A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Google Is In Talks With Mobile Payments Company Softcard (TechCrunch)
Apple has Apple Pay, and now it looks like Google may be fattening up its own wallet. According to people familiar with the situation, the search giant and maker of Android is interested in buying Softcard, the mobile payments company formerly known as Isis.
The Importance of Responsive Web Design for SMB Sites (Street Fight)
Matt Matergia: It’s critical for local businesses to have a beautiful site that doesn’t just scale down to low resolutions, but also looks great on all devices — from a 27” desktop display to a “smart” refrigerator, and every tablet, phablet, and phone in between. I believe that for the majority of local businesses, responsive design is the best mobile strategy.
Lyft Seeking New Mega-Funding to Battle Uber (Recode)
Lyft this week set out to raise a new round of funding to help it catch up to the massive war chest raised by its rival Uber. The ride-hailing company — which was last valued at $850 million — is in the midst of its efforts, with what one person close to the situation said was a “significantly” higher valuation.
Are Facebook And Yelp Losing The Support Of Small Businesses? (Pando)
Stuart Wall: In the short term, many small businesses feel like they have no choice but to use two of the largest, most well known platforms in their space. Facebook and Yelp should take note: without the trust and support of small business users, they may be disrupted faster than their predecessors.
Marriott Tests Out Beacon Technology At 14 Hotels – Will The Transmitters Prove Successful In 2015? (PSFK)
The hospitality company revamped its loyalty program by installing beacons around just 14 Marriott Hotel properties through the first part of 2015 and using data and feedback from this trial period to figure out how to best proceed and increase the scope of the program.
The Franchise Challenge: How Do You Stand Out When You’re One Of Many (Search Engine Land)
Rachel Lindteigen: Local marketing is especially important for franchisees, but it can also pose many unique issues – for example, how do you stand out among a sea of many? The good news is that it’s possible, depending on the situation there are multiple possible solutions.
The Road Ahead: 3 Ways Apple Could Push Maps Forward With Ios 9 In 2015 (Apple Insider)
A revamped Maps app was expected to be one of iOS 8’s tentpole features — boasting a wealth of new data and the long-awaited addition of public transit directions — but the most interesting modification of the year ended up being the introduction of nine new cities for the three-dimensional Flyover feature.
As the Retail Landscape Changes, Payments Hardware Is Scrambling (GigaOm)
Three months ago, Apple Pay kicked off a new flurry of excitement about contactless payments. Now the retail industry is in a race to catch up, which is why in the last week we’ve seen a lot of new point-of-sale equipment debut, all geared to process these new types of transactions.