Street Fight Daily: As Echo Upgrades, Microsoft Releases Rival, Deliveroo Eats Up Competitor Maple

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

Amazon Plans to Unveil New Echo (WSJ) Inc. is due to unveil a new Echo speaker with a screen that will incorporate video calling capabilities, according to people familiar with the matter, keeping the online retailer one step ahead of tech rivals in seeking to control smart homes. WSJ: Microsoft to release Echo rival, the Invoke, via Samsung in the fall.

Empyr Takes the Wraps Off New Cost-Per-Revenue, Performance Marketing Platform (Street Fight)
Empyr has revealed a new performance marketing platform that can verify when campaigns send customers to brick-and-mortar locations to make purchases. The promise is that it would let marketers better focus their spending on ads that deliver verified foot traffic.

Food Delivery Startup Maple Shuts Down and Sells to Deliveroo After Raising $29 Million (VentureBeat)
Manhattan-based Maple, a startup that prepared and delivered meals without the help of restaurants, is shutting down after launching nearly two years ago and raising $29 million from Thrive, Greenoaks, and New York food deity David Chang.

Why Google Play Sees Complementary Roles for Travel and Local Apps (Street Fight)
A few taps is all it takes with an app to book travel arrangements or order dinner — and while those sound like vastly different services they can intersect in numerous ways, according to Jeena James, global head of travel and local for Google Play. James caught up with us recently to discuss how apps can be contextual on multiple levels.

Now Profitable, Patch Wants to Be a Platform for Other Local News Outlets (Digiday)
AOL’s onetime struggling experiment in hyperlocal news has returned to its feet after the portal sold it in 2014. Now profitable, it wants to help other local news outlets fight for survival.

Warren Buffett Confirms the Death of Retail As We Know It (Business Insider)
“I have no illusion that 10 years from now will look the same as today, and there will be a few things along the way that surprise us,” he said. “The world has evolved, and it’s going to keep evolving, but the speed is increasing.”

The New York Times’ Digital Business Has More Than Doubled in the Last Six Years (Recode)
The New York Times can thank an uptick in subscribers — specifically digital subscribers — for its positive earnings report last week. The Times’ digital subscription effort, at first controversial, is now its most important source of revenue growth and shows how it can become a digital-only publisher.

Is the Gig Economy Working? (New Yorker)
Some on-demand workers are part-timers seeking survival work, akin to the comedian who waits tables on the side. For growing numbers, though, gigging is not only a living but a life. Many observers see it as something more: the future of American work.

City-Stream Provides Real-Time Road Data (TechCrunch)
CityStream from Nexar harnesses the company’s dashcam app and allows municipalities to make use of the crowdsourced data. The idea is to share traffic patterns and behaviors so that cities can tweak routing and make infrastructure changes based on how cars are actually using roads day to day.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]