The Department of Product
Google Docs’ Grammarly clone and Salesforce margins improve
Hi product people 👋,
It’s hard to imagine now but Grammarly actually started life as a B2B tool with little competition, sold directly to universities. With the profits from over 250+ universities, the company was reportedly making $10 million in revenue a year, just 3 years after it was founded. Now, it faces one of its most potent threats in its history thanks to the launch of a new feature from Google Docs. Proofread is a new grammar tool which builds upon Docs’ existing set of capabilities in a new sidebar that features writing suggestions, sentence splitting and active voice help. The feature is currently only available to enterprise customers but could be more widely rolled out if successful.
Other new features worth knowing about this week include the launch of a new conversational AI tool from Sprig. If you’ve not heard of Sprig before, they’re a five year old startup that builds survey tools for product teams. The new conversational feature allows users to ask Sprig questions about users’ survey response data. It sounds useful in theory, and is no doubt powered by some impressive tech, but there’s still lingering questions over how widely adopted conversational UI will become.
Meanwhile, after cutting roughly 10% of its workforce, Salesforce reported a strong quarterly earnings. Revenues were up 22% year on year to $7.72 billion and the company said that new product features will be announced at their annual conference in September. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield left the company in December 2022 following rumours of a rift and the company recently rolled out a divisive new Slack redesign.
Speaking of Slack’s former employees, the company’s former head of growth, Merci Grace, has been busy building a startup of her own. Panobi is a growth platform for product teams designed to help measure core metrics like DAUs and MAUs by connecting directly to data warehouses. Its unique offering though, is that it not only helps teams measure metrics, but share them too. You can check it out in action here.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Essential reads for product teams
When choosing the color of fonts in dark mode, use one color with different levels of opacity. This allows you to accommodate different background colors throughout the interface. Using one color consistently at 100% opacity (such as a light gray) will look good on some backgrounds, and poor on others. (NN Group)
Technical explainers – What is web scraping?
Web scraping plays a role in many of the tools we use on a daily basis. From Google getting the information they need to make their search engine work, to AI companies (e.g. ChatGPT) collecting web data to train their models. (Technically)
Tools you can use
Todo Cap – a single place to capture all your to dos
DocsWrite – convert Google Docs to HTML
HeyDay – a memory assistant that resurfaces content you browse
xTiles – a visual workspace for ideas and projects
Strategy – Why a ‘worse’ product strategy can still win
An objectively “worse” strategy can win, if it leverages something unique or unexpected. Startups can use this concept to beat incumbents. (A Smart Bear)
Case studies – How Twilio approaches CustomerAI
CustomerAI starts with its foundations in trust and the commitment that all of your data is yours. While privacy concerns have come to the forefront with AI, Twilio has always taken data privacy seriously. (Twilio Blog)
Podcast – Quantum computing explained
The Financial Times hosts a panel of experts to explore quantum computing, practical use cases and what it means for the future of tech
New product features, launches and announcements this week
Microsoft is doing what few product-led companies have the confidence to do: removing less-used features. Edge is ditching Math Solver, Picture Dictionary, Citations, Grammar Tools, and Kids Mode from the Chromium based browser. And if you’ve never heard of these features, that’s an indication Microsoft has probably made the right decision.
OpenAI has launched ChatGPT enterprise. The enterprise version includes longer context windows for inputs, advanced data analysis capabilities and customization options.
YouTube Music is getting a live lyrics feature which will automatically scroll lyrics as you listen. A new experimental feature is also in development that will allow users to search for a song by humming it.
Google Maps has launched three new APIs designed to boost sustainability. The new APIs include a Solar, designed to help measure solar energy panels, Air Quality for tracking pollution and Pollen to help measure common allergens producing planets.
DoorDash has introduced AI-powered voice ordering that answers calls and provides customers with curated recommendations. According to a recent DoorDash report, 1 in 5 consumers prefer to order by phone.
📈 Product data and trends to stay informed
OnlyFans saw the number of creators rise 47% to 3.2 million last year. Registered users also surged 27% to 238 million with revenues of $1.09 billion.
Analysts estimate that up to 90% of online content may be AI generated by 2026 according to a new report by European policing agency Europol. Full report on the challenges posed by deepfakes.
Tinder says the number of UK-based Gen Z women switching to a paid plan jumped 73% since the April launch of paid subscriptions.
Ecommerce live streamers are facing a crackdown in China for undercutting retailers. Over 1.2 million livestreamers now broadcast to 800 million users and the livestream ecommerce market has exploded. Wholesale markets have responded by banning them from entering their premises.
Travel app installs have exceeded pre-pandemic levels with a 8% rise in 2022 and 5% rise in H1 2023. Engagement is higher, too, with sessions increasing 13% year on year.
Tech leadership updates
Snap has appointed Google Pay’s Pulkit Trivedi as India’s new country head.
Nvidia’s CEO says there is no chip shortage and that supply will increase for the next year, cementing its position as the world’s most valuable chip maker.
Notion Q&A, Amazon Maps and Hallucination rates
Plus: WhatsApp expands, SaaS product benchmarks, Gmail transforms email, how to assess a job offer with equity
GPTs for everything, Google Maps gets Immersive, Netflix’s QR codes
Plus: Slack’s CEO exits, How to use conjoint analysis, a new tool for reading API documentation
Google Slides’ superpowers, a Sublime second brain, Pinterest’s PMF
Plus: Tech salary report, how to manage API integrations, Spotify, Instagram and LinkedIn MAUs in context
Discord monetization strategies, Slack ditches X, Spotify growth
Plus: 50+ product analytics tools, Microsoft impresses, Google Meet gets appearance enhancers
Netflix’s $8 billion quarter, Figma in limbo, Synthetic UX research. Plus: YouTube’s major release, a new way to manage your calendar, the Web Technologies Report 2023
Freemium fallacies, Shopify AR, Space OS. Plus: Instagram Threads says no to news, Spotify on managing 500+ squads, Dropbox’s CEO defends remote work
Google Docs’ new competitor, AI wars, App industry benchmarks
Plus: Airbnb’s ML patent, DoorDash’s swipe for restaurants and Uber expands to returns
Spotify’s voice clones, Apple’s new patent, surge pricing surges
Plus: Snapchat’s subscriber milestone, a GA4 alternative, DALL-E 3
Google Bard Extensions and TimeOS
Plus: Slides gets indicators, WhatsApp payments expand, Fitbit’s makeover
Uber’s secret task rabbit and DuoLingo’s new Music app
Plus: Retool AI, permissions simplified, Meta’s powerful new LLM