can write your code only wherever mentioned. 3. “DO NOT” alter the tokens in the template html as they are required during publishing.

1. Rolex. RepTrak points: 78.4

Rolex’s position as the most reputable brand in the world is due to its incredibly high reputation for products and services. It was in the top 10 for every category.

Luxury watch brands have suffered over the past year after facing a declining market in China. Consumers in the country bought 40% fewer Swiss watches — including Rolex, Swatch, and TAG Heuer brands — than they did in 2014, Sky News reported.

The luxury watch brand was founded in London in 1905 before moving operations to Switzerland at the end of World War I.

Here’s how the rankings have changed over the past few years:


What Major Music Streaming Services Pay Artists, Visualized | Co.Design | business + design

What Major Music Streaming Services Pay Artists, Visualized | Co.Design | business + design.

Since the arrival of Spotify in 2011, artists have been at odds with streaming music services over the royalties they recieve. And now thatApple Music has entered the music streaming wars, the question of how much each music service pays artists is as rife as ever. But without a clear explanation of who’s paying what, it’s easy to find yourself usingTaylor Swift as a barometer of artist fairness.

Now, a new infographic from David McCandless at Information Is Beautiful attempts to clarify streaming music’s murky financial backwaters.

via Information is Beautiful

On the left side of the chart, a line graph connects the streaming service (i.e. Spotify) and the amount of revenue it pay their artists per play (i.e. $.0011) with the number of people who use the service (i.e. 75 million people). The right side puts that information into context by showing what percentage of the total number of users is needed in order for artists to earn the U.S. minimum wage, which McCandless approximates to $1,260 per month (the federal baseline for minimum wage is $7.25/hour but it varies by state). For example, in order for an artist to survive on Spotify sales, he or she needs 2% of its 75 million users—that’s around 1.5 million users—to play their track per month.

The chart is most useful when simply comparing the artist revenue per play. Google Play pays artists the most, quickly followed by Jay-Z’s recently acquired streaming service Tidal, which is expected given its “by artists for artists” platform. Spotify and Apple Music are neck and neck. Perhaps the most startling revelation? Apple Music cut its artist revenue in half after transitioning from Beats, which it bought last year.

Comparing the streaming sites is not exactly apples to apples, as a careful look at both sides of the chart will show. For example, Tidal pays its artists more per play than Spotify ($.0070), but it has far fewer users (.5 million), so an artist would need to rely on a larger percentage of a smaller pool of users to play their track. And McCandless’ infographic doesn’t offer a fair comparison to Google Play and Apple Music, two of the biggest players, because there’s no user data available.

Still, being transparent about artist royalties is a step in the right direction for streaming services, and it’s useful for users to see a company’s intentions. Check out the data McCandless used for the infographic here.

Spotify: le pari payant de la commodité pour nous offrir la BO de notre vie !

Dans les coulisses de Spotify, le juke-box 2.0 – TéléObs.

Le tour du propriétaire commence par la table de ping-pong, dépliée au centre d’une cour intérieure, encadrée de grandes baies vitrées. La légende raconte que le chanteur canadien Justin Bieber y aurait infligé une raclée au fondateur du numéro un mondial du streaming musical, Daniel Ek. 

Autour : des bureaux. Une enfilade d’openspace décorés par les salariés, pour la plupart de sexe masculin, la trentaine à peine, en jeans, tee-shirts, baskets, qui pianotent devant leurs écrans, un casque vissé sur la tête. Soixante-huit nationalités sont représentées. Spotify croule sous les candidatures, assure Jamie Smith, son directeur de la communication interne : l’entreprise, présente dans 28 pays, en a reçu 32.000 depuis le début de l’année !

Géant du streaming

Avec 75 millions d’utilisateurs, l’ex-petite firme suédoise est devenue le géant du streaming. Ce service, qui fait trembler une industrie musicale en chute libre, permet d’écouter gratuitement des morceaux sur internet et de se constituer ses playlists. Epouvantail pour certains artistes et producteurs, il est une future vache à lait pour d’autres. Car, si son accès est gratuit, le site reverse des droits aux artistes grâce à une manne publicitaire qu’on annonce gigantesque – Jonathan Forster, directeur pour l’Europe du Nord, rappelle en passant que la pub a rapporté 80 milliards de dollars aux radios privées en 2014, quand les recettes de l’industrie du disque ont atteint… 15 milliards de dollars. Spotify compte aussi 20 millions d’abonnés payants “freemium”, pour un service plus rapide et sans publicité.

