Lyft and Alphabet?

Various sources are reporting that Lyft may receive a significant investment from Alphabet. This would certainly be interesting in the autonomous vehicle space, since Lyft currently works with a variety of other autonomous vehicle companies (Alphabet owns Waymo, one such company). Forbes reports that they currently have five such partnerships. Lyft seems to value partnerships and collaboration, so it will be interesting to see what such a large investor does to the equation. I can imagine cancelling the other partnerships or even forming some sort of autonomous-platform consortium, where they settle on some standards for integration.

I’m also not convinced that Lyft would use the investment just to attract new drivers or enter new markets. Historically, automating a task and using technology eventually becomes more efficient than manual labor, and if Lyft is taking the long view, they would be better off investing the $1 billion into developing autonomous vehicle technology rather than burning cash to attract human drivers. Don’t compete head-to-head with Uber over market share for ride-hailing; rather tackle the big problem that will revolutionize the entire transportation industry.

iPhone X and facial recognition

With the release of the iPhone X comes a lot of analysis about the security of FaceID. I have a couple of more mundane usage questions, with the caveat being that I didn’t watch the whole keynote…

  • How does it handle facial accessories:
    • How does it work if I put on my sunglasses? Or readers?
    • What if I normally wear glasses, but get a new frame with a different shape?
    • What if I’m skiing or snowboarding (or pick your winter sport), and wearing my goggles / a ski mask / a scarf, but want to use my phone?
  • What if I get a new ear piercing or nose ring or something?
  • What happens during Halloween?
  • Does facial hair affect it? What if I grow a beard or goatee, or even just get some stubble? What will happen to Movember??

I think these questions are similar to the wrist tattoo interference problems with the original iWatch, where real-world corner cases were not tested before product release. It will be interesting to see what kinds of real-world challenges FaceID encounters or handles well.