Facebook and Google are rolling out new products

Facebook has a new AR wristband product, while Google is launching YouTube Shorts.

March 22, 2021

On the mark (Source: Facebook / The Verge)

Facebook is an $800B+ company. Alphabet is a $1.3T+ company.

To keep moving the needle on valuations, these Big Tech players — both facing antitrust cases (FB, GOOGL) — need to continuously roll out new products.

And last week, roll out they did. A few major announcements:

Facebook’s AR wristbands

In 2019, Facebook acquired CTRL-Labs — a startup that creates wristbands that let users control augmented reality (AR) interfaces with hand gestures —  for a reported $500m to $1B.

The social media giant revealed more details on how it’s integrating the wristbands into its mixed-reality efforts, which already include the fast-selling Oculus VR headset.

(Separately, Facebook is creating an Instagram for under-13s. 🤷)

YouTube apes TikTok

Instagram (with Reels) and Snap (with Spotlight) have both emulated TikTok’s popular short-form video format. Now, it’s Google’s turn.

The search giant’s massive video arm (YouTube) has started rolling out its TikTok-inspired Shorts product. YouTube is already dominant for mobile streaming, accounting for 7 out of every 10 mobile streaming minutes viewed globally.

It’s not clear that people who go to YouTube to watch flat-earth conspiracies sports highlights want to watch short TikTok-type videos on the app, though. Time will tell.

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