Sign up for What's Appening - your weekly tech roundup!
What's Appening_

Play Your Bards Right 🔍 🤖




May 16, 2023



In this week’s What’s Appening, we cover the news from Google’s I/O 2023 event. Sure, there were new phones and tablets showcased at the event, but the real story is what Google is doing with AI. We got a revamped Bard, as well as a generative AI search engine, but has Google done enough to catch up with Microsoft and ChatGPT? The initial signs are good, but can Google really maintain their massive ad revenue while baking in the tools that threaten it. In other news this week, we look at the new Twitter CEO and what it means for the embattled social media platform. We also have an intriguing story on Amazon Anywhere, the service that lets you buy physical goods in virtual worlds. Our Stat of the Week is great news for anyone looking to build an app. And What’s dAppening focuses on Worldcoin, the cryptocurrency project from OpenAI’s Sam Altman.

What's Appening is brought to you by 3Advance, the product development team that eats, sleeps and breathes apps. Not diggin' the apps? You can opt-out below. Forwarding to a friend? Please do 🙏. They can subscribe here or y’all can watch our video episodes on YouTube 📺️.

Takes 🎬️

🔍 🤖 Google – I/O 2023 Event Puts Focus on Google’s Future with AI

Google I/O – the annual event where Google launches new products and ideas – certainly had an AI flavor this year. There was a sense that Google had to get things right in its AI presentations, not least due to its search engine hegemony being threatened by an AI-powered Bing. And, yeah, it seems Google has picked itself off the canvas and got back into the fight, particularly with its upgrades to Bard (Google’s ChatGPT rival) and Google Search. Admittedly, we joined in the ridicule when Bard had that disastrous launch several weeks back, but nobody should really underestimate Google’s strength in AI (Generative AI included). Google has spent many billions in AI research, yet has been just reluctant to move forward with public-facing products. ChatGPT forced the company to act. Bard is now built on the more powerful PaLM 2 large language model, and there are several ways the chatbot exceeds ChatGPT, including scope, real-time internet access, languages, and coding. Interestingly, most reviewers claim ChatGPT is a better ‘writer’ and summarizer than Bard, but the revamped chatbot clearly puts Google back in the race. Of course, Google also had to address its most recognizable product, its search engine. Search has been upgraded with generative AI, providing summaries and intuitive answers to queries in real-time. It doesn’t quite have the ‘personality’ of Bing/ChatGPT when giving those answers, and there is a sense that Google is being somewhat cautious. That’s understandable after all. Generative AI seriously threatens Google’s core business – Ads. #BardsBack Read more here.

🐥 🆕 Twitter – Linda Yaccarino Is the Chosen One as New CEO

Elon Musk announced that Linda Yaccarino, a former media executive who was (among other things) seen as integral to the launch of streaming service Peacock, would succeed him as CEO of X Corp (the holding company for Twitter). Yaccarino will take the helm in around six weeks, with Musk staying on as CTO. The question, of course, is whether the appointment changes anything. Musk has confirmed that it will allow him to spend more time looking after Tesla and sending rockets into space, but we shouldn’t expect too much deviation from Musk’s policies or input. He’s still the owner, and that’s what’s going to count. Yaccarino will undoubtedly bring experience and savviness to the role, though, and Musk pointed to the fact that she has been criticized by both liberals and conservatives as proof that she’s the correct woman for the job. She has a tough task ahead of her, both in making Twitter profitable and ensuring that her eccentric – and often controversial – employer does not become a liability. #NewChiefTwit Read more here.

🎮 🛍️ Amazon – A Glimpse of AR Shopping Future with Amazon Anywhere

Have you ever suddenly wanted to buy a T-shirt or pair of shoes while playing your favorite video game? No? Well, Amazon thinks you might soon be tempted. The retail giant has launched Amazon Anywhere, a kind of in-game shopping experience allowing you to buy physical goods without closing down the game. Its first partnership is with Peridot, the new AR game created by Niantic (of Pokémon Go fame). The idea is that you can seamlessly purchase game-related physical items (such as branded clothes), then check out without needing to switch to the Amazon app. Amazon was keen to stress how revolutionary the idea is, claiming that games have always been limited to virtual items. It makes a lot of sense as a metaverse-like shopping experience, although you wonder how the lines are blurred between ‘convenience’ and ‘game-interrupting advertising’. Of course, Amazon Anywhere will only be as strong as its partnerships, but it looks like it’s made a strong start with Peridot, with the promise of more to come. #AmazonAnywhere Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: 71% Rise

📱 📈 Apps – Small Developers See App Store Revenues Rise by 71% in 2 Years

Apple released the findings of an independent study that showed small developers – apps with less than $1 million in annual earnings – saw revenues rise by 71% on average from 2020 to 2022. The study was packed full of good news for small businesses with big dreams of launching an app, including the fact that 40% of apps earning over $1 million per year were either not listed on the App Store or earning less than $10,000 within the last five years. Much has been made about Apple’s fee cut for small developers, reduced from 30% to 15% in 2020. Clearly, this had an impact on the revenue explosion for small businesses on the App Store. Good news all around in this study. And if you think your business would benefit from an app, well, you know who to talk to about making that a reality. #AppStats Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

👁️ 🌍 Crypto – OpenAI Founder Wants to Scan Your Eyes for Worldcoin Tokens

Oh boy, where do we start with the story of Worldcoin? The cryptocurrency project is the brainchild of Sam Altman, better known as CEO of OpenAI and the thought leader behind ChatGPT. Altman has been talking about Worldcoin for some time, but the project has been given fresh impetus after a $100 million investment round. The Worldcoin program is both financial and social, aiming to create a global identification system called World ID while also extending financial inclusion through cryptocurrency. Altman’s role in AI is important here, as the concept of World ID is to prove that you are a real human and not a machine (something that is already becoming a pressing issue). To encourage uptake, it seems that free Worldcoin will be issued to those who submit iris scans for biometric identifiers. The initial Worldcoin project will be launched in a few weeks. There is a lot of speculation about it, ranging from Worldcoin being used as a basic income tool for the day we all get replaced by AI to conspiracy theories about global ID systems. Altman’s team is keeping tight-lipped. Worth keeping an eye on this one. #Worldcoin Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

Istruzi, one of our top apps of 2022 just underwent a major upgrade! We’re big on MVPs, and that sometimes this means dropping some ‘nice to have’ features in order to focus on the true value prop - for initial launch. Now the next stage for any founder is to engage and listen to customer feedback, and that’s exactly what Jason Bilotti of Istruzi has been doing. The Istruzi app is targetted towards a very specific audience - elite golf coaches, who can optimize their business and maximize their returns. Istruzi satisfies this with scheduling tools, communications and with this latest update, video analysis. Early customers said this is what they need to reduce tool-fatigue and that inlcuding this within the Istruzi app allows them to drop the standalone, sub-far swing analysis apps out there. We got to work designing the new experience in February, and it went live just a few weeks ago. The latest version of Istruzi has been received superbly by the Istruzi user-base. So, if your golf coach doesn’t use Istruzi already, be sure to recommend they check it out in the App Store. We’re proud to be Istruzi’s design and development team - and cheers to Mark, Matt, Roshan, Jingdi, and Kayne for a successful launch.

📺 Check out the What’s Appening video series + Other Videos!

You can watch other videos and What’s Appening episodes on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or enjoy the bite-size ‘shorts’ on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and then turn on notifications, so you’ll never miss out on what’s appening in tech. We appreciate you tuning in, and we’d love to hear your feedback. Just hit ‘Reply’!