Digital Down Low: October 21
Facebook Adds New Buttons For Local Discovery
- According to Marketing Land, Facebook wants to be the mobile solution for local businesses. It also sees itself increasingly as a local commerce platform for consumers. The company’s recent introductions of Marketplace and its Events app are indications of a full court press into local. Facebook is adding more tools for consumers and business owners such as, booking and ordering for Pages, social recommendations and local event discovery. The most significant of these new tools is online food ordering and the ability to buy tickets and book appointments on Pages through “call to action” buttons.
- This new functionality is accomplished through an ecosystem of third-party partnerships, which Facebook will continue to grow. Launch partnerships include Booker, BookingBug, Front Desk, HomeAdvisor, MyTime, Pingup, Schedulicity, Setster and Simplybook.me. Users will be able to buy event tickets through EventBrite and Ticketmaster, as well as movie tickets through Fandango. Facebook users will also be able to request a quote from businesses using Porch or TalkLocal.
- Users will be able to include recommended business Pages in their comments, which will then be plotted on a map. This becomes another discovery tool for local business owners, albeit one they don’t control. Right now, there’s no public way to access social recommendations (e.g., via search). Only people in your network can see or provide recommendations. But this helps pave the way for a more public tool to discover recommended local businesses on Facebook. Taken together, these announcements make Facebook more useful and utilitarian for local discovery and commerce. It also makes Facebook much more of a “one-stop shop” marketing platform for local business owners.
Meet The Gaming Company Wants Kids To Take A Slice Of Pizza Topped With Entrepreneurship
- According to Tech Crunch, educational game-maker Osmo is tackling a subject that’s close to CEO Pramod Sharma’s heart — entrepreneurship. Co-founded by Sharma and Jérôme Scholler (both former Googlers), Osmo makes iPad games that combine touchscreen gameplay with real-world objects and physical activities in front of the screen. Past games have covered topics like coding, drawing and math.
- Sharma compared the new game, Pizza Co., to the lemonade stand that many kids have operated in the past. The goal is to give players a fun way to understand what goes into running a business, and also help them practice skills like arithmetic and pattern recognition. So if the lemonade stand is the model, why go with pizza? Sharma’s answer is simple: “Kids love pizza.” The game’s physical components include a pizza pan and different toppings. Kids play by assembling pizzas based on customer’s orders. The game also comes with play money, so kids can make change for customers after they’ve eaten. All of this physical activity is captured with Osmo’s reflective camera.
- Sharma noted that in schools, many classes already include store and cash register exercises, but he said Pizza Co. is offers a much broader experience, so that kids can start thinking about things like customer satisfaction and using revenue to grow their business. As the player’s pizza parlor becomes more successful, they can start spending their profits on upgrades like nicer decorations or a faster-working pizza oven. They can also become mini pizza tycoons, buying up other pizza parlors. The main game is designed for kids 7-12, and there’s a “junior” setting for 5- and 6-year-olds.
Discover How Uber Transformed Itself Into A Robotics Company
- According to Mashable, if you still had doubts that Uber sees driverless cars as the future of its business, the company’s CEO just cleared things up. Speaking Wednesday at Vanity Fair‘s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, Travis Kalanick said that Uber, which recently began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, is on the path to becoming a robotics company. The statement came in response to a question about where Uber’s top executive sees the company in next five to seven years. Kalanick, who has previously described Uber as a “logistics company,” said the company was increasingly moving toward becoming a robotics company.
- Kalanick also confirmed that the company is currently testing a few of its self-driving cars in the streets of San Francisco, though they are focused on mapping, rather than picking up passengers as those in Pittsburgh do. “As we move towards the future, autonomy is a pretty critical thing for us — it’s existential,” he said, though he was quick to point out that the technology wouldn’t be ready to replace human drivers entirely for quite awhile.
- The CEO also dropped a few new statistics: the ride-hailing app now counts more than 40 million monthly active users around the world. Furthermore, Uber drivers made between $1.5 billion and $2 billion last month, with the average rider spending about $50 a month in the app. He also addressed a potential IPO, though, as with previous times when the subject has come up, he reiterated that onlookers shouldn’t be expecting one anytime soon.