from Pradodesign Why Facebook Enlisted This Research Lab to Track Its Trolls What can the 14-person Digital Forensics Research Lab discover about fake news on Facebook that the billion-dollar company doesn’t already know? https://ift.tt/2MuVR7q https://ift.tt/1P9I4xH
from Pradodesign ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Changes Nothing About Rom-Coms, and Everything About Movies Jon H. Chu’s posh extravaganza is a movie of communal heart and necessary firsts. https://ift.tt/2wbZbKw https://ift.tt/1P9I4xH
from Pradodesign Snails Occupy Miniature Sets Built by Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland
Creative duo Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland build elaborate miniature sets occupied by small, slimy actors. The environments are laced with suburban nostalgia, which feature perfectly manicured lawns, plastic-coated furniture, and messy teen bedrooms littered with snack wrappers and tiny video game consoles.
The pair’s collaborative worlds are used for still images and short films. Murawski’s favorite part of shooting with snails is seeing how they interact with their sets, while also learning how to specifically direct the slow moving creatures, she explains on her Instagram. One way she and Copeland inspire certain movements while filming is by positioning cucumbers behind the sets’ tiny objects, which encourages their subjects to inch towards the hidden vegetables. The duo used this technique in their recent music video project for Bully, in which they built out an entire neighborhood and house set to outline a day-in-the-life of an extra sluggish snail.
For more slime-centered work, including this video of a motorcycle-riding snail, visit Murawski’s Instagram. You can purchase posters of the collaborative photographs on Big Cartel. (via It’s Nice That)
from Pradodesign Google releases a searchable database of US political ads
In an effort to provide more transparency and deliver on a promise to Congress, Google just published an archive of political ads that have run on its platform.
Google new database, which it calls the Ad Library, is searchable through a dedicated launch page. Anyone can search for and filter ads, viewing them by candidate name or advertiser, spend, the dates the ads were live, impressions and type. For anyone looking for the biggest ad budget or the farthest reaching political ad, the ads can be sorted by spend, impressions and recency as well. Google also provided a report on the data, showing ad spend by US state, by advertiser and by top keywords.
The company added a bit of context around its other recent ad transparency efforts:
“Earlier this year, we took important steps to increase transparency in political advertising. We implemented new requirements for any advertiser purchasing election ads on Google in the U.S.—these advertisers now have to provide a government-issued ID and other key information that confirms they are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, as required by law. We also required that election ads incorporate a clear “paid for by” disclosure.”
The search features are pretty handy, but a few things are missing. While Google’s database does collect candidate ads in the US it does not include issue ads — broader campaigns meant to influence public thought around a specific political topic — nor does it collect state or local ads. The ads are all US-only, so elections elsewhere won’t show up in here either. Google says that it is collaborating with experts on potential tools that “capture a wider range of political ads” but it gave no timeline for that work. For now, ads that the tool does capture will be added into the library on a weekly basis.
from Pradodesign Uber reports Q2 losses of $404 million, up 32 percent from Q1
While Uber isn’t required to disclose its financial results, Uber has done so for past few quarters as it gears up to go public next year. In Q2 2018, Uber’s net revenue was up 8 percent quarter over quarter at $2.7 billion. Year over year, that’s a 51 percent increase.
Uber recorded gross bookings — the total taken for all of Uber’s transportation services — of $12 billion, a six percent quarter over quarter increase and a 41 percent year over year increase. But while Uber’s gross bookings increased, so did its losses. In Q2, Uber had adjusted EBITDA losses of $404 million compared to $304 million in losses in Q1.
Uber’s losses added up given its investments in Eats, India, the Middle East, bikes and scooters. This quarter, Uber expanded Eats into a number of new cities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, acquired food delivery startup Ando, announced its expansion of JUMP bikes into Europe and made its scooter ambitions official.
Other key stats for Uber’s Q2 2018:
Adjusted EBITDA margin: 3.4 percent of gross bookings (in Q2′ 17, that was 6.3 percent)
Gross cash: $7.3 billion (+1 billion quarter over quarter)
“We had another great quarter, continuing to grow at an impressive rate for a business of our scale,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. “Going forward, we’re deliberately investing in the future of our platform: big bets like Uber Eats; congestion and environmentally friendly modes of transport like Express Pool, e-bikes and scooters; emerging businesses like Freight; and high-potential markets in the Middle East and India where we are cementing our leadership position.”
