A big week for Amazon, and more in Do Not Read Until Monday

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New products, features and stores: A big week for Amazon

Amazon went on a bit of a tear this week, with major announcements across a number of its lines of business. At a glance, tech media seemed to be stuck on the “Alexa Microwave”. (Also, “baked in” does not work here, TNW editor.) It may be personal bias here, but the fact it’s launching several home stereo components seems a bit more interesting tbh. Echo devices have not traditionally been known for their playback fidelity, so it’s good to see Amazon amping up for audiophiles. (See, that’s how you do it.)

Also interesting is its entry into cars, with the Echo Auto designed to sit on your dash and listen to vile insults hurled at other drivers. And the most utilitarian of the devices launched would have to be the Smart Plug, which you could probably guess the functionality of, but I’ll confirm allows you to control plugged-in devices with Alexa.

That’s not where the news stopped either. Hot on the heels of the announcement of an Amazon Go store (think Bodega with better PR) in New York, it looks like Chicago will get one as well. Rumor has it the pizza won’t be as good though.

While this still means only a few of the stores exist, Amazon’s aspirations are big: 3,000 stores by 2021.

Meanwhile, back to its bread-and-butter, its online Marketplace launched a section for small businesses called Storefronts, and now has a recommendation feature called Scout where you can rate items and get better shopping suggestions.

 

A series of seemingly unrelated news items about Instagram (Slight Return)

Since Facebook can’t seem to do anything right these days, it feels like the company’s focusing on the not-yet-hated Instagram. For example, though it had two years to prepare, Facebook’s launching security tools for political campaigns just weeks before the midterms. Clutch Zuckage. It will also have a war room to monitor activity surrounding the U.S. and Brazilian elections, and will be distancing itself from directly helping campaigns.

But hey check out this cute Instagram story encouraging voter registration.

Aside from that, Instagram may be working toward a hashtag-free caption situation, enabling geo-restriction for posts, and either is or isn’t testing the fabled native regram function..

 

Odds + The End

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