Amazon Ring is the new neighborhood watch

Thursday, August 29, 2019 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

"This is nothing — I just installed an Amazon Ring at my condo"

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1. Amazon's Ring security cameras team up with 400 police departments

Pranks just got harder... Over 400 police departments (these ones) can now ask Ring security camera owners for help cracking a crime. Amazon acquired Ring last year for $800M, then connected the doorbell-camera security startup to its own Neighbors app — Now Ring shows you, or the police, who's knocking.

Don't panic... You've got to opt in first. But here's how it goes down. The Neighbors app lets Ring-owners open up the video feed of their front stoop for all to see. Then "neighbors" (as Amazon calls the users) could get this request from local police: "There was a burglary this morning on 240 Spruce Street — you got video footage?" Got Ring? You might.


Nearly every new tech product has a privacy issue... Amazon made phone-connected home security a scalable thing — Ring became a Prime Day bestseller. Now catching package thieves in the act is the next reality TV hit. But Ring's relentlessly un-blinking 24/7 footage is just another front in the tech privacy battles:

  • The customer benefit: Protect your home, your neighborhood, and help the police catch "the Wet Bandits."
  • The social downside: Record your unwitting neighbors, potentially start over-reporting unsuspicious activity, and possibly get your feed hacked into.

Manning vs. Brady. Jordan vs. Kobe... Fitbit vs. Apple. Fitbit's only product competes with the iPhone maker's 4th most important product (Apple Watch). But the fitness tracker pioneer just announced Fitbit Premium — the new subscription concept hopes to more money every month off users who already paid for a Fitbit. It's a trick out of Apple's book.

Put me in, coach... For $10/month, your fitness tracker will crunch some artificial intelligence and tell you what to do — it analyzes your activity, diagnoses your "problems," then guilts you into changing with "solutions." And it's got a menu of 9 health programs to choose from, like "Healthy Habits" or "Get More Zzz's." Think of it like this:

  • Your old Fitbit wearable: It just showed that you only did 683 steps today. That's it. It counted.
  • The new Fitbit Premium service: Nudges you to go for an 18-minute walk at 2pm since you haven't moved in hours. Then it "encourages" you to join a 30-minute mindfulness course to clear your head before dinner.

Are we at #SubscriptionSaturation?... Add "digital AI health assistant" to the list of things you're coughing up $10 monthly for. On top of your Netflix, Spotify, and Blue Apron subscriptions, Fitbit's adding to the subscription-obsessed tech-meets-wellness trend we're seeing elsewhere:

  • Fitness: Peloton's about to IPO, charging $39/month just for videos of spin classes. And OG gyms do the same thing (physical gyms matter, too).
  • Wellness: Calm and Headspace charge $60 and $96 per year for meditation audio. Like podcasts, but for your deep brain.
What else we’re Snackin’
  • Fido: Bayer is selling off its animal-health unit for a cool $7.6B
  • Threads: 200 footwear companies are pushing the president to cancel tariffs on Chinese-made shoes
  • Watch: SpaceX's Tatooine-worthy Starhopper prototype for Mars trips nails its 150-meter 'hop test' (you should watch this)
  • Retail-pocalypse: Lord & Taylor, founded in 1826, was just sold off to Le Tote for $100M
  • "Prorogue": British PM Boris Johnson just suspended parliament, adding some cheeky pressure to Brexit negotiations
  • PG: YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet, is creating a new website just for the kids
Snacks Daily Podcast
  • We printed off Peloton's IPO paperwork and then read it while taking a Peloton class

Disclosure: Authors of this Snacks own stock in Amazon


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