Here's how Snapchat's new Spectacles will work

Here's how Snapchat's new Spectacles will work

The company formerly known as Snapchat surprised the world last night by unveiling Spectacles, its first hardware product. The sunglasses, which record videos in 10-second increments, are expected to be available for sale sometime "soon." Snap Inc., as the company is now called, says it will be producing the glasses in small quantities. There are still lots of questions about how Spectacles will work — but thanks to some new information from the company, we can now answer some basic questions.

Let's dive in!

snap spectacles

What are Spectacles?

They're connected sunglasses that record video snippets that get saved to your Snapchat Memories. Its camera has a 115-degree lens meant to more closely approximate how humans see. The glasses will cost $130, come in one size, and be available in three colors: black, teal, and coral.

Black, teal, and coral

How do I use Spectacles?

Tap the button on the top left-hand corner of the sunglasses to begin recording a snap. It will automatically stop recording after 10 seconds — but if you want additional recording time, you can tap again to add another 10-second increment.

How do I know I'm recording?

There is an inward-facing light that turns on when you're snapping, and an outward-facing light that alerts anyone in your field of vision.

What's the longest video that I can record?

You can record up to 30 seconds at a time.

How do I get my snaps onto my phone?

Transfer snaps via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi

If you have an Android device, you have to transfer them via Wi-Fi. If you have an iOS device, they will transfer by default via the glasses' Bluetooth connection. Or, you can choose to can transfer them at a higher resolution over Wi-Fi.

What if I don't have my phone while I'm recording?

You can use the glasses as a standalone device — they'll store the snaps until you return to your phone.

What format do the glasses record in?

They're in a new "circular" meant to mimic the way the human eye sees. When you're watching your snaps back on your phone, they can be played back in either landscape or portrait orientation. (Snapchat crops them accordingly.)

How's battery life?

You can get about a day out of your Spectacles, Snap says. The outward-facing light is also a battery indicator — double-tap it and you'll see how much juice you have left.

spectacles case

How do I charge them?

Spectacles will come with a dedicated charging case and cable. Snap says that when fully charged, the case can recharge your Spectacles up to four times.

How many of these things is Snap making?

A "limited number."

Isn't this just Google Glass all over again?

Technologies often fail the first time around

Opinions here are all over the map. But a few things are worth considering. One, new technologies often fail the first time around, only to become mainstream on their second or third introduction to the mainstream. (See: social networks, tablet computers.) Two, Spectacles are less than one-tenth what Google Glass cost, making them much more accessible. Third, Snap is positioning the glasses as less of a face computer and more as a GoPro for your life. And people love their GoPros.

How big a deal is this for Snap?

Very. Facebook and its subsidiaries are raiding its flagship app for parts, which seems likely to blunt Snap's growth, especially internationally. Snap needs a second act, and hardware like this can have very good profit margins — and be quite difficult to copy.

What don't we know?

The image quality of the recorded snaps. How many Spectacles will be produced. Where you can buy them. Whether they're weatherproof. Whether teens will think they look cool.

Is this really Snap's first hardware product?

No — it has also released an ice tray, a backpack, playing cards, a plushie, and a beach towel.

Southeast Asia’s Grab is partnering with self-driving company nuTonomy

Southeast Asia’s Grab is partnering with self-driving company nuTonomy

Southeast Asia’s homegrown ride-hailing player Grab — which just raised $750 million in funding — is partnering with self-driving car company nuTonomy.

It’s a partnership akin to what many in the industry think should have happened between Uber and Google before Uber decided to create self-driving software itself: A company working on self-driving software partnering with a company with the ride-hailing know-how and a large user base.

For Grab and nuTonomy, all that’s missing now is an automaker.

NuTonomy is already in active talks with automakers, company COO Doug Parker told Recode in May when I took a ride in one of its car in Singapore. According to Parker, the company might even consider licensing their software to automakers down the road.

Singapore is certainly a test location well-suited for self-driving cars — from its highly mapped streets to the government’s active interest in reducing car ownership and congestion. Singapore has been actively pushing forward local self-driving efforts and named nuTonomy its official research and development partner.

So, it’s not surprising that Grab has decided to partner with nuTonomy. As Recode first reported, Grab CEO Anthony Tan was considering partnering with a self-driving player in the nation-state once there was a “clear winner.”