While Uber technically had a good quarter, it doesn’t mean that all is well. Regarding Uber’s self-driving car efforts, the company has spent between $125 million and $200 million a quarter over the last 18 months, The Information reports. According to The Information’s sources, some of Uber’s investors are urging the company to get rid of its self-driving car program, which has been the source of many headaches at Uber as of late.
Uber declined to comment on The Information’s reporting.
In March, one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. In the weeks and months following the accident, Uber officially pulled the plug on its self-driving car operations in Arizona and laid off self-driving car operators in San Francisco and Pittsburgh.
As Uber prepares for its 2019 IPO, the name of the game is to reduce losses. In July, Uber shut down its self-driving trucks division. But Uber Freight, which matches drivers with cargo needing to be shipped, is reportedly on track to make $500 million in the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, Uber is aiming to take its ride-hail network into the skies with uberAIR. Uber’s plan is to develop and commercially deploy these air taxis by 2023. But in recent months, Uber has lost two key executives, Head of Policy for Autonomous Vehicles and Urban Aviation Justin Erlich and Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden, who oversaw Uber Elevate, left the company.
Khosrowshahi will be joining us at Disrupt SF in September. You don’t want to miss it.
from Pradodesign Coinbase acquires Distributed Systems to build “Login with Coinbase”
Coinbase wants to be Facebook Connect for crypto. The blockchain giant plans to develop a “login with Coinbase” identity platform for decentralized app developers to make it much easier for users to sign up and connect their crypto wallets. To fuel that platform, today Coinbase announced it has acquired Distributed Systems, a startup founded last year that was building identity standard for dApps called the Clear Protocol.
The five-person Distributed Systems team and its technology will join Coinbase. Three of the team members will work with Coinbase’s Toshi decentralized mobile browser team, while CEO Nikhil Srinivasan and one other co-founder are forming the new decentralized identity team that will work on the “Login with Coinbase” product. They’ll be building it atop the “know your customer” anti-money laundering data Coinbase has on its 20 million customers. Srinivasan tells me the goal is to figure out “How can we allow that really rich identity data to enable a new class of applications?”
Distributed Systems had raised a $1.7 million seed round last year led by Floodgate and was considering raising a $4 million to $8 million round this summer. But Srinivasan says “No one really understood what we’re building”, and it wanted a partner with KYC data. It began talking to Coinbase Ventures about an investment, but after they saw Distributed Systems’ progress and vision, “they quickly tried to move to find a way to acquire us.”
Distributed Systems began to hold acquisition talks, and the CEO tells me it was deciding between going to “Facebook, or Robinhood, or Binance or Coinbase”. Coinbase “were able to convince us they were making big bets, weaving identity across their products.” The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Coinbase’s plan to roll out the “Login with Coinbase” platform is an SDK that others apps could integrate, says Srinivasan. That mimics the way Facebook colonized the web with its SDK and login buttons that splashed its brand in front of tons of new and existing users. This made turned Facebook into a fundamental identity utility beyond its social network.
Developers eager to improve conversions on their sign up flow could turn to Coinbase instead of requiring users to set up whole new accounts and deal with crypto-specific headaches of complicated keys and procedures for connecting their wallet to make payments. One prominent dApp developer told me yesterday that forcing users to set up the MetaMask browser extension for identity was the part of their signup flow where they’re losing the most people.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong confirmed this morning that it’s working on an identity SDK. When Coinbase investor Garry Tan of Initialized Capital wrote that “The main issue preventing dApp adoption is lack of native SDK so you can just download a mobile app and a clean fiat to crypto in one clean UX. Still have to download a browser plugin and transfer Eth to Metamask for now Too much friction”, Armstrong replied “On it :)”
— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) August 15, 2018
In effect, Coinbase and Distributed Systems could build a safer version of identity than we get offline. As soon as you give your social security number to someone or it gets stolen, it can be used anywhere without your consent and that leads to identity theft. Coinbase wants to build a vision of identity where you can connect to decentralized apps while retaining control. “Decentralized identity will let you prove that you own an identity, or that you have a relationship with the Social Security Administration, without making a copy of that identity” writes Coinbase’s PM for identity. “If you stretch your imagination a little further, you can imagine this applying to your photos, social media posts, and maybe one day your passport too.”
