A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Facebook Messenger Now Lets You Hail Uber Rides (The Next Web)
Facebook and Uber are teaming up to allow users to request rides through Facebook Messenger, yet another way that Facebook is testing out different services within the communication-focused app. For Uber, this is one of two big headlines today — the startup is also partnering with the chat-based shopping assistant Operator to further implement its logistics layer strategy.
Google’s Plan for Self-Driving Cars Means It Will Have to Compete with Uber (Recode)
A few months ago, Google maintained that its self-driving car unit was not a separate Alphabet company but could be “at some point in the future.” That point is next year, according to a report that claims Google is planning to deploy driverless fleets as rides for hire.
Is the Humble Phone Call Actually the Killer App for Local Businesses? (Street Fight)
Mark Sullivan: It turns out reports of voice calling’s death are greatly exaggerated. Despite an explosion in data usage and mobile messaging, voice calling — facilitated by search and virtual assistants — remains a popular activity among mobile users. A lot of those calls are going to local businesses, where they are more likely to convert to revenue than web forms or emails.
Brand Relevance and Revenue in the Age of Snapchat (Nieman Lab)
Alisha Ramos: While publishers will continue to gain confidence in content generation in the new distributed platform world, in 2016 they’ll have to face the gaping hole of revenue generation on these platforms — which until now has been an afterthought.
Basket’s New App Helps You Find the Best Prices on Groceries (TechCrunch)
A number of apps let you check prices and comparison shop for things like clothing, electronics, housewares, and more, but what about everyday purchases like groceries? A new mobile app called Basket wants to bring price transparency to consumers’ weekly grocery shopping trips, while also helping them find unadvertised sales on their favorite products.
6 Reasons Why Hyperlocal Tech Initiatives Continue to Elude Consumers (Street Fight)
Avi Lambert and Nick Kellet: Hyperlocal is a totally logical concept in the minds of technologists, analysts, and investors, but many hyperlocal tech initiatives have yet to catch fire with consumers. Part of the challenge is people are creatures of habit. Here are six reasons why hyperlocal tech will continue to elude consumers’ grasp in 2016.
eBay Will Be Popping Up in Shopping Malls (Fortune)
Holiday hoppers will soon see a new ecommerce store in brick-and-mortar malls: eBay. The marketplace is installing temporary outposts where people can bring objects to list online.
Belly Allows Merchants Mobile Access to Customer Engagement Tools (TechCrunch)
Belly, a loyalty rewards startup, is aiming to give merchants more easily accessible information about their customers. An update to its iOS app gives merchants “insight into customer data, in-store visits, and reward redemptions, and the ability to view and edit customer accounts and set up and send automated marketing campaigns.”
Lyft Hires Former Foursquare Executive Evan Cohen to Lead East Coast Operations (Reuters)
Lyft has hired a startup veteran, Foursquare exec Evan Cohen, to lead its East Coast operations, the latest sign the ride-hailing company is ramping up efforts to win over regulators and beat back competitors in key cities like New York.
Bringg Raises $5 Million So Any Business Can Offer an Uber-Like Experience (TechCrunch)
A startup called Bringg aims to help established businesses better compete with the likes of Amazon and Uber. The company has raised $5 million to further develop a web and mobile platform that allows businesses to move into the on-demand era by bringing Uber-like visibility to any delivery operation. (Read the recent Street Fight guest post by Bringg’s Mark Lerner.)