Street Fight Daily: Uber Phasing Out Surge in Favor of Upfront Pricing, Apple’s Reply to Echo

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

Uber Switches Out Surge for Price Transparency (TechCrunch)
No more pop-ups asking you to agree to those murky “2.1x” (or some other “x” amount) surge fares on the Uber app. Soon Uber will just tell you the price of your ride up front. Uber’s product team has been testing the idea of offering the exact cost of the ride in select cities throughout the U.S. and India since April and says it believes riders are more likely to take another Uber in the future if they see the trip price upfront.

Street Culture: G/O Digital Building Community via Nerf Wars (Street Fight)
The right way to build a company culture: it’s different for every company, every leadership team, and every squad of employees. CEO Tim Fagan says that when G/O spun off from TEGNA, the strategy to build culture was intentionally developed with just three short, simple values: accountability, quality, and urgency.

Why We Might Not See An Echo-Like Device From Apple (Recode)
Carolina Milanesi: The pressure is on for Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google and deliver a dedicated home device for Siri. Or at least this is what the current narrative would like you to think about how Apple is positioned in the race to the AI promised land.

#SFSW16 VIDEO: At the Intersection of Travel and Local (Street Fight
The kinds of connections being made between travelers exploring a new city and local businesses are similar to those that people make when they are looking for goods and services at home. And Airbnb has made it clear over the past couple of years that the company wants to help travelers “live like a local.”

Google Takes Steps to ‘Democratize Programmatic’ for Buyers (AdExchanger)
Google is building a technology platform that will underpin two of its buy-side solutions: DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), a DSP and ad server for large advertisers, and Google Display Network (GDN), where search advertisers and small advertisers play.

Why Retailers Should Not Overreact to the Voice Search Revolution (Search Engine Land)
Andy Taylor: Taking a look at the search queries triggering paid and organic results for retail brands using Google’s paid and organic reporting in AdWords, there hasn’t been much movement over the past couple of years for a few key query attributes that would indicate a major shift in search behavior.

E-Retailers Starts to Look More Like Mom-and-Pop Specialty Stores (Business Insider)
The biggest change in E-commerce 2.0 is the number of players in the game and the personalization they can provide. Specialty retailers such as Blue Apron are populating the e-commerce ranks now. After the age of mom-and-pop-store dominance, the big-box retailers came to town, followed by their online equivalents like Amazon. Now, we are seeing customers shopping at specialty online stores, more similar to the small mom-and-pops America started with than the giant behemoths.

Facebook Plays Favorites with Publishers (Digiday)
A small group of high-profile publishers have the equivalent of a platform black card: they’re called on to help create and test new features and are first to launch them, giving them more time to test and learn. Three indisputable platform darlings are The New York Times, CNN and BuzzFeed.

Restaurants Are Using This Method to Keep Consumers Back (Business Insider)
Many of the best restaurant apps on both Android and iOS devices have failed to truly attract U.S. consumers, according to a new report from app engagement company Applause. But there are several notable examples of companies that are not only successfully engaging customers, but succeeding in driving consumer spending. The addition of loyalty programs, mobile order-ahead, and favorite order features boost the engagement of apps that have them and negatively affect apps that do not.

Lyft and General Motors Expand Car Rental Program (Recode)
The expansion of the program is not just important because it gives potential Lyft drivers without cars, or who don’t want to use their personal vehicles, access to a car (thus helping Lyft scale its driver base), but also because it’s setting up the foundation for Lyft and GM’s network of self-driving cars.

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