Depuis le succès colossal du suédois, la riposte s’organise. Après le rappeur Jay-Z, qui a lancé, en mars dernier, avec ses amis stars Rihanna, Madonna, Daft Punk…, le service payant Tidal – pour l’instant sans grand succès –, c’est au tour du géant Apple d’attaquer avec son application Apple Music, disponible depuis le 30 juin. La marque à la pomme a des atouts de taille : 170 milliards de trésorerie et un milliard d’utilisateurs de son fameux iTunes. Cette offensive n’a pas ébranlé Daniel Ek, qui s’est fendu d’un laconique “Ah ok” sur Twitter avant d’effacer le message.

Car chaque nouvelle annonce d’un concurrent est une occasion à saisir, explique Jonathan Forster :

“Tout d’un coup, on ne parle plus que de streaming. Et comme nous ne faisons pas de grosses campagnes de communication, c’est de la publicité gratuite pour nous.”

Une reconnaissance. “Ça fait dix ans que nous disons que le streaming est l’avenir de l’industrie musicale. Nous sommes heureux que les autres soient enfin d’accord avec nous.” De toute façon, assure le Britannique, Spotify est parée :

“Jusqu’à présent, nos ennemis principaux étaient les pirates. C’est comme de se battre contre des zombies : ils n’ont ni corps ni règles. Ça nous a endurcis.”

Chez Spotify, on est aussi convaincu d’avoir une longueur d’avance : “Depuis notre lancement, nous avons fourni 2,5 milliards d’heures de musique en streaming : c’est autant de données qui nous permettent d’améliorer notre service.”

“Hack week”

A Stockholm, la décontraction fait partie du modèle. Salle de jeux, studio d’enregistrement, concerts gratuits à la cafétéria… D’après Paolo Brolin Echeverria, il n’est pas rare de voir traîner les salariés tard dans la nuit, au 61 de la rue Birger Jarlsgatan, siège de l’entreprise. Celle-ci a atteint une valorisation record de 7,5 milliards de dollars, mais l’esprit start-up demeure.

L’effervescence avec. Paolo est responsable de la “hack week”, qui vient de se terminer : pendant deux semaines, les 1.500 salariés du groupe (dont la moitié est basée à Stockholm) ont carte blanche pour travailler sur un projet qui leur tient à cœur.

Accès légal à une gigantesque discothèque

C’est pendant l’une de ces sessions qu’est née “running”, la toute dernière fonctionnalité, présentée fin mai à New York, qui permet aux joggeurs d’adapter le rythme de leurs playlists à la cadence de leurs pas. L’aventure Spotify a commencé en 2006 avec la rencontre de Daniel Ek, alors jeune programmeur de 23 ans passionné de musique, déjà riche mais déprimé, et d’un entrepreneur, Martin Lorentzon, 37 ans, multimillionnaire en quête de nouveaux projets.

Tous deux admirent Napster, le site de partage en ligne fondé en 1999 par un groupe de jeunes Américains, fermé deux ans plus tard sur ordre des tribunaux. Leur idée : réussir là où les autres ont échoué, en proposant un service d’accès légal à une gigantesque discothèque (autour de 30 millions de chansons), avec l’accord des labels et des ayants droit.

Le nom “Spotify” naît d’un malentendu lors d’une soirée un peu arrosée : Martin Lorentzon est devant l’ordinateur et enregistre des noms de domaine, tandis que Daniel Ek lance des suggestions. Le premier entend mal ce que dit le second et écrit “Spotify” : une combinaison de “spot” (découvrir) et “identify” (identifier). Quelques mois plus tard, un certain Jonathan Forster pousse la porte d’un petit appartement, dans le centre de Stockholm : “Il y avait un groupe de types visiblement superdoués, qui tapaient à toute vitesse sur leurs claviers et surfaient sur deux écrans à la fois, dit-il. On sentait l’excitation dans l’air.” Forster a droit à une première démonstration : “C’était magique. Ils avaient travaillé très dur pour que la musique soit disponible en moins de 300 millisecondes. L’oreille ne détectait aucun délai.”