Considering Decentralized Systems and Coinbase are following the Facebook playbook, they may soon have competition from the social network. It’s spun up its own blockchain team and an identity and single sign-on platform for dApps is one of the products I think Facebook is most likely to build. But given Coinbase’s strong reputation in the blockchain industry and its massive head start in terms of registered crypto users, today’s acquisition well positions it to be how we connect our offline identity with the rising decentralized economy.
What the Facebook Crypto team could build
from Pradodesign Spotify is falling behind on lyrics and voice
Spotify’s lack of full lyrics support and its minimal attention to voice are beginning to become problems for the streaming service. The company has been so focused on the development of its personalization technology and programming its playlists, it has overlooked key features that its competitors – including Apple, Google, and Amazon – today offer and are now capitalizing on.
For example, in the updated version of Apple Music rolling out this fall with iOS 12, users won’t just have access to lyrics in the app as before, they will also be able to perform searches by lyrics instead of only by the artist, album, or song title.
And Apple Music is actually playing catch up with Amazon on this front.
Amazon Music, which has quietly grown to become the third largest music streaming service, allows users to view the lyrics as songs play, and ties that to its Alexa voice platform. Amazon Music users with an Alexa device can also search for songs by lyrics just by saying “play the song that goes…”.
The company has been offering this capability for close to two years. While it had originally been one of Alexa’s hidden gems, today asking Alexa to pull up a song by its lyrics is considered a standard feature.
Though Google has lagged behind Apple, Spotify and Amazon in music, its clever Google Assistant is capable of search-by-lyrics, too. And as an added perk, it can also work like Shazam to identify a song that’s playing nearby.
With the rise of voice-based computing, features like asking for songs with verbal commands or querying databases of lyrics by voice are now expected features.
And where’s Spotify on this?
It has launched lyrics search only in Japan so far, and refuses to provide a timeline as to when it will make this a priority in other markets. Even tucked away in the app’s code are references to lyrics tests only in the non-U.S. markets of Thailand and Vietnam.
Spotify is testing viewing lyrics within mobile app.
For some reason, the code suggests this feature might be rolled out to Japan, Thailand and Vietnam pic.twitter.com/7fQbIZgR5k
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) June 1, 2018
Those tests have been underway since the beginning of the year, we understand from sources. But the attention being given to these tests is minimal – Spotify isn’t even measuring user engagement with the lyrics feature at this point. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wasn’t even aware his team was working on these lyrics tests, we heard, which implies a lack of management focus on this product.
Meanwhile, competitors like Apple and Amazon have dedicated lyrics teams.
We asked Spotify multiple times if it was currently testing lyrics in the U.S. You can see one person who claims they gained access here, for example. But the company never responded to our questions.
Image credit: Imgur via Reddit user spalatidium
Some Spotify customers who largely listen to popular music may be confused about the lack of a full lyrics product in the app. That’s because Spotify partnered with Genius in 2016 to launch “Behind the Lyrics,” which offers lyrics and music trivia on a portion of its catalog. But you don’t see all the song’s lyrics when the music plays because they’re interrupted with facts and other background information about the song, the lyrics’ meaning, or the artist.
That same year, Spotify also ditched its ties with Musixmatch, which had been providing its lyrics support, as the two companies could no longer come to an agreement. There was expectation from users that lyrics would return at some point – but only “Behind the Lyrics” emerged to fill the void.
Demand for a real lyrics feature remains strong, though. Users regularly post on social media and Reddit about the topic.
Could you make it possible to show the lyrics while playing a song somehow?
Not, that i do not apreciate some trivia, but i would enjoy your App more if i could sing the text right ^^”
— Felycitas Black (@FelycitasBlack) August 15, 2018
Remember when @spotify had a pretty good song lyrics feature but then their third party lyric provider told them to fuck off so they removed it and never bothered to replace it?
— Daria (@imhkr) August 14, 2018
guys shall we open a petition to have back the lyrics on @Spotify? #wewannasingalong
— alessia (@cheekyprofile) August 10, 2018
I miss the days when @Spotify had lyrics available for songs
— Raikar (@Raikar_tv) August 12, 2018
A request for lyrics’ return is also one of the most upvoted product ideas on Spotify’s user feedback forum. It has 9,237 “likes,” making it the second-most popular request.
(The idea has been flagged “Watch this Space,” but it’s been tagged like that for so long it’s no longer a promise of something that’s soon to come.) There is no internal solution in the works, we understand, and it’s not working on a new deal with a third-party at this time.
