Weekly Roundup: May 11th

Uncategorized May 11, 2014 5:47 pm

*Originally published on R/GA FutureVision. Happy reading!

Industry News: Everyone’s Private Driver

  • Last month, Uber announced that the service was now available in 100 cities worldwide. And while their “Everyone’s private driver” tagline should still come with the asterisk, *in major metropolitan areas only*, the ride-sharing service is well on its way to fulfilling that promise. Over the past few months, Uber has been actively trying to make driving for the service more attractive, revamping the company’s insurance policy as well as making deals with GM and Toyota to discount the price of a new car purchase. While the company hasn’t grown without controversy- it still faces regulatory hurdles as it moves into every new city and has been criticized for surge pricing, Uber has appealed to riders through the service’s simplicity, expanding automatic payment with fare-splitting last summer. And this week, Uber announced UberFamily, a new service that will enable families to order a ride with a car seat.
  • Both fare-splitting and the new family-focused option will surely help Uber grow its reach around the world, but perhaps the biggest boon to the growing service is the announcement of an integration with Google Maps. Uber app users will now see an “get an uber” option alongside walking and public transit directions within Google Maps. The addition brings Uber top-of-mind for travelers, and makes the service an increasingly competitive choice in existing and new markets. Sorry, Lyft, you’re going to need more than just fancy new cars to stay relevant.

Social News: Pinterest Power

  • Pinterest earns credit for two major accolades: growing the “visual web” trend and giving women around the world a place to document their recipes and crafts. In the past four years, users have “pinned” more than 30 billion items; the top three categories of pins include food & drink, DIY and crafts, and home decor. This information is part of a recent study from RJ Metrics, which also found that the most popularly pinned domain on the site is Etsy, which makes sense based on the popularity of DIY and crafts on the site. Earlier this year, Pinterest introduced an easier way to search for recipes, which also coincides with the top category of food & drink.
  • And what about home decor? Pinterest’s influence is getting the attention it deserves with it’s own TV show. A&E will debut a new home design show, “We’re Moving In,” where contestants will draw inspiration from Pinterest boards.

Retail News: Can Google Bridge The Online/Offline Shopping Experience?

  • A new study from eMarketer predicts U.S. ecommerce sales will rise 15.5% in 2014 to reach 6.4% of total retail sales. While online sales remain a small portion of total sales, the report also looks at the influence of digital channels in the purchase path. “Webrooming” and “showrooming” are rising trends, with consumers searching for products online before purchasing them in store, and vice versa. It will become increasingly important for retailers to adopt a singular view of the shopping experience (look to Apple and the hiring of Angela Ahrendts as the SVP of retail and online stores) rather than silo consumers into online or offline channels. Google is leading the way in targeting this omnichannel shopper, introducing a Google Now card that shows consumers products they’ve researched online when they’re physically near a brick-and-mortar store. Much simpler than some beacon experiments we’ve seen that attempt to link online and offline behavior through multiple arduous steps that would dissuade even the most loyal customer.
  • Google also announced the expansion of Google Shopping Express to Manhattan and Los Angeles shoppers this week, competing directly with Amazon to provide same-day-delivery service. The verdict? The service had to stop accepting new orders in Manhattan at noon the day of launch due to system overload. It’s clear there is a huge demand for on-demand delivery, but that hurdles remain, even for behemoths like Google and Amazon.

Long Reads: Why?

  • Why software is the most critical factor in wearable device adoption: .
  • Why Super Bowl ads ditched bravado and tried to make you cry.
  • Why do we order more food online?
  • Why Threesis the perfect mobile game and 2048 sucks.

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