But launching a self-driving pilot does not ensure that it will be a winner. Nonetheless, nuTonomy did beat a number of companies to the punch — for one, nuTonomy launched its pilot mere days before Uber rolled out its own test in Pittsburgh. The company also ostensibly found a go-to-market strategy in its partnership with Grab before players like Google — which has been working on its self-driving cars for eight years — have yet to publicly announced one.

“Partnering with Grab to expand our public trial in Singapore will yield valuable feedback and consumer insights as nuTonomy readies our on- demand self-driving car service for commercial launch in 2018,” nuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma said in a statement.

Read this next: We rode in the self-driving cab that will hit Singapore streets in 2019.

Google VR SDK graduates out of beta

Google VR SDK graduates out of beta

Posted by Nathan Martz, Product Manager, Google VR

At Google I/O, we announced Daydream—Google's platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality—and released early developer resources to get the community started with building for Daydream. Since then, the team has been hard at work, listening to feedback and evolving these resources into a suite of powerful developer tools.

Today, we are proud to announce that the Google VR SDK 1.0 with support for Daydream has graduated out of beta, and is now available on the Daydream developer site. Our updated SDK simplifies common VR development tasks so you can focus on building immersive, interactive mobile VR applications for Daydream-ready phones and headsets, and supports integrated asynchronous reprojection, high fidelity spatialized audio, and interactions using the Daydream controller.

To make it even easier to start developing with the Google VR SDK 1.0, we’ve partnered with Unity and Unreal so you can use the game engines and tools you’re already familiar with. We’ve also updated the site with full documentation, reference sample apps, and tutorials.

Native Unity integration

This release marks the debut of native Daydream integration in Unity, which enables Daydream developers to take full advantage of all of Unity’s optimizations in VR rendering. It also adds support for features like head tracking, deep linking, and easy Android manifest configuration. Many Daydream launch apps are already working with the newest integration features, and you can now download the new Unity binary here and the Daydream plugin here.

Native UE4 integration

We’ve made significant improvements to our UE4 native integration that will help developers build better production-quality Daydream apps. The latest version introduces Daydream controller support in the editor, a neck model, new rendering optimizations, and much more. UE4 developers can download the source here.

Get started today

While the first Daydream-ready phones and headset are coming this fall, you can start developing high-quality Daydream apps right now with the Google VR SDK 1.0 and the DIY developer kit.

We’re also opening applications to our Daydream Access Program (DAP) so we can work closely with even more developers building great content for Daydream. Submit your Daydream app proposal to apply to be part of our DAP.

When you create content for the Daydream platform, you know your apps will work seamlessly across every Daydream-ready phone and headset. Daydream is just getting started, and we’re looking forward to working together to help you build new immersive, interactive VR experiences. Stay tuned for more information about Daydream-ready phones and the Daydream headset and controller coming soon.

If you've ever created a Yahoo account, take these steps immediately to protect your data

If you've ever created a Yahoo account, take these steps immediately to protect your data

If you’ve ever signed up for an account with Yahoo, there’s cause for concern. The company confirmed today, after Recode broke the story last night, that 500 million user accounts were breached in a massive hack.

That’s larger than the population of the United States and Mexico combined.

Yahoo says the attack likely included email addresses, passwords, names and phone numbers — not payment card data or bank account information.

But our email accounts are packed with personal information. We send people we trust our account details for all kinds of services over email, and whether it's as benign as a Netflix password or as potentially devastating as a pornography website login or credit card number, we expect our email accounts to be password protected and private.

If you have a Yahoo account, here’s what you should do.

Not just your Yahoo account. Make a list of all the online accounts where you store sensitive information. Update all your passwords to make them long and strong. Be sure to give each separate account a unique password, too. No repeats.

The best way to keep track of all your new passwords is with a password manager, which stores all your account details in an encrypted vault on your smartphone and your desktop. You can find some great free or extremely cheap ones online. Do some digging and find an option that works best for you.

If your Yahoo account information is indeed for sale, someone can hack into your email and find information you’d rather keep locked safe. Search your emails for sensitive correspondence, delete liberally, and empty the trash folder.

Then visit the account settings of services you’ve connected to your Yahoo account and disconnect them immediately.

