Street Fight Daily: Google Eyes Hotel Search, China’s New Ridesharing Monopoly

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…

googleGoogle’s Quiet Moves to Dominate Hotel Metasearch (Skift)
Google’s revamped Hotel Ads — which amounts to a streamlined metasearch feature right within Google search results, obviating the need to navigate to Google Hotel Finder – will likely turn out to be one of the most important developments in the metasearch field in 2014-2015.

Factual CEO: Machine Learning Could Upend Local Search (Street Fight)
We sat down with Gil Elbaz, the chief executive at Factual who made his name building the technology behind AdSense, to talk about the future of search, what role Yelp may play in it, and why he thinks we machine learning will create a game changing product in the next 18 months.

China Has A New Taxi App Monopolist – And It Isn’t Uber (Fortune)
China’s top taxi-hailing apps said they would merge and cease a relentless two-year war for market share in the country. The companies together control 99.8% of the taxi hailing app market in China, said Analysys International.

Why a Former Gawker Editor Is Pushing Local News to National Audiences (Street Fight)
We recently caught up with Ratter founder A.J. Daulerio to talk about making local stories into national news, “building a tabloid about city while acknowledging the internet as the neighborhood,” and how he plans to avoid Patch’s missteps.

How Do We Think about Location Once Location Is Everywhere? (Screenwerk)
Greg Sterling: Paradoxically location is becoming a more routine part of digital media and advertising. In the programmatic world, which is gaining momentum, location is simply one data point among many being used to define and target audiences. Location is almost a check-box.

1.2B Smartphones Sold In 2014, Led By Larger Screens And Latin America (TechCrunch)
According to an analyst report, in 2014 there were 1.2 billion smartphones sold, up 23% on the year before and crossing the billion-unit point for the first time. But they predict sales will slow down to 14% growth in 2015, working out to total sales of 1.368 billion devices.

Google Mobile Testing New Loading User Interface (Search Engine Land)
Google testing a new slick mobile user interface for navigating through the mobile search results. A report shows how the logo hides itself as you type your query and re-appears after the search results are generated.

Yelp Suggests Its Open Data Project Could Help End Food Poisoning (VentureBeat)
Yelp’s open data project has shamed some restaurants into cleaning up their act. A study by Harvard Business School suggests that publishing inspection scores on Yelp actually pressured many businesses to improve their scores in subsequent inspections.

JCPenney Finds In-Store Mobile Is Right Fit For Cinderella Promotion (Mobile Marketer)
JCPenney is weaving a tale of mobile and movie magic in its stores this spring through a partnership with the Shopkick application and Disney’s new Cinderella film. JCPenney stores with a Disney shop will be able earn rewards by using the Shopkick app on their smartphones to scan bar codes.

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