A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology
Facebook’s “Nearby Friends” Feature Aims for More Offline Connections (Recode)
Facebook is introducing “Nearby Friends,” a feature that lets you show off where you are in the world to your Facebook friends without having to check in to locations. Flip open the Nearby Friends tab inside Facebook’s main app and, using your phone’s GPS capabilities, the feature will run in the background and ambiently broadcast where you are to other Facebook friends who have turned on the feature.
Twitter’s New Ad Unit Is A Huge, Huge Deal. Here’s Why (Forbes)
Jeff Bercovici: As headlines go, “Twitter Introduces Mobile App Promotion Suite” is a snoozer. But the news announced this morning is actually a good deal more exciting than it sounds. It could translate into hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in new revenue for Twitter in a very short space of time.
Putting Small Businesses on the (New) Google Map (Street Fight)
Kris Barton: Google Maps is a key resource that businesses can use to get more local searchers to discover them online. But can it also help them get more leads? The simple answer is yes, but it’s a not as easy as simply claiming a listing. It’s only by taking advantage of all that Google Maps has to offer — and then tracking how traffic from your maps listing converts into leads and customers — that you can see just how powerful accurate, optimized maps listings can be.
Citymapper Just Got Off the Funding Bus and Is Now $10M Richer (VentureBeat)
Ride-sharing startups may be red hot, but what about public transportation? And what about good, old-fashioned walking? Urban transportation tracker Citymapper just racked up a fresh $10 million to keep helping people take advantage of public transit, sidewalks, and everything in between. Its apps provide real-time information about public transit, road disruptions, weather details, and anything else urban travelers could need to make it from point A to point B.
Why Walmart and Facebook Are Entering the Money Transfer Space (Pando)
Offering money transfer services is another way for Walmart and Facebook to get users to walk through their physical and virtual doors, respectively. This is as much about revenue generation as it is about customer loyalty and engagement. And not to be overlooked is the power of the data generated by the money transfer space.
Six Things to Consider About the New Los Angeles Register (Nieman Lab)
Ken Doctor: If the Register were a football team, Coach Kushner’s strategy would clearly be to flood the zone. That’s what all the moves — from Orange County to Long Beach to Riverside and now L.A. — tell us. It’s a pirate move, and it’s pure Kushner, going big and bold and loud back into the marketplace. Newspapers have sometimes seemed almost agoraphobic in the wake of digital disruption. The Register wants to put itself in the center of a marketplace.
Niche Site CHARLIE Goes Big With Underwriter Le Creuset (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: After an initial stint doing publicity in the movie industry in Los Angeles, Caroline Nuttall migrated to Charleston, S.C., and fell “head over heels” for its “beauty and progressive culture.” She expressed her passion for the city by creating the local digital magazine CHARLIE, whose words, images and design capture the many faceted, old-new richness of her publication’s namesake. Here Nuttall tells Street Fight how she navigated CHARLIE to new revenue streams, including an underwriting partnership with national cookware maker Le Creuset.
Urgent.ly Lands Seed Investment From Blu Venture & CIT GAP Funds (In the Capital)
Urgent.ly, the Northern Virginia-based startup disrupting the roadside assistance industry, announced Thursday seed investment from McLean’s Blu Venture Investors, Herndon’s CIT GAP Funds and various local angels. The platform takes the Uber model of real-time, on-demand crowdsourcing, but instead of seeking a ride, users request the nearest help during a roadside emergency.
UberX Adds $1 Charge to Cover Getting You Home Safely (Engadget)
Uber has added a $1 surcharge to UberX rides. Called a “Safe Rides Fee,” the company says the cash will help offset the cost “an industry-leading background check process, regular motor vehicle checks, driver safety education, development of safety features in the app, and insurance.”
Google’s Matt Cutts On SEO Myths: Ads Correlate To Organic Results & More… (SearchEngineLand)
In a recent video from Google Head of Search Spam Matt Cutts, Matt talks about the biggest SEO myths he sees today. By far, the biggest myth, according to Cutts, is how people think Google makes changes to their search results with the only intent of making more money. Matt said buying or not buying ads has no positive or negative impact on your rankings.