Gmail is endorsed by security researchers for being a secure service that most people can trust. If you want an airtight layer of protection, you can always setup a PGP key so only the intended recipient can decrypt your emails.

If you want to login to your accounts, you should be able to verify you’re the one trying to login and not someone else. That means employing more than just an easily sharable password to authenticate your login attempt.

Most services offer the option to text a code to a phone number on file for your account so only a person with both your password and your cell phone can access. Make sure all your apps and services are fully updated to take advantage of any recent security improvements.

Hackers often try to bait people into opening emails or attachments that may contain malware. Don’t open the email if you’re unsure. And if you do open an email and then decide it might be a hacker, do not open the attachments. Delete it.

Messaging app Telegram adds selfie masks, DIY GIFs

Messaging app Telegram adds selfie masks, DIY GIFs

Messaging app Telegram adds selfie masks, DIY GIFs

Posted 22 seconds ago by Natasha Lomas (@riptari)
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With what looks to be an eye on Snapchat’s selfie-loving fanbase, messaging platform Telegram has beefed up its in-app photo editor in what it dubs an “entertainment-heavy update” — including an option that lets users customize selfies by adding cartoon masks that automatically align on their faces. Snapchat of course has a lenses feature for transforming users’ selfies.

The Telegram feature is far less sophisticated than Snapchat’s lenses; more ‘selfie augmentation’ than full facial transformation, given it only works with photos (not video). And is really just another sticker set that can be added to photos you’ve already snapped. But the popularity of stickers on messaging platforms should not be underestimated.

Masks can be applied via Telegram’s photo editor by tapping on the pen to edit the photo you’ve selected to send and then the envelope to bring up mask sets.

Users are also able to create custom masks and upload them to the platform by using the /newmasks command and Telegram’s @stickers bot. (Users receiving photos with masks will also be able to see which sets the masks came from.)

For now, there’s a range of cartoonish masks created by Telegram for users to choose from — such as animal faces, silly glasses, comedy beards, hats, wigs etc, along with other cartoonish props to drop into photos, such as stars, hearts, more cute animals, bubble-lettered captions and so on. Existing Telegram stickers can also be added in to photos.

Also in this visually themed update Telegram now lets users create custom GIFs to send in their chats by recording a video and then tapping a new mute button to turn it into a looping GIF. GIFs can also be augmented with the usual emoji, text, colored scribbles etc.

The startup demos the DIY GIF feature showing founder Pavel Durov videoing himself pulling an expression akin to a smirking smilie.

Telegram DIY GIFs

It notes that any DIY GIFs a user creates are saved to the app’s GIF section — “so that you can quickly react to anything with a set of your own prerecorded GIF-emotions”.

Also added in this update: a trending stickers tab — likely as a way to help with sticker discovery. Visuals may be more universally understood than text, but finding the perfect sticker among countless pouts, smirks and side-eyes can be as time-consuming as searching for le mot juste.

Telegram is not breaking out any updated user metrics at this point, with Durov telling TechCrunch it’s keeping its powder dry for big yearly reveals on that front.

The startup held a glitzy party at MWC in Barcelona last February, trumpeting 100M monthly active users. At the time it also said it was adding 350,000 new users each day, with some 15BN messages generated daily. (For some comparative context, Snapchat, announced 100M daily active users back in March.)

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The hopes and headaches of Snapchat’s glasses

The hopes and headaches of Snapchat’s glasses

The hopes and headaches of Snapchat’s glasses

Posted 14 seconds ago by Josh Constine (@joshconstine)
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The hopes and headaches of Snapchat’s glasses

Snapchat is the only company cool enough to possibly dismantle the Google Glass stigma. Awkward, useless, and a threat to privacy are how many think of computers you wear on your face. Can Snapchat show off the masterful marketing and smooth execution required to produce a product that won’t die on stores shelves or in a desk drawer?

To quickly recount the basics, a video of Snapchat’s new camcorder sunglasses leaked last night. Business Insider reported it, so the company rushed out the news with a Wall Street Journal piece that was planned for Monday.

Snapchat is renaming its corporate self to Snap Inc, and launching its $130 Spectacles this fall in limited release. They’ll be one-size-fits all in black, teal, or coral colors. Spectacles let you tap the glasses’ rim to instantly record 10 seconds of video, with a light on the front alerting people you’re recording.