The lack of lyrics is becoming a problem in other areas, as well, now that competitors are launching search-by-lyrics features that work via voice commands.
In fact, Spotify was late, in general, to address users’ interest in voice assistance – even though a primary use case for music listening is when you’re on the go – like, in the car, out walking or jogging, at the gym, biking, etc.
It only began testing a voice search option this spring, accessible then through a new in-app button. Now rolled out to mobile users on Spotify Premium, the voice search product works via a long-press on the Search button in the app. You can then ask Spotify to play music, playlists, podcasts, and videos.
But the feature is still wonky. For one thing, hiding it away as a long press-triggered option means many users probably don’t know it exists. And secondly, it doesn’t address the primary reason users want to search by voice: hands-free listening.
Meanwhile, iPhone/HomePod users can tell Siri to play music with a hands-free command; Google Assistant/Google Home users can instruct the helper to play their songs – even if they only know the lyrics. And Amazon Music’s Alexa integration is live on Echo speakers, and available hands-free in its Music app.
Even third-party music services like Pandora are tapping into the voice platforms’ capabilities to provide search by lyrics. For example, Pandora Premium launched this week on Google Assistant devices like the Google Home, and offers search-by-lyrics powered by Google Assistant.
Spotify can’t offer search-by-lyrics, much less search-by-lyrics using voice commands, because it doesn’t even have a fully functional lyrics feature.
Voice and lyrics aren’t the only challenges Spotify is facing going forward.
Spotify also lacks dedicated hardware like its own Echo or HomePod. Given the rise of voice-based computing and voice assistants, the company has the potential to cede some portion of the market as consumers end up buying into the larger ecosystems provided by the main tech players: Siri/HomePod/Apple Music vs. Google Assistant/Google Home/Google Play Music (or YouTube Music) vs. Alexa/Echo/Amazon Music (all promoted by Prime).
For now, Spotify works with partners to make sure its service performs on their platforms, but Apple isn’t playing nice in return.
Elsewhere, Spotify may play but won’t be as fully functional as the native solutions. With Spotify as the default service on Echo devices, for example, Alexa can’t always figure out commands that instruct it to play music by lyrics, activity, or mood – commands that work well with Amazon Music, of course.
Other cracks in Spotify’s dominance are starting to show, as well.
Amazon Music has seen impressive growth, thanks to adoption in four key Prime markets, U.S., Japan, Germany and the U.K.. With now 12% of the music streaming market, it has become the dark horse that’s been largely ignored amid discussions of the Amazon vs Spotify battle. But it’s not necessarily one to count out just yet.
YouTube Music, though brand new, has managed to snag Lyor Cohen as its Global Music Head, while Spotify’s latest headlines are about losing Troy Carter.
Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook just announced during the last earnings call that Apple Music has moved ahead of Spotify in North America. He also warned against ceding too much control to algorithms, in a recent interview, making a sensible argument for maintaining music’s “spiritual role” in our lives.
“We worry about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft,” Cook mused.
Apple was late to music streaming, having been so tied to its download business. But it has the luxury of time to get it right, knowing that its powerful iPhone platform offers anything it launches a built-in advantage. (And it’s poised to offer TV shows as a part of its subscription, too.)
Despite these concerns, Spotify doesn’t need to panic yet – it still has more listeners, more paying customers, and more consumer mindshare in the music streaming business. It has its popular playlists and personalization features. It has its RapCaviar. But it will need to plug its holes to keep up where the market is heading, or risk losing customers to the larger platforms in the months ahead.
from Pradodesign Grabb-It wants to turn your car’s window into a trippy video billboard
It reminds me of something out of Blade Runner.
Maybe it’s because it looks a bit futuristic – a bit unreal. Maybe it’s because I’m looking at an ad somewhere I never expected to see one, like the skyscraper-height ads of Ridley Scott’s future.
Grabb-It turns a car’s side rear window into a full color display, playing location-aware ads to anyone who might be standing curbside. They’re currently aiming to work with rideshare/delivery drivers, enabling them to make a bit of extra coin while doing the driving they’re already doing.
As the driver crosses town, the ads can automatically switch to focus on businesses nearby. Near the ball park? It might pitch you on tickets for tonight’s game. Over in The Mission? It could play an ad about happy hour at the bar behind you.
