💻 The Google Docs conundrum


May 20, 2021

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The Hustle

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The big idea
Google Docs

Google is writing up a new playbook for Google Docs

In 2018, Google dropped jaws at its keynote event when its human-like AI software booked a haircut and meal via phone call.

Innovations like that are hard to beat, but the tech giant is taking some swings.

This week, Google held its 1st keynote I/O event since 2019

The company said there are now 3B active Android devices, up from 2B in 2017.

Other notable announcements included:

  • A Google-Samsung Wear OS partnership to build a unified smartwatch platform (to take on you-know-who)
  • 3D video calling booths that offer a lifelike video experience

Google made it clear it’s also looking to turn Workspace (formerly G Suite) into the all-in-one, interconnected workstation for professionals.

To do that, Google Docs is getting a new set of wheels

New features include:

  • Grab bag updates like emoji reactions, timelines in Google Sheets, and pageless views that replace the classic 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper
  • Assisted writing features to identify offensive or wordy language
  • Smart chips (interactive, insertable smart objects) that link to other docs, sheets, contacts, or meetings

But Docs also happens to be in a slight pickle

Per tech analyst Casey Newton, Google Docs is fighting a two-front war, bowing to the needs of legacy Microsoft Office users on one end, and keeping pace with new players on the other.

Some of these newbies include Coda (valued at $600m), Notion (valued at $2B), and Airtable (valued at $5.77B).

Google’s balancing act and massive scale make it hard to innovate, and it’s getting beat as a result, per Newton.

Still, with 2B+ Drive users, it’s probably safe to say Google has some time to flesh things out.

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Retail Tech
deepfake

Can deepfakes make dubbed shows look better?

Do you like foreign language films?

But hate bad dubs?

Meet your savior: London-based AI startup Flawless says its deepfake tech can make translated films look more natural.

No matter how good a translation is…

… actors’ lips are usually out of sync. Flawless fixes this by creating mouth movements that match the spoken translation, then slapping them over the original image.

The startup’s co-founder Nick Lynes tells The Verge that this process retains the original style and performance. Though the end result isn’t 100% perfect, it’s pretty close. And Flawless says it can offer it quickly, cheaply, and in any language.

It’s also easier than a complete do-over, like “Metástasis,” the Colombian telenovela-style remake of “Breaking Bad” that doesn’t exactly replicate the performance that won Bryan Cranston 4 Emmys.

But don’t people hate dubs?

Critics and fans have waged the sub vs. dub war for ages, with many saying they prefer the authenticity of subtitles.

But while subtitles help those who are deaf or hard of hearing, dubbing helps those who are blind or have low vision. And as it turns out…

Netflix is about that dub life

The streaming giant found that people were more likely to watch a dubbed show than one with subtitles, which is why its made the dubbed version the default.

The company is now working with 170+ studios worldwide that offer dubs in 34+ languages, per Bloomberg. In fact, its No. 1 show (“Lupin”) this quarter is a French-dubbed work.

Now please enjoy “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” in 14 languages.

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Free Resource

3 million people used Zoom in 2013. In 2021 – more than 200 million.

No one can deny that WFH and “yes, you still need actual pants for the company’s virtual happy hour” helped boost Zoom’s bottom line.

What’s not talked about is all the crazy growth they had leading up to the pandemic.

Besides investing in customer service and creating a product that can sell itself, Zoom really capitalized on the one basic skill any company needs to grow.

Organization.

Without it, you could have the best product on the market and still fail due to all those nitty gritty details.

Outline your company’s growth plan with this free, master template from HubSpot

Maybe you need to track employee headcount, or you’re adding in a new product or service. Whatever it is, you’ll need a corporate growth plan to keep organized.

Hubspot lays it all out in this template:

  • Sales and revenue growth. Heck ya.
  • Expanding into new regions
  • Growth in customer acquisition rates. Don’t want it – need it.
  • Employee headcount growth
  • Expanding your physical space

Save yourself the headaches. Try out the template.

Free access →
Food Tech
Oatly milk

IP-Oatly: The oat milk startup preps for a $10B public debut

Oatly’s cutesy bus stop and billboard ads declaring it “milk for humans” are everywhere. People hated CEO Toni Petersson’s odd Super Bowl 55 “wow, no cow” jingle, but it made for a great conversation starter.

Now, the Swedish company is set to go public, seeking a valuation of $10B.

Founded by brothers Rickard and Bjorn Oste in 1994…

Oatly’s plant-based dairy alternatives have grown in popularity over the past few years. Not only is it now Starbucks’ preferred oat milk, but The New York Times reports that sales shot up from $204m in 2019 to $420m in 2020.

However, Oatly also reported a $60m loss due to investing in new facilities, products, and yes, more advertising. Oatly also makes vegan yogurts, soft serve, and a “frozen dessert” that’s not technically ice cream.

Fans of the product include vegans, the lactose-intolerant, and people trying to reduce their carbon footprint (oat milk is more sustainable than coconut or almond milk).

It’s good… but is it good for you?

Writer Jeff Nobbs compared Oatly’s impact on blood sugar to sipping on Coca-Cola because the process that makes oats into milk turns complex starches into sugar.

But GQ points out that’s not exactly true, in part because Coke has no nutrients.

Their conclusion? If you’re not chugging a ton of oat milk every day, you’re probably fine.

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A wild day for Bitcoin (Source: Coindesk)

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