The video is captured with an 115-degree wide view lens in a circular format that can be watched full-screen on a phone in any orientation. The video is stored on the device and can be wirelessly offloaded to a phone over Wifi or Bluetooth so users can edit and share via Snapchat later. Spectacles’ battery should last a day, and you can get up to four full recharges from the portable charging case.

But the real questions are whether people will want or need Spectacles when they already have a camera phone, how Snap Inc can avoid them becoming geeky or creepy, and how they might change the future of the startup and how we capture social media.


Spectacles and their charging case. via Business Insider

Here we’ll explore the pitfalls and potential glory facing Snap Inc’s Spectacles.


Do We Need A Second Camera? – Everyone already carries remarkably powerful cameras in their pockets. The biggest challenge for Specs will be defeating the status quo: taking photos and videos with your phone. Hold your iPhone or Android up in front of your face with one hand, and the experience might be similar enough to Specs to make them unneccessary.


If you have Snapchat on your phone, do you need Spectacles? via Business Insider

Snap Inc will have to prove how different and awesome the 115-degree, circular, first-person format is. That might require getting Specs into the hands of some talented creators before a wider release.

snap-circularSpecs have to nail more than footage of skateboarding and playing with kids. They will have to show versatility, and might need some Specs-only animated lenses, filters, or other image embellishments to differentiate them enough from the super-engineered cameras in our iPhones.

Spectacles raise the larger question of whether cameras are so important that sometimes we’ll want a dedicated non-professional capture device even if we have to remember to carry it around and charge it. Or whether the convenience and power of our always-with-us smartphone cameras do a good enough job already.

Hands Are More Agile Than Heads – Try shooting video at a crowded concert from eye-level instead of thrusting your phone in the air, and you’ll quickly appreciate having your camera in your nimble hands, not strapped to your head. Getting the best angle often requires some maneuvering that’s much easier with your arms involved.

Footage from Specs could come out shaky and jerky unless Snapchat can work in some auto-stabilization magic. Otherwise the videos they make could be dizzying or too hectic to watch.

scobleReSPECtability – Google Glass got handed to geeky developers and techies first, who quickly associated the device with awkward social behavior and an “I’m better than you because I’m from the future” attitude. The infamous Scoble shower Glass photo still haunts the wearable industry.

Reversing this stigma will require Snap Inc to carefully manage first impressions to make Spectacles aspirational, not deplorable. Unfortunately the “trying to be artful” portraits of Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wearing them are already establishing a slightly pretentious aura.


Snap Inc CEO Evan Spiegel makes Spectacles seem a bit prtentious in this photo by Karl Lagerfield for WSJ

Private Eyes, They’re Watching You – Snap was smart to make it obvious when Spectacles are recording with a big warning light. But after “Are your recording me!?!” scuffles in bars and businesses putting up “No Google Glass” signs, people are sure to be a little uneasy.

We’re used to someone having to raise and aim their camera or phone at us before they’re able to record us, which gives us time to modify our behavior or turn away. Knowing that Spectacles could start shooting with a quick touch, even with the warning light, could make people uncomfortable being around anyone wearing them.

Snap will have to find some way to communicate polite practices for how to use Specs before someone crosses the line and ignites controversy.

The ghost is awake.

— Michael Sippey (@sippey) September 20, 2016


Live Life, Don’t Just Record It – Better cameras, network connections, and social networks have led to an explosion of lifecasting, led by Snapchat Stories (and copied by Instagram Stories). But they pose a risk to the way we experience our greatest moments.

When something special happens, today most people bust out their phones rather than bask in the moment. Fans in the front row destroy their chance to connect with their rock star heroes by thrusting a phone between them. Then, people divorce themselves from the action while they stare down, editing their content with filters and captions before sharing.


Spectacles let you live life rather than stare at your phone

Snapchat’s recently launched Memories feature fights the second part of that sequence by letting you save what you record so you can edit and share later when you have some downtime. Spectacles could fix the first, removing the foreign object of the phone from the capture process. There’s still a device in the way, but at least it’s translucent, so you see the world directly while recording an identical view.

Spectacles could actualize the metaphor of creating a window into each other’s lives, instead of watching our own lives unfold on a screen.