Le pari est osé. Il s’agit de proposer simultanément une alternative aux boutiques de téléchargement, comme iTunes, et aux sites de téléchargement illégal, tels que Pirate Bay – à l’époque, YouTube n’en est alors qu’à ses balbutiements. L’idée de combiner un service gratuit, où les chansons sont régulièrement entrecoupées de spots publicitaires, à un service payant, le “premium”, accessible hors connexion, sans pub, s’impose rapidement. Un modèle “contre-intuitif”, dit Gustav Söderström, directeur des produits : “Car on a dit aux gens qu’ils allaient devoir commencer à payer pour obtenir ce qu’ils trouvaient gratuitement sur les sites de téléchargement illégal. Si vous n’êtes pas passionné, 120 euros par an, ça fait beaucoup. Mais plus vous consommez de musique, plus ça devient important. Et télécharger sur Pirate Bay prend du temps. Nous avons fait le pari de la commodité. Heureusement, les gens ont suivi.”

Les négociations avec les maisons de disques vont durer deux ans. “On regardait les listings des compagnies et on envoyait des emails aux gens, en espérant juste décrocher un rendez- vous”, raconte Jonathan Forster. Per Sundin, patron d’Universal Suède, est l’un des premiers à dire banco : “L’industrie musicale était attaquée de partout. On était désespérés. On avait essayé d’autres services. Rien ne fonctionnait.” Encore faut-il convaincre ses supérieurs. Si les labels sont partants pour le service payant, ils ne veulent pas du “freemium” (accès gratuit puis payant). Spotify ne lâche pas. Gustav Söderström s’en félicite : “Nous avons un taux de conversion du gratuit au payant de 25 %. Jusqu’à présent, Skype était une référence avec 7 %. Or notre taux aurait dû diminuer avec l’accélération de notre développement, mais ce n’est pas le cas : les utilisateurs du service gratuit continuent de passer au payant, bien au-delà des premiers mois.”

Coup de gueule planétaire de  Taylor Swift

L’an dernier, le “freemium” a connu son heure de gloire avec le coup de gueule planétaire de la chanteuse pop américaine Taylor Swift, qui a annoncé qu’elle quittait la plateforme, mécontente de ne pas être rémunérée à sa juste valeur pour sa musique. Jonathan Forster dit son incompréhension :

“Elle a laissé ses chansons sur YouTube, où les téléchargements ont explosé. Si nous n’offrions pas de service gratuit, nous perdrions notre meilleure chaîne de marketing pour le premium. Surtout, le gratuit génère de l’argent pour les artistes, grâce aux revenus de la publicité, ce qui n’est pas le cas de YouTube.”

Ludvig Werner, directeur de l’Ifpi (Fédération internationale de l’Industrie phonographique) à Stockholm, reconnaît que le modèle est complexe :

En tant qu’artiste, vous receviez une grosse somme d’un coup, à la sortie de votre CD. Désormais, vos revenus s’étalent dans le temps.”

La transparence n’est pas non plus toujours au rendez-vous : “Ce que vous touchez dépend de l’accord signé avec la maison de disques.” Pour lui, le streaming représente pourtant l’avenir de l’industrie musicale : “En Suède, nos revenus ont chuté de 60 % entre 2001 et 2008. Avec le streaming, ils ont augmenté de 27 %, et ce nouveau modèle représente désormais plus de 80 % des revenus de l’industrie.”

Une application incontournable

Spotify reverse 70 % des recettes générées par les abonnements et la pub aux labels et ayants droit. Au total : 3 milliards de dollars depuis sa création, avec une augmentation vertigineuse ces derniers mois. Et ce n’est qu’un début, assure Jonathan Forster :

“Le jeu Angry Birds a 600 millions d’utilisateurs. C’est dire notre potentiel. Nous avons les Rolling Stones, Daft Punk, Beck … Imaginez ce que le reversement va représenter avec 600 millions d’utilisateurs, ou un milliard, comme Instagram ?”

