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Our Views on the Apple Watch, a Facebook Video Service and More

This month we asked you to ask us questions about the technology industry. And ask you did. You asked us to handicap the Apple Watch launch, which company will be next to suffer the same fate as Fab.com and about trends in public ad tech stocks, among others.

Here are responses to a bunch we thought would be broadly interesting to subscribers. Send us more at any time at hello@theinformation.com.

Q: Which messaging company will be the first to copy Chinese chat platforms to launch payment, banking, taxi or delivery services?

A: The race is between Facebook and Snapchat. Right now Facebook has the bigger network, but Snapchat appears to be thinking quite aggressively about platforms and may be able to move faster because it has a smaller legacy customer base to upset.

Facebook has scale working in its favor, and there’s no doubt the company is thinking of ways to turn Facebook Messenger into a platform for lots of different businesses. (CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investor during a recent earnings call that he sees Facebook Messenger going in this direction, but cautioned it will take time.)

But Snapchat is already making moves by adding payments and with Tuesday’s launch of Discover for video. But I don’t think these platforms will exactly resemble WeChat and other approaches taken in China. Those tend to focus on promoting a few key services. I think the U.S. platforms will try to be more open. It will be a great race to watch.—Jessica E. Lessin

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But none of the cities around the core of Stanford and Sand Hill Road seem to be interested in attacking the housing shortage in the Valley at a scale that would reduce prices. Add on the anecdotal observation that many in the technology workforce enjoy the culture, food and nightlife that San Francisco offers, and it’s hard to see a retreat back down the peninsula.—Steve Nellis

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