The Camera Company – Building the camera itself rather than just the software gives Snap Inc a tighter grip on the experience. It could include hardware that wouldn’t fit in a phone. It can experiment more dramatically with how people record. And it provides deeper ownership of the data that comes out, which will be tucked in Snapchat Memories.

Even if video ads remain Snap’s core way to earn money, diversifying beyond video ads could boost confidence in the startup’s expected IPO. The more of their stack a company owns, the more it can control its destiny. If Facebook is the News Feed, and Google is search, Snapchat wants to be the camera.


Augmented Reality – Spectacles v1 only record the world around you, but future iterations could enhance it. Eventually, perhaps they could automatically give everyone a mustache, highlight your friends in a crowded room, let you watch other people’s Spectacles content like you were seeing through their eyes, or host a developer platform with untold applications.

Snapchat’s selfie lenses were the first delivery of AR to the masses, and the company has been staffing up with experts who could build the next wave of augmentation. Perhaps they’ll add voice control or other IoT integrations in the future.

Scenes We’ve Never Seen – What’s it like to walk down the red carpet? We’ve seen plenty of footage following a celebrity, but Spectacles could let us be the center of attention with fans and paparazzi fawning around us. We might get to see a concert from the singer’s eyes, or walk to runway as a fashion model

Though Snapchat has always been for teens, parents might love the ability to hold their baby with both hands while recording. GoPro built the idiot-proof adventure camera, but Snap could build one for saving everyday joys.


An Aspirational Device

The marketing of Spectacles is an enormous opportunity for Snap Inc, but one fraught with peril. Initial perceptions could make or break Specs, and perhaps define how fast or slow we’ll adopt other types of head-worn computers.


The most sensible strategy might mimic that of the acquirer Snapchat spurned. Facebook became an international hit in part because people desperately wanted to join what was seen as an exclusive, elite club.

Each stage of Facebook’s rollout expanded it a rung down the social hierarchy. This way the next demographic to get it always idolized the last. Harvard, then elite US colleges, other American colleges, international colleges, high schools, and eventually everyone. It’s the opposite of how Google bungled roll outs of Google Glass (weird developers first) and Google+ (geographically and socially unclustered tech elite first).

Snapchat might be best putting Spectacles on the faces of aspirational figures first — widely respected yet hip celebrities. If the first content coming out of Spectacles include the perspective of stars from classy movie premiers, epic concerts, raucous parties, and stunning sporting events, it could cement the idea that people you want to be wear them.

Similarly, Snapchat might only want to distribute the original pairs of Specs through some kind of trusted network of influencers. And when it sells them publicly, it might be best to start in cultural capitals like LA and NYC, where the world already looks for what’s cool.


Spectacles need to feel aspirational. via Business Insider

Spectacles are a gadget that won’t be judged by their specs, but by whether they can change human behavior. Cramming new ways to act into our society will always be tougher than packing processing power into a chip. Overwriting the disgust instilled by Google Glass will take all of Spiegel’s skills.

We might assume that one day, eyewear computers will shrink and strengthen to the point they become commonplace. But maybe Snap Inc has the stylish reputation and daredevil ambition to make that day come much sooner.

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Why aren’t people freaking out about glasses that watch everything you do, all the time?

Why aren’t people freaking out about glasses that watch everything you do, all the time?

What if you had the ability to record everything you see, so you can see it again later, whenever you want?

If you’re Snap/Snapchat, that sounds like a really great idea — it’s the premise behind the company’s $130 Spectacles.

“Imagine one of your favorite memories,” Snap says in its rollout announcement. “What if you could go back and see that memory the way you experienced it?”

Another take: That sounds like a nightmare!

You can see how that one plays out courtesy of “Black Mirror,” the British series that updates “The Twilight Zone” with technological twists. The everything-you-can-see-you-can-see-again idea is the basis for “The Entire History of You,” the series’ third episode.

I think it’s my favorite of the bunch, and if you haven’t watched it on Netflix yet, I highly recommend it. (The entire episode also appears to have been on YouTube for more than a year. How does that work?)

You can get a sense of it here:

None of which is to say that Spectacles = dystopia. They sound pretty cool! I told my 6-year-old son about them, and he definitely wants a pair.

