A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Google Plans to Deliver Packages with Drones by 2017 (Business Insider)
Google’s drone-delivery initiative, Project Wing, plans to start delivering packages by 2017, according to project lead David Vos. Last month, the company registered two new drone models with the Federal Aviation Administration for testing in Colorado.
Apple’s ‘Indoor Survey’ App Maps Venues Using Radio Frequencies (The Next Web)
A new app lets iPhone users walk through venues and drop “pins” that, with the help of radio frequency signals and phone sensor data, create indoor maps. This is not for the casual user; the app seems to be meant for businesses that want to contribute to Apple’s Maps Connect program, which lets small businesses edit data about their establishments.
Constant Contact CEO Touts ‘Distribution Benefits’ After $1.1 Billion Acquisition by Endurance (Street Fight)
Endurance International Group, which operates a stable of small business-oriented services, has acquired email marketing giant Constant Contact in a transaction valued at $1.1 billion. Constant Contact will become the largest brand under the Endurance umbrella. “It’s taking our mission further by getting broader distribution. That’s the number-one rationale for the acquisition,” said Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman.
Amazon to Open First Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore (Wall Street Journal)
Amazon will open a brick-and-mortar store in a mall near the University of Washington. The bookstore is a reversal from Amazon’s roots; founder Jeff Bezos started his company to challenge the limited inventory of physical stores. (Subscription required)
Case Study: Restaurant Group Takes a Data-Driven Approach to Email Marketing (Street Fight)
Data is changing the way large restaurant groups cater to their highest-value customers. Richard Sandoval Restaurants, the upmarket restaurant group with more than 35 locations worldwide, is looking for more strategic ways to use data for customer retention and acquisition. It has started harnessing its email database to make more data-driven decisions using tools like customer analytics and marketing platform Venga.
Square’s Program to Advance Money to Small Businesses Is Growing Like Crazy (Business Insider)
As its IPO roadshow gets underway, one of the points Square likely will boast is the tremendous growth of its small business financing arm, Square Capital. In only three months, the company has advanced more than $75 million to small businesses.
Handy Raises $50 Million Months After Rival Homejoy Shuts Down (Fortune)
Homejoy, a cleaning services company, became the first of the on-demand startups to publicly bite the dust. Now its main rival, New York City-based Handy, has raised a fresh $50 million in funding and plans to expand to at least double the number of cities it serves in the next year.
News Consumers Can’t Choose Between Apps and Web (eMarketer)
For some activities, mobile users have a clear preference about app vs. browser usage. But for news consumption, mobile preferences are not so clear-cut. Across a range of news topics, a new study has found that nearly equal shares of smartphone owners say they mostly access content via app vs. via browser.