Street Fight Daily: Inside the Self-Driving Uber Experience, Billy Penn’s Sister Site Launches

By Joseph Zappa, Street Fight Daily

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

Uber Starts Self-Driving Car Pickups: Here’s a Peek Into the Experience (TechCrunch)
Signe Brewster: This is not a bid at launching the first fully formed autonomous cars. Instead, this is a research exercise. Uber wants to learn and refine how self driving cars act in the real world. That includes how the cars react to passengers — and how passengers react to them.

The Incline, Billy Penn’s New Sister Site, Launches in Pittsburgh (Nieman Lab)
Nearly two years after launching Billy Penn in Philadelphia, Jim Brady’s Spirited Media on Tuesday debuted its second local news site, The Incline. Like Billy Penn in Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh site will focus on attracting a younger audience through events and aggregation in addition to original reporting.

Will the Physical Web Help Retailers Reduce Annoying Ads? (Street Fight)
Alex Membrillo: While still in its infancy, and not yet realized, the physical web will prove to be an asset to franchisees looking to connect, and engage with, potential customers from their surrounding neighborhood ­– without barraging them with untimely and irrelevant messaging.

Nextdoor is Launching in the UK and Plans to Make Money in 2017 (Recode)
The San Francisco-based startup launched in the Netherlands in February, its first international market, but the U.K. is a much larger — and hopefully more profitable — area for Nextdoor to be in, explained CEO Nirav Tolia.

Amazon’s Echo Is Finally Being Released in the UK and Germany (Business Insider)
Amazon has announced that it will release its Amazon Echo speaker in the UK and Germany, over a year after it was first made available in the US. A number of British companies are developing support for the Echo so their services can be accessed from the device in the UK, including The Telegraph, Just Eat, and National Rail.

6 Click-to-Text Tools for Local Businesses (Street Fight)
Seventy-five percent of millennials prefer to text versus call on their mobile phones, according to a survey by the mobile engagement platform OpenMarket, and 76% prefer to receive texts from businesses because they say texting is more convenient and less disruptive.

Yelp, TripAdvisor Gain Legal Cover for Negative Reviews (Wall Street Journal)
Online review sites gained some added legal cover this week after Congress advanced a bill that makes it harder for businesses to sue customers over negative reviews and a federal court ruled in favor of Yelp in one dispute.

Estimote’s Mirror Beacon Allows Retailers to Target Consumers with Personalized On-Screen Content (VentureBeat)
Estimote is announcing that it that allows any video screen to serve tailored content to individuals based on their proximity and preferences. Estimote’s beacon technology is already used by 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies and organizations including the world’s top retailers, airports, museums and arenas.

Top 10 List of Local Services and Features (Local Onliner)
Peter Krasilovsky: Which local channels and features are making the biggest impact — either solo or as part of the “platform” of local enhancers and enablers now available? Here’s Local Onliner’s 2016-17 list of what’s going to make a difference.