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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Uber Eats test lets restaurants trade discounts for ranking boost

Uber Eats has effectively invented its own native ad unit. Uber confirmed to TechCrunch that a test quietly running in markets around India allows restaurants to bundle several food items together and sell them at a discounted price in exchange for promoted placement by Uber Eats in a featured section of local “Specials”. In some cases, restaurants foot the cost of the discount, while in others Uber pays for the discounts.

The Uber Specials feature demonstrates the massive leverage awarded to food delivery apps that aggregate restaurants. Users often come to Uber Eats and its competitors without a specific restaurant in mind. Uber can then point those customers to whichever food supplier it prefers. The suppliers in turn will increasingly compete for the favor the aggregators — not just in terms of food quality, speed, and review scores, but also in terms of discounts. The aggregators will win users if they offer the best deals, creating a network effect makes restaurants more keen to play ball.

TechCrunch first learned of Uber’s ambitions in the space from a mock-up of the Promoted Items Value Section feature spotted in its app by mobile researcher and frequent TC tipster Jane Manchun Wong. The fictional food items included “Best Beer” that “is made from only the finest gutter swill” and “Weird Fries” that “will so utterly decimate your sense of good food that you will be permanently reduced to a whimpering shell of your former self!” This jokey text that seemingly was never meant for public viewing also noted that the fries are so good you should “throw all your other food in the garbage right now!” Uber assured us these weren’t real.

But what it did confirm is that the discounts for promoted placement test is live in India. “We’re always experimenting with ways to make it easier to find your favorite foods on Uber Eats”, according to a statement provided by an Uber spokesperson.

The feature allows restaurants to create a bundled meal at certain price point, such as a chicken sandwich, french fries, and a drink at a price that’s less than the sum of its parts. The company tells me the goal is to take the friction out of ordering by giving people pre-set meals at a better price prominently available in the app. Attracting more customers that have plenty of other options could offset the discount. Businesses could also use it to bundle high margin items like soft drinks in with meals, or to get rid of overstock.

Ben Thompson’s aggregation theory describes how power accrues to aggregators that match supply with demand

It’s already common for restaurants to make ‘specials’ out of food they have too much of. That butternut squash ravioli might only be featured because they can’t get rid of it. In that sense, you could think of Uber Specials as the inverse of surge pricing. When supply is too high, restaurants can offer discounts to gain more demand. It’s also not far off from Google Search’s keyword ads where business pay for more visibility.

Uber wouldn’t discuss whether it plans to bring the strategy to other markets, but it makes sense to assume it’s considering expansion. Done wrong, it could look a bit like Uber Eats is pressuring restaurants to surrender discounts if they want to be discoverable inside its app. If restaurants within Uber Eats get into heated competition to offer discounts, it could drive down their profits. But done right, Specials could look like a triple-win. Restaurants can offload surplus and bundle in high margin items while scoring new customers from enhanced placement, customers get cheaper food options, and Uber Eats becomes people’s go-to app for easy-to-order discounted meals.


Source: TechCrunch

The RX 590 is a solid midrange GPU, but it won’t move the needle for AMD

AMD’s latest entry in the RX 500-series hopes to steal the spotlight back from away from Nvidia, at least when it comes to mid-range budgets. While RX 590 is the most powerful graphics card you can get for under $300, it won’t win over many Nvidia fans.

The post The RX 590 is a solid midrange GPU, but it won’t move the needle for AMD appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Microsoft may ditch Edge for a new Chromium-based web browser

Microsoft’s Edge browser may have just a few months left to live. New rumors suggest that the software giant is replacing its Windows 10 browser with something based on Google’s Chromium rendering engine.

The post Microsoft may ditch Edge for a new Chromium-based web browser appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

AMD plans ray tracing cards, looks to compete with Nvidia’s premium GPUs in 2019

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX series may soon no longer be left unchallenged. AMD CEO Lisa Su confirmed that her company will be readying a premium GPU in 2019 to take on Nvidia and gave hints about ray tracing support in the future.

The post AMD plans ray tracing cards, looks to compete with Nvidia’s premium GPUs in 2019 appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Madrid authorities order Lime, Wind, and Voi to halt e-scooter sharing in the Spanish city

More evidence has emerged that the e-scooter sharing market faces a bumpy ride, as news circulates that authorities in Madrid have revoked licenses for all three operators in the city.