But it is interesting to see that in hot-take/first-blush land, no one seems particularly worried about the consequences of omnipresent, wearable video recorders.

Are they cool enough for Twitter users? That’s up for debate. Are they a problem for humanity? No one seems to think so.

I can hazard a couple guesses about why that may be.

One is that we’ve been headed this way for a while. You may not use a GoPro, but you get why someone might. Your local police department may already be equipping its officers with bodycams (even if they don’t always turn them on). And while Google famously failed when it introduced its Glass headsets in 2013, it still helped normalize the idea.

Another is that Snap/Snapchat has a lot more freedom to play around with ideas like this than other brands might have. Snapchat’s core messaging product has already established it as a company that makes things that are both confusing and cool.

So even if you think Spectacles are a terrible idea, you might wait to be proven right before you say so.

And at the same time, Snap still seems like a novelty to lots of people. Sure, it may command enormous media attention, and it could do a billion dollars in revenue next year, en route to an IPO.

But Snap still doesn’t generate the omnipresent fear/awe/respect that tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google command. If any one of those companies came out with Spectacles, I bet you’d see a very different response.

Our secret’s out.

Our secret’s out.

Go to the profile of Bex Rad
Bex RadBlockedUnblockFollowFollowing
Creative Director at VanMoof
Sep 62 min read

Our secret’s out.

Since we started shipping bikes eight years ago, we’ve struggled to find shipping partners that give our bikes the same obsessive love and care that we do.

Trust us, we’ve tried them all.

The big ones.
The niche ones.
The expensive ones.
The start-up-ey ones.

Yet no matter who was doing the shipping, too many of our bikes arrived looking like they’d been through a metal-munching combine harvester. It was getting expensive for us, and bloody annoying for our customers.

With a big hairy goal to sell 90% of our bikes online by 2020, we had to find a fix. Anyone in the ecom world knows you’re only as good as your shipping partner. Your covetable products, your frictionless website, your killer brand — they all count for nothing when your delivery partner drops the ball.

Earlier this year our co-founder Ties had a flash of genius. Our boxes are about the same size as a (really really reaaaally massive) flatscreen television. Flatscreen televisions always arrive in perfect condition. What if we just printed a flatscreen television on the side of our boxes?

And just like that, shipping damage to our bikes dropped by 70–80%.

As a we go from tiny Amsterdam bike-maker to global city-cycling company, this bike box hack has got us thinking about the power of small tweaks with disproportionate impact.

Could we use them to make Brooklyn safer and smarter for cyclists, bring more diversity to city cycling in Berlin, or put more Amsterdam bike thieves out of business?

We were hoping to keep this small tweak quiet, but thanks to Twitter, the secret’s out.

Just don’t tell FedEx.

Go to the profile of Bex RadBex RadBlockedUnblockFollowFollowing
Amazon stock tops $800 for first time

Amazon stock tops $800 for first time

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Amazon stock tops $800 for first time

The Seattle company's stock surged to $805 in mid-afternoon trading.

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Amazon stock tops $800 for first time

Elizabeth Weise, USATODAY 1:42 p.m. EDT September 22, 2016

Amazon's Day 1 North office building, one of its many offices in Seattle. The name comes from a phrase often used by CEO Jeff Bezos to underscore the need to constantly be open to new ways to do things, "It's always Day 1 at Amazon."(Photo: Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)

SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon stock topped $800 for the first time Thursday, surging to $805 in mid-afternoon trading.

The rise brought Amazon's (AMZN) market cap to $381.6 billion, according to Yahoo Finance. That makes it the world's fourth most valuable company, behind Apple at $616.87 billion, Alphabet at $541.9 billion and Microsoft at $450.56 billion.

The bump may have been linked to a new buy rating for Amazon on Wall Street, the Seattle company's seventh this year, according to

Argus Research upgraded Amazon to buy Thursday.

"While the growth engine at Amazon is unmatched, the stock has been difficult to time from a valuation perspective. Based on our historical comparables analysis and discounted free cash flow valuation, we believe Amazon's growth prospects are accelerating more rapidly than the share price, thus creating a favorable entry point, Argus analyst Jim Kelleher wrote.

Amazon shares are up 17% year-to-date, compared to a 6% gain for the S&P 500.

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