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Last Week Online #12 – "Digital first" companies are making progress in the offline world

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
3 min read

Facebook is soon to launch its cryptocurrency for WhatsApp users

Rumours about Facebook entering the world of cryptocurrency have been around for months – but it seems like the technology giant is getting closer to launch.

The new cryptocurrency would be integrated with Facebook's WhatsApp messaging platform, allowing WhatsApp users to send electronic cash to friends and family across international borders.

The most popular cryptocurrencies float freely against conventional currencies, leading to high volatility. Facebook is instead planning to peg its currency to a basket of national currencies. An approach that could give the new WhatsApp coin more stability without tying it tightly to any specific country's financial system.

Facebook is just one of several messaging companies that are working on cryptocurrencies. Both Telegram and Signal, two privacy-focused messaging apps, are working separately on cryptocurrencies of their own. These are expected to be more traditional cryptocurrencies not pegged to any currency.

Amazon keeps expanding offline

Amazon is preparing to open a new chain of grocery stores across the United States. These stores will be separate from the Whole Foods chain. The first store is expected to open in Los Angeles by the end of 2019, and Amazon has signed leases for at least two other locations where they plan to open next year.

Apart from not being part of the Whole Foods brand, it’s not clear yet if the new stores will carry the Amazon name or become a brand of its own. The plan is to open “dozens” of these stores in major cities around the US. There might also be an acquisition strategy related to this goal, in which Amazon picks up regional grocery chains.

The product assortment will be different from that of Whole Foods, and the price point will most likely be lower with a mix of groceries, health and beauty products. Apart from Los Angeles, it is likely that San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle and D.C. are likely to see new stores in the foreseeable future.

Facebook will let users clear all data collected by pixels

Facebook will launch a "Clear History" tool - a privacy feature that will remove the ability for advertisers to target as accurately as they currently can. The Clear History feature, was first promised by Facebook when they felt the heat on the back of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It also aligns well with GDPR. It will let users wipe all information Facebook has collected on users through third-party apps and websites - the pixel.

Facebook announced plans to launch the feature just before its developer conference f8 in May 2018. They promised users a feature that will remove all identifying information so that the history of websites and apps users have used won’t be associated with their account anymore.

The social network will continue to provide third-party apps and websites with analytics on an aggregated level, such as information on whether their apps are more popular with men or women in a specific age group. But Facebook says that they can do this without storing the data in a way that’s associated with your account.

Google will display available Lime scooters, bikes and e-bikes in the Google Maps app

Starting this week, you can see nearby Lime scooters, pedal bikes and e-bikes right from the transit tab on Google Maps in over 80 cities around the world. Google Maps can tell you if a Lime vehicle is available, how long it’ll take to walk there, an estimate of how much your ride could cost as well as your total journey time and ETA.

Tool of the week: Supermetrics

Supermetrics automatically imports data from different APIs – Instagram, LikedIn, Facebook Ads, programmatic buys and many many other sources – into either Google Sheets or Google Data Studio. It comes as a plugin for Google Sheets, and as individual connectors for Google Data Studio.

This is both more convenient and less time consuming than manually exporting data to use for analysis, visualisation, report building, and much much more. And the number of data sources they supply just keeps growing.

Another good thing is that you don't need to be a programmer to use it. Supermetrics makes reporting APIs accessible to anyone, it's as simple as that.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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