A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Bing’s New App Focuses on Finding Deals, Local Offers (TechCrunch)
Microsoft’s Bing is trying to carve out a niche for itself on mobile by focusing on the types of common searches and information requests people need to access while on the go. To that end, the company recently rolled out a new app with features like a barcode scanner for price comparisons, a tool to find the cheapest nearby gas prices, and a new deals browser.
Is Apple Quietly Assembling an SMB Trojan Horse? (Street Fight)
Michael Boland: Apple is co-promoting Square’s NFC reader for SMBs and selling them in Apple Stores. The $49 reader accepts Apple Pay, which significantly lowers the barrier for SMBs to get in the game. The move should boost Apple Pay, but there also may be much bigger ambitions to lock in market share in new areas.
Deal Shows Investors Are Willing to Make a Blind Bet on Uber (New York Times)
Wealthy clients of Morgan Stanley are piling into a special fund that gives them a chance to bet on Uber, but they’re effectively handing over their money with their eyes closed. Such speculation highlights the euphoria that still surrounds a select group of Silicon Valley startups even as valuations for others decline and the public stock market stumbles.
Yelp Needs Some Help (Wall Street Journal)
Sentiment on Yelp has soured as the company grapples with rising costs and slowing user growth. Now, with fourth-quarter results on tap Monday, Yelp is getting close to falling below its IPO price for the first time. (Subscription required)
How U.K.’s Trinity Mirror Negotiates the Intersection of Journalism and Local Tech (Street Fight)
Trinity Mirror, the largest news publishing company in the U.K., launched a hyperlocal mobile ad platform called pinpoint in 2014 that allows brands to send highly targeted campaigns to smartphone users. Street Fight recently caught up with the company’s director of new businesses, Matthew Colebourne, to talk about how business models for local journalism are evolving.
Valet Startup Zirx Is Shutting Down Its Consumer Business (Business Insider)
Zirx, a startup that offers on-demand valet services, car washes, and oil refills — and counts BMW as as investor — is shutting down its consumer services and will start putting its resources entirely toward its enterprise operations.
Amazon Adds the Ability to Order an Uber from Echo (The Next Web)
Now you can order a ride with just your voice: Amazon Echo users can link their device to their Uber account to request a car and keep track of how far away it is once it’s been ordered.
You Can Now Pick Up Your Groceries at D.C. Metro Stops (Technically D.C.)
A six-month pilot of a partnership between Peapod, the online arm of grocery chain Giant, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority launched last week. Riders heading for three different D.C. metro stops can order groceries online and pick them up as they exit the station in the evening. If the pilot is successful, WMATA will seek to expand the program.