A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
The Web Giants Are Raising the Performance Bar on Everyone (ReadWrite)
Mehdi Daoudi: Tech leaders like Google, Apple, and Facebook have made a series of bold moves under the noble guise of preserving Web performance for users. There’s no doubt these companies ardently support creating the fastest, most reliable, and convenient digital experiences possible. But there are other motives at play, leading to fallout for several industries.
GM to Launch Self-Driving Lyft Fleet in Austin, Texas (Mashable)
The first self-driving car you ride in won’t be one you own; it’ll be one you order from Lyft. And these GM-powered Lyfts will be digitally personalized to you before you get in — with your profile, the car will know your preferences, and it will arrive preset with all the things you like (think Spotify playlists and ideal seat settings).
Vistaprint Launches Local Listings, Providing a Broader Service for SMBs (Street Fight)
Vistaprint, which provides print and digital marketing products for small business owners, announced today that it is launching a presence management tool which SMBs can use to update information about their business on over 100 local directories.
How Local Governments Are Using Technology to Serve Citizens Better (Harvard Business Review)
In our connected world, customers have come to expect that their needs will be met quickly and frictionlessly — especially in cities, where Instacart delivers groceries, Amazon provides same-day delivery, and Uber and Lyft compete to have a car at your door. Some innovative local governments have realized this and, borrowing from the consumer digital sector, are using tech and a customer-focused mindset to innovate.
How Can Local Merchants Ensure That Digital Searchers Know They’re Open? (Street Fight)
Gib Olander: Knowing hours of operation is one of the first searches that customers undertake as they navigate their options when they look for things to do and places to go. Being available to potential customers means managing your store hours as a dynamic and scale-able data asset.
Google Maps Can Now Work Out Where You’re Going Before You Tell It (Business Insider)
Google is rolling out an update to Maps that includes a new Driving Mode feature. It uses data from your previous journeys, like the time of day, to predict where you’re traveling and provide ETAs, traffic information, and more.
Michelin Acquires Online Reservations System Bookatable (Eater)
Restaurant guidebook publisher Michelin is further expanding its business model: It’s now the owner of Europe’s biggest online restaurant reservations system. The 127-year-old company has purchased London-based Bookatable, which currently handles reservations for more than 15,000 restaurants across Europe.
The Post-Mobile Era (Recode)
Ben Bajarin: The smartphone, with its two-billion-and-growing user base, has laid the most critical foundation for the future. It’s time to move our focus from smartphone hardware, mobile operating systems, and even the apps themselves and focus more on what said hardware, operating systems, and apps are enabling.
New Startup Facilitates Free Food for Offices, Publicity for Local Restaurants (New York Observer)
A new startup called Lunchspread is pairing restaurants that want to get their food into more mouths with potential customers who work nearby. From this win-win, restaurants receive inexpensive publicity and office workers receive food samples from nearby eateries for no cost at all. In two months, Lunchspread has already partnered with 25 restaurants and 2,000+ office workers in New York City.
Visa Checkout Announces Walmart, Starbucks as Merchant Partners (TechCrunch)
Visa Checkout has shown rapid growth, with consumers signing up for more than 10 million accounts since its launch 18 months ago. The PayPal competitor allows customers to complete payments across platforms using a single login, without having to leave the merchant’s website.