Street Fight Daily: Google Partners with HomeAdvisor, New Groupon CEO’s Vision

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

Google Gets Deeper into Home Services (CNBC)
Google is partnering with HomeAdvisor to better match homeowners with contractors like plumbers, electricians, or landscapers. As of Friday, homeowners searching for contractors on Google will be shown results that are “HomeAdvisor screened and approved” and come with profiles, price estimates, and the ability to “book now” or schedule an appointment to compare estimates for work.

Report: Executive Survey on Hyperlocal Tech and Tactics (Street Fight)
What’s on the mind of technology and marketing suppliers targeting the connected local economy? They’re keen on mobile — perhaps too keen — but struggling with their own companies’ brand awareness. The dichotomy between small businesses and national chains that sell locally is profound, and presents difficult challenges in scaling to support either, let alone both, according to Street Fight Insights analysis.

New Groupon CEO Says the Local Deals Pioneer Is Undervalued, Underestimated (GeekWire)
“We’re the clear leader in our space,” said Rich Williams, Groupon’s new CEO. “It’s been a bumpy road, but smooth roads are pretty rare for pioneers. We’ve learned some tough lessons, but I’ve also said, ‘We should not apologize for things that we’ve tried that haven’t perfectly worked.'”

Retail, Restaurants, and Roofers: Where Does On-Demand Work (and Not)? (Street Fight)
Michael Boland: On-demand has gone into nearly every local vertical, but there are still areas with the right conditions for on-demand models to take root, some of which remain underdeveloped. These include higher-end professional services like lawyers and doctors, project-based work like design and writing, and, of course, SMBs, especially when it comes to local marketing and advertising.

Merchants Watch Online Sales Data for Shifts in Buying Habits (Wall Street Journal)
With online sales taking up a greater share of the retail pie, merchants will be looking to data for signs of a shift in buying habits that could point to further changes in America’s shopping infrastructure. Third-quarter estimates of U.S. ecommerce activity will be released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday, just before the make-or-break holiday-shopping season. (Subscription required)

Foursquare Has Figured Out the Hottest Restaurants Around America Right Now (Tech Insider)
Foursquare’s “Trending This Week,” a list of new places to eat and drink in several cities, recently went live in the Foursquare app. Foursquare is honing in on being a direct competitor to Yelp, with more of a focus on personalization and discovery.

Google Crowdsources Business Listing Corrections and Map Edits with Expanded Local Guides Program (TechCrunch)
Google is expanding its Local Guides program, which rewards users for providing information on area businesses. The update allows guides to earn points by correcting information and answering questions, among other things. Guides will be able to track their work and progress in a new tab integrated directly within Google Maps.

VarageSale Is One of the First Craigslist Competitors to Add In-App Payments (Recode)
There’s a battle brewing to become the Craigslist of the app world, and VarageSale thinks a new feature will help give it an edge. The community-focused classifieds app is giving some customers a way to pay for purchases digitally instead of having to rely on face-to-face cash payments, as they do with Craigslist and other competitors.

Will Offline and Store-Visit Tracking Become Mandatory? (LSA Insider)
Greg Sterling: There’s clear momentum at the enterprise and brand level for visibility into offline visits and actions. Facebook’s new Local Insights tool makes that data available to SMBs. My belief is that once they get a taste of this information, they’re going to expect it broadly from the marketing providers they work with. It may become a competitive disadvantage not to be able to deliver this type of information.

2016 Is the Year of the Millennial Customer: Is Your Customer Experience Ready? (Forbes)
Micah Solomon: Younger customers, through years of experience with online and self-service solutions, have grown used to the way technology can reduce the need for human gatekeepers to ensure accuracy and manage data. So the last thing they want is for your employees to gum up the works without adding value.

Microsoft Invented Google Earth in the 90s, Then Totally Blew It (Motherboard)
With its ill-fated interactive map of the world, Terraserver, Microsoft gleaned an enormous amount of information about general web behavior, but it saw Terraserver as simply a novelty project. Still, Microsoft learned, maybe even before Google, that most search is local.

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