So how’s it work? I couldn’t figure it out at first glance – but once they opened the car door, it all clicked.
The key: projection. It turns your window into a rear projection TV on wheels, of sorts.
Grabb-It applies a material to the inside of a car’s right rear window to act as a projection surface. The material is thin enough that the window can still be opened — but, in what might annoy some passengers, not thin enough that you can see much through it. They mount a small projector inside the car and point it toward the window, blasting an image bright enough to see from the outside. I saw it running in a dim below-ground parking lot and outside in direct sunlight, and the image was surprisingly clear in both cases.
The end result is quite neat to see (which is something I’m really not used to saying about tech meant to show me ads.) Because the projection material is custom cut for each car, the image can cover pretty much the entire surface of the window glass. It gives the illusion of a display custom built for the contours of the car.
It’s meant to only run when the driver is between rides. Once a passenger hops in the car, the projector is shut off – because, well, no one wants a projector blasting light in their face on the way to their next meeting.
While the company is working on its own hardware kit, the build I saw was an early iteration running a small off-the-shelf projector. Even at this stage, it’s a pretty effective demo. While this prototype requires the driver to manually toggle the projector by remote control, Grabb-It’s founders tell me their eventual hardware will automatically detect when the rear doors open and cut the projector on-the-fly. The image juddered a bit as the idling engine vibrated, though that seems like something that could be improved with better dampening.
Grabb-It says they’ll cover the cost of installation for drivers – and if a driver decides to remove it, it’s just a matter of unmounting the projector and peeling the projection material from the window.
The company tells me it’s currently testing with around 25 drivers around San Francisco, with earnouts working out to around $300 a month for those driving 40 hours a week. It’s not enough to pay the bills on its own, but it’s a solid chunk of change for something that will, if all goes to plan, be entirely automated.
Grabb-It is part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2018 class, and has raised around $100k outside of YC.
from Pradodesign Turkish President Erdogan calls for boycott of US tech
Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a boycott of all US technology during a speech in the country’s capital city of Ankara.
“Every product that we buy in foreign currency from outside, we will produce them here and sell abroad,” said Erdogan during the speech. “We will boycott the electronics products of the U.S.”
Erodagan continued to suggest that for every Apple iPhone Turkish citizens could use a Korean Samsung phone instead. An ironic statement given the importance the iPhone had in helping him quell a military coup in the country in 2016 that sought to remove him from power. In what became a swiftly ended (though still deadly with over 200 casualties) coup, Erodagan used Facetime to call his supporters to the streets.
This announcement follows a tense week in Turkey where the country’s currency, the lira, fell more than 25 percent according the New York Times. As the country struggles with increasing economic turmoil on its own soil, it continues to butt heads with the Trump administration as well.
Despite their history as allies, diplomatic tensions between the two countries have been rising this past year. Last fall, a visa ban between the two was enacted following the arrests of two US mission staff in Turkey for suspected connections to the 2016 coup. While the visa ban was lifted in late December, this summer diplomatic tensions have continued to rise over the detention of a US pastor in the country for alleged connections to the same coup.
Last week, Trump announced an increase in tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium in a tweet saying:
I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!
In addition to its tech boycott, Turkey also retaliated yesterday with its own increased tariffs on US goods, including cars and alcohol.
from Pradodesign LinkedIn to relaunch Groups in the flagship app as it looks to reverse ‘ghost town’ image
LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned social networking platform for the working world with over 500 million users, is making a significant change as it continues to look for ways to make its platform more useful (and used).
The company is relaunching Groups by rolling it into its main app by the end of the month after quietly pulling the standalone app earlier this year, and it will be streamlining the service by cutting out several features, including an ability for Group administrators to pre-moderate comments; and a way to email send Group posts as emails to the whole group, while also adding in new features like threaded replies and the ability to post video and other media.
An announcement detailing the changes was sent out to a select Groups power users earlier today, and we have confirmed the details with LinkedIn directly. Mitali Pattnaik, the product manager for Groups, said that some of the discontinuations — such as the ability to approve posts before they are live — are temporary and will make their way back to the app in some form over time.
The moves come nearly three years after LinkedIn tried another approach to put some more wind into Groups’ sails. In 2015, the company hived off an updated version of Groups into its own standalone app.