Lime, Wind and Voi, are being given a maximum of 72 hours to remove scooters from the city’s streets, whilst I understand the follows a recent change in mobility laws in Madrid that stipulate where and at what speed e-scooters can be driven.

Specifically, e-scooters can only operate in designated bike lanes and on only roads that have a speed limit below 30 kilometres per hour. Sidewalk and pedestrian areas were also recently banned following Spain’s first death from a e-scooter accident in August.

Meanwhile, my sources in Madrid tell me a meeting has just taken place between the city’s transport authorities to presumably find a resolution for the conflict. What the outcome of those talks are isn’t yet known, although the path to compliance may actually be relatively simple.

Lime, Wind and VOI will need to make changes to their respective apps, which could include geo-fencing where the e-scooters can be ridden, as well as communicating those restriction to users and legally enforcing them via their terms of service. In other words, this may yet prove to be little more than a speed bump in the current e-scooter frenzy.

Asked to comment on the situation in Madrid, Voi — which has made a virtue out of its ability to work with local governments and transport authorities – issued the following statement:

Voi is working closely with the authorities in Madrid to make sure that our app complies fully with the city’s new guidelines. We are confident that we will be able to get our scooters back on the streets of Madrid in a short time, to help residents and visitors travel around the city quickly and safely, in an environmentally-friendly, low-impact way.

I’ve also reached out to Lime and Wind and will update this article if and when I hear back.


Source: TechCrunch

Bose Frames audio sunglasses arrive in January, cost $199 – CNET

With Frames, Bose says it’s taking microacoustics and voice control to a new level. It’s the tiniest Bose system ever.
Source: CNET

Byton still confident its EVs will hit the US in 2020, report says – Roadshow

Even though its main assembly facility will be in China, and thus subject to US tariffs, the startup automaker doesn’t seem concerned.
Source: CNET

No 5G iPhone in 2019? Verizon CEO isn't worried – CNET

Verizon said he’s focused on some of the 5G smartphones that carrier plans to launch next year.
Source: CNET

Amazfit Verge comes to the US on Dec. 18 for $160 – CNET

No nonsense smartwatch features Android phone support, fitness tracking and GPS for a low price.
Source: CNET

FortressIQ raises $12M to bring new AI twist to process automation

FortressIQ, a startup that wants to bring a new kind of artificial intelligence to process automation called imitation learning, emerged from stealth this morning and announced it has raised $12 million.

The Series A investment came entirely from a single venture capital firm, Light Speed Venture Partners. Today’s funding comes on top of $4 million in seed capital the company raised previously from Boldstart Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Eniac Ventures.

Pankaj Chowdhry, founder and CEO of FortressIQ, says that his company basically replaces high-cost consultants who are paid to do time and motion studies and automates that process in a fairly creative way. It’s a bit like Robotics Process Automation (RPA), a space that is attracting a lot of investment right now, but instead of simply recording what’s happening on the desktop, and reproducing that digitally, it takes it a step further in a process called “imitation learning.”

“We want to be able to replicate human behavior through observation. We’re targeting this idea of how can we help people understand their processes. But imitation learning is I think the most interesting area of artificial intelligence because it focuses not on what AI can do, but how can AI learn and adapt,” he explained

They start by capturing a low-bandwidth movie of the process. “So we build virtual processors. And basically the idea is we have an agent that gets deployed by your enterprise IT group, and it integrates into the video card,” Chowdhry explained.

He points out that it’s not actually using a camera, but it captures everything going on, as a person interacts with a Windows desktop. In that regard it’s similar to RPA. “The next component is our AI models and computer vision. And we build these models that can literally watch the movie and transcribe the movie into what we call a series of software interactions,” he said.

Another key differentiator here is that they have built a data mining component on top of this, so if the person in the movie is doing something like booking an invoice, and stops to check email or Slack, FortressIQ can understand when an activity isn’t part of the process and filters that out automatically.

The product will be offered as a cloud service. Chowdhry’s previous company, Third Pillar Systems, was acquired by Genpact in 2013.


Source: TechCrunch

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