Snapchat: Where Are We?

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The app may be on every young person’s phone, but it’s losing money.

When it launched its IPO this year, it raised $3.4b.

But as of January, it’s lost $1.2b. Almost half of that loss was in 2016.

It was growing at 15m new daily users in the first 3 quarters of 2016, but the last quarter had just 5m new users.

Snapchat is trying to make money by employing industry experts, and they will be setting their sights on combating competitors who do basically the same thing as Snapchat — Instagram with Stories and WhatsApp with Status. They will also be trying to win away advertising investment from other platforms.

However, investment in video ads is growing steadily, adding about $5 per year since 2014. Growth expected to increase, and be worth $90m in 2020, up from today’s $75m.

Ricochet, A New Chat App, Aims to Be Even More Secure than Encryption

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The chat app aims to hide even metadata, the graph of its users’ connections and activity (as opposed to just hiding the content of messages).

Ricochet applies Tor-like tech to cloak the user’s device, not just web destinations. Messages also do not use a central server to send messages, so the data does not exist there.

“There’s no record in the cloud somewhere that you ever used it,” John Brooks, the 25-year-old developer said of his app. “It’s all mixed in with everything else happening in Tor. You’re invisible among the crowd.”

Chinese Tech No Longer Just Copycat, Industry Expert Says

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“If you study Chinese products, you can get inspiration,” according to a woman who works for technology investment firm Andreessen Horowitz.

She also works helping U.S. startups learn from Chinese tech.

Connie Chan says Chinese tech is ahead of U.S. tech in everything from livestreaming (worth $5b) to messaging. For example, while Americans almost all use messaging apps daily to communicate, in China they use similar apps (such as WeChat) to pay utilities and traffic tickets, order medications to their door, and get marriage licences.

“I spend so much time teaching people what they can’t see,” she told Wired recently. “It won’t stay invisible for long.”

The idea that Chinese tech is just a copycat of other countries’ is now obsolete, she said.