Included in the changes, Groups were made private with the aim of reducing some of the spam that people were posting. The bigger idea was that, with some 2 million Groups already on LinkedIn, users would be able to dedicate more time to posting, reading and managing (if they were admins) those groups, and creating new groups, once they were in their own app. And on the part of LinkedIn, it would help the company focus on developing features specifically tailored to the Groups experience.
But the move did not go down well. In the wake of the changes, reports started to surface about how the moves stifled usage of groups, turning the platform into what some were calling a ghost town. And LinkedIn itself, it seems, was finding it a challenge to continue updating the app, even as LinkedIn itself was getting enhanced with new features.
“Being a standalone app, Groups was not able to take advantage of the overall LinkedIn ecosystem,” Pattnaik said. “Everything from the news feed to notifications to search, these things move at a fast pace, and the minute the apps got separated the main app innovated at a much faster pace and became more advanced than the standalone Groups app.”
LinkedIn then quietly pulled the Groups app in February this year, as it announced plans to integrate the feature.
It’s not clear what kind of impact the last three years have had on the product. These days company does not comment on how many groups there are, nor how much they are used, except to say that there are “over 2 million” and that more than half of all LinkedIn members are at least in one group. (The person who oversaw Groups’ move to becoming a standalone app is also no longer at the company.) LinkedIn’s main app, on the other hand, has seen session time rise by 41 percent year-on-year, “growing consecutively for several quarters.”
The removal of the standalone app is in line with how another social network has evolved its own Group effort. Almost exactly a year ago, Facebook announced that it too was killing off its Groups app so that it could integrate the feature closer with the core app experience. In both the case of LinkedIn and Facebook, the idea is somewhat the same: while we have our wider networks of friends and Pages that we follow on both platforms, sometimes there is value in communities that are focused around more specific interests, and ultimately, that might turn out to be the lever that brings more people in and out of using the main service.
On a product iteration level, it seems that LinkedIn is not the only one that found it hard to keep up with changes across two platforms that essentially rested of many of the same mechanics.
As part of being rebuilt on LinkedIn’s platform, Groups will be getting a number of new features — essentially tapping into new features that LinkedIn has rolled out over the last several quarters on its own app but hadn’t built for the (previously standalone) Groups platform.
For starters, conversations taking place in Groups will now appear in-stream on the LinkedIn feed, rather than in a separate tab. When group members are replying to posts, there will now be threaded replies, which will let people respond directly to comments within the thread.
Groups are also going to have a rich media infusion: users will be able to edit posts and share videos and other non-text formats. This is a very long overdue feature, considering how central video and rich media like GIFs have been on other platforms in getting people engaged in a service, and also considering that LinkedIn’s been showing video in its feed for a while now. “Since video launched on LinkedIn, Groups have been asking for this,” she said.
It also looks like LinkedIn will also be pushing a lot more Group activity into your notifications tab, while alongside this, it’s sunsetting the e-mail blast. That might not be such a bad thing: while it did help admins get information out (especially when Groups updates were essentially hidden from the average LinkedIn user), Pattnaik admitted that the email feature “can be abused” by those simply looking to promote themselves.
Admins are also getting a few new controls. They will be able to pin important items to the top of a Groups’ individual feed, and Pattnaik said that LinkedIn is working on a way to collapse those pinned notifications after they’ve been viewed by the member so that they don’t continue to take up space. They will also be able to approve and remove members by way of the app, as well as send out messages when necessary.
LinkedIn, it seems, hopes that people will be able to use the LinkedIn app to discover more Groups that they can join — when Groups choose to have themselves “listed” and discoverable — but one thing that won’t be changing with the new version is that those users will still have to get permission from admins before they can join.
While Groups have a lot in common with how groups of employees might communicate using a messaging app like Slack (or stablemate Yammer, or Facebook’s Workplace) LinkedIn says that it has no plans at the moment to develop Groups into something that could be used in this way.
The reason for this, Pattnaik says, is that for the moment LinkedIn isn’t focused on developing a way to verify whether a person is actually an employee at a particular company. “We are always evaluating ways to verify identity across the site, such as verification processes to help detect fake profiles,” a spokesperson said. It has made some small steps in building products for company-only teams, however, for example Elevate to share content among coworkers.
In the meantime, the company is also continuing to develop other products beyond the main app. Just today, Sales Navigator got a quarterly refresh with more tools to update on deals, stronger integration with CRM apps and more.