Tel est bien l’objectif : faire de Spotify une application incontournable.

“La question n’est pas de savoir quelle part du gâteau nous obtiendrons, mais comment accroître la taille de ce gâteau”, lance Gustav Söderström. Et puis, il se targue du soutien que sa compagnie apporte aux artistes : “Grâce aux données dont nous disposons, nous pouvons leur dire où se trouvent leurs fans, où se produire en concert.”

Les développeurs y travaillent d’arrache-pied, usant de savants algorithmes pour découvrir les goûts des utilisateurs.

Spotify a réalisé un chiffre d’affaires d’un milliard de dollars en 2014, mais quadruplé son déficit. Elle vient cependant, d’annoncer une levée de fonds de 465 millions d’euros, et se lancera bientôt dans la vidéo. L’enjeu est de taille, selon Gustav Söderström :

“Nous voulons vous accompagner toute la journée et produire la BO de votre vie.”

‘Bank of Apple’ Moves Closer With New Patent To Kill PayPal, Square (Source: Forbes)

‘Bank of Apple’ Moves Closer With New Patent To Kill PayPal, Square.


Apple AAPL -0.29% has quietly filed for a new patent which details a person-to-person money transmission method which could potentially grab market share from PayPal and Square, and hit the already beleaguered banking sector struggling to keep up with FinTech.

Apple is already banking on consumers using the wallet in Apple Pay as their central source for general payments, and having recently announced at WWDC that Apple Pay will soon be available in the UK (Apple Pay is reportedly coming to the UK on July 14th) that’s a huge additional market to tap into, especially to lure British consumers away from using contactless cards which dominate the UK banking sector. But the killer feature missing has been a method to transfer payments between people, and now Apple plans to remedy this with Apple Pay and the wallet.

Hey UK, here comes Apple Pay

According to Patently Apple, “Apple’s invention generally relates to wireless communications, wireless electronic devices, and more specifically to techniques for conducting financial transactions by communicating encrypted financial credentials between the wireless electronic devices.

In other words, an iPhone user will activate their Wallet app, chose a stored card that they want to use to make the money transfer with, and type in the amount they would like to pay. The payment would then be authenticated using Touch ID or the iPhone’s passcode. The wallet system would also let the person pick the recipient of the funds from nearby iPhone users.

Whats not clear is whether the Apple Watch will play any part in initiating a transfer of funds. Unless this arrives with the Gen2 Watch as a complimentary feature.

This has massive implications for a number of reasons:

  • A direct swipe at PayPal, Square and others for simple money transfer could impact their services if successful
  • As traditional retail banks struggle to offer quick and easy services for customers this could be another nail in the coffin for those who can’t provide innovation in the current account space
  • As Barclays and other banks experiment with wearable tech for contactless payments, Apple could kill off other R&D projects waiting in the wings at other institutions unwilling to take the risk
  • With £3bn in funds being transferred in the UK alone via banking apps, Apple is hoping to tap into a huge payments market for P2P transmission

This method is nothing new in terms of simple money transmission. M-Pesa was launched in 2007 allowing for funds transfer and borrowing without bank branches all via mobile.

Apple credits Senior Director of Apple Pay Engineering Timothy Hurley who came to Apple from Citibank for the new idea.

When, or even if, Apple decides to implement this is anyones guess at this point in time. Apple has a history of patenting many things that never see the light of day. But one thing is for certain; if it does hit, it will only hurt other FinTech wallets.

Of course, Apple is well known for locking in users as much as possible in their ecosystem, this is just another play to make sure you never leave the fold. To find out what I mean, read how Apple just makes us all complacent.

Apple and Twitter and Snapchat use human editors, but Facebook doesn’t – Fortune

Apple and Twitter and Snapchat use human editors, but Facebook doesn’t – Fortune.

Using human beings to do curation or aggregation works for some purposes, but not for others.

It’s gone from one or two examples to a bona fide trend—which, as any journalist knows, occurs whenever there is least three of something. The trend in this case is the hiring of human editors to filter through the news, music, and other forms of content that are being produced and/or hosted by a variety of platforms. So Apple is hiring editors for its News app, which it announced at its recent developer conference, as well as editor/DJs for the streaming music service the company is rolling out soon.

