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Jun 6, 2017 | 3 min read

Economy

This Week in GAFAnomics, June 6th

“This week in GAFAnomics” features top articles from FABERNOVEL’s internal Slack discussions. Read here your weekly dose of curated news about the Network Economy.

Joachim Renaudin

Project Analyst


FABERNOVEL INNOVATE
GAFAnomics [ga-fɑː-nom-iks], noun: A modern, networked, economic system spurred by the eponymic GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) but also encompassing Unicorns, Chinese tech giants and all other companies changing our lives through computer technology

#The week of June 6th

So what happened this week in GAFAnomics ?!

Mary Meeker Internet trends 2017

Extract of Mary Meeker’s Trends slides

 

Every year, Mary Meeker from Kleiner Perkins gives us an overview of the major trends of the Internet. You can find an overview of the best slides here, selected by Techcrunch. Here’s a short selection of what caught our attention at FABERNOVEL:

  • Tech companies rule the market cap leaderboard: GAFAM compose the top 5, and tech companies make up 40% of the top 20
  • 2017 is the year global internet ad spend outranks global TV ad spend, driven by the growth of mobile (now the 1st advertising channel) and controlled by the Google-Facebook duopoly
  • The growth of e-commerce, and especially Amazon is killing brick and mortar retail chains: 2017 will see a record of retail shop closings in the US
  • China is catching up fast on the internet revolution
    • Mobile payment grows exponentially in China as mobile population reaches 700M users
    • China now sees more on-demand car and bike trips than all other countries combined!

 

The camera is the new keyboard

Source: Business Intelligence

Since last month, Facebook’s four major apps, Whatsapp, Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook itself, have become “camera-first” apps. The company launched stories, augmented reality lenses or invites you to take and share photos or videos directly from your app rather than using the default camera application of your smartphone. The camera is now at the center of most popular messaging apps. But why? One reason is that users increasingly like to share photos and videos, and companies want to boost interaction. A more long term reason is that these companies believe that live video and augmented reality are the next big platforms. You’ll use your snapchat augmented reality lenses not only to share funny pictures with friends, but also to discover products, exchange with brands or shop online! The camera is the new keyboard.

 

Facebook is broken

“The trouble with the Internet is that it rewards extremes. Say you’re driving down the road and see a car crash. Of course you look. Everyone looks. The Internet interprets behavior like this to mean everyone is asking for car crashes, so it tries to supply them”. Ev Williams, founder of blogging platform Medium explains why he thinks that Facebook is broken. The platform’s news feed rewards engagement, which means that if you read/like a post from a particular user, the more its posts will be shown to you. This focus on engagement selects the most shocking /viral content, including fake news, in an endless feedback loop.

You may say that this already existed in the pre-digital era, with paparazzis, shocking headlines and Tabloids, but the scale of the Facebook network and the time people spend on it is unprecedented. Zuckerberg recently stated that fixing fake news was one of its top priorities. It sure is, but as long as engagement remains the core metric of Facebook’s business model, it will be hard to stop the spread of Fake news on everyone’s news feed.

 

Google wants to clean up the web

Last week Google confirmed that in 2018 its Chrome browser will include an adblock feature. The default ad blocker will block “unacceptable ads”, a standard created by  the Coalition for Better Ads, which rejects intrusive ads that automatically play with sound, flashing ads, and ads displayed on the whole screen for example. But why would Google kill part of its business by blocking ads? It says that its motivation is to clean up the web, and that consumers and publishers will have an improved surfing experience and therefore stop using other adblockers. By building its own ad blocker, Google will be able to control what type of ads users can see… and obviously make sure that users don’t use adblockers on Google’s own galaxy of websites.

 

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