Meanwhile, Snapchat is also hiringjournalists to report and edit content related to the upcoming U.S. election, and Twitter is looking to add editorswho can filter and aggregate tweets and links related to trending topics on the network, as part of what the company calls Project Lightning. LinkedIn also recently announced it is adding human editors to its Pulse news-recommendation feature, and Instagram has started doing some curation for its new Explore page.

There are a couple of big names missing from this list that are pretty influential when it comes to news: Namely, Facebook and Google. Facebook is launching a new featurecalled Instant Articles with partners like the New York Times, but the site’s staff won’t have anything to do with the selection of stories that become part of the program—and the choice of who sees them and when will be left to Facebook’s all-powerful algorithm. Much like Facebook, Google’s services are also powered completely by algorithms.

Of course, algorithms aren’t autonomous robots, but software that is written and programmed by human beings to have certain attributes. So in a sense, the “humans vs. algorithms” debate is based on a misconception. But it’s probably fair to say the human input in an algorithm-driven model is one step removed from the action, compared to human editing.

So if Apple and Twitter and Snapchat and LinkedIn see the value of having human editors selecting news or curating content of various kinds, why wouldn’t Facebook and Google do the same? Because each of the latter two companies are involved in content that’s on a completely different scale than Apple or Twitter—and human beings don’t scale very well.

Technology analyst Ben Thompson made this point in a recent blog post, entitled “Curation and Algorithms.”There are some things that human curation is good for, and some things that it isn’t, he argues. For example, music and other emotional forms of content can be good candidates for curation because human beings perceive things about that content that algorithms might miss. So when Jimmy Iovine talked about the launch of the new Apple Music service, he said:

“The only song that matters as much as the song you’re listening to right now is the one that follows this. Picture this: you’re in a special moment, and the next song comes on… BZZZZZ, Buzzkill! It probably happened because it was programmed by an algorithm alone. Algorithms alone can’t do that emotional task. You need a human touch.”

But there are cases in which curation done by human beings simply doesn’t work, Thompson says—and Google and Facebook are two examples of that, but for very different reasons. Google’s job is to filter through all of the billions of webpages and content on the web and find the one thing that a user needs or wants to find, and that’s a task that would be impossible for even a gigantic group of human editors to accomplish (although Google does use small teams of humans to check link quality). That’s why Yahoo stopped trying to run a human-edited directory.

Facebook, by contrast, isn’t trying to filter all of the world’s information—or at least, not yet. It’s trying to find the right combination of text and photos and links and video that will appeal to every one of its billions of users, and get them to engage with the site as much as possible. So unlike Google, the supply of information it is trying to filter may not be infinite, but the personalization of that content for each of its users involves so many permutations and combinations that it would also be almost impossible to accomplish with a staff of human editors, even a large one.

“Google is seeking the single best answer to a direct query from an effectively infinite number of data points… For most queries there is one right answer that Google will return to anyone who searches for the term in question. In short, the data set is infinite (which means no human is capable of doing the job), but the target is finite. Facebook, on the other hand, creates a unique news feed for all of its 1.44 billion users… what is infinite are the number of targets.”

The news, by contrast, is something where human editors can perform a fairly useful function, and even add things that algorithms can’t, Thompson says (which is one reason why Techmeme founder Gabe Riverastopped using only algorithms to power his news portal in 2008, and started hiring human beings). The pool of information isn’t infinite, as it is with Google, but neither is the personalization required for the potential audience, as it is with Facebook. That’s why newspapers existed.

As Thompson notes, however, the risk is that human-edited services face—rightly or wrongly—much more criticism when they make decisions about what to show and what not to show than algorithm-powered networks. So Facebook and Google can to some extent argue that they don’t control what gets displayed directly, it’s just the algorithm (although there are a lot of problems with this defense, obviously).

If Apple’s human editors remove news stories about specific topics, there’s going to be a lot of negative attention. What journalistic considerations—if any—do platforms like Apple and Snapchat and Twitter have when it comes to the news? As distribution shifts to these large-scale networks, those kinds of questions are going to become even more important.