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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Electric scooters are going worldwide

Despite regulatory hurdles on a city-by-city basis, electric scooter companies and their respective services are continuing to make their way to markets all over the world. Earlier this week, for example, Lime announced its entrance into Madrid, launching hundreds of electric scooters in the Spanish capital. About a week before that, competitor Bird launched in Paris and laid out its intentioned to bring electric scooters to Tel Aviv.

As Bird expands to international markets, it’s worth noting that competitor Lime has operated its bikes and scooters outside of the U.S. for quite some time. Last December, Lime brought its bikes to a number of European cities and in June, Lime brought its scooters to Paris. Lime also recently raised a $335 million round and teamed up with transportation behemoth Uber.

Nationwide, Bird, Lime, Spin, Goat and Skip have collectively deployed scooters in 33 cities. Outside of the U.S., you’ll find scooters from those companies in just three cities.

Bird and Lime are by no means the only companies working in this space, but they’re the two that have raised most the capital. Bird has raised $415 million in funding while Lime has raised $467 million. Bird and Lime are also the only two U.S.-based scooter companies that have gone international.

Over in the U.S., of course, the competitive landscape is an entirely different story. California is the main hot spot for scooters in the U.S., but they have also popped up in Texas, Washington D.C., North Carolina and other states throughout the country.

 

Unsurprisingly, regulation has proved to be an issue for many of these companies. In San Francisco, the Municipal Transportation Agency is currently reviewing permit applications from 12 electric scooter services — including ones from Lyft, Uber and Razor — looking to operate in the city. The permit process came as a result of Bird, Lime and Spin deploying their electric scooters without permission in the city in March. Fast forward to today and electric scooters are nowhere to be found on the streets of San Francisco.

The SFMTA initially said it expected to make a decision about which five, if any, companies would receive permits by the end of June. The SFMTA expects to finalize its recommendations and documentation “in the coming weeks,” the SFMTA wrote in a blog post last month. Once that’s done, the agency says it will work with companies to finalize and clarify the terms and conditions of the permit. The goal, according to the blog post, is to issue permits sometime in August.

As part of the 24-month pilot program, electric scooter companies selected to operate in the city will need to provide user education and insurance, share its detailed trip data with the city, have a privacy policy that protects user data, offer a low-income plan and operate in a to-be-approved service area. The city will allow no more than 2,500 electric scooters on the streets at any one time.

Last month, Bird tried to launch its scooters in Boston but regulators quickly cracked down, saying it would impound any scooters it found. And let’s not forget the drama that unfolded in Santa Monica, where Bird first deployed its scooters.

In Austin, D.C. and Portland, Ore., it’s a slightly different scenario. Over in Austin, dockless electric scooter startup GOAT says it’s working with the city to ensure its service meets the criteria laid out by regulators. Moving forward, GOAT says it’s actively working with other cities to pursue additional operating permits. Skip, which is trying to differentiate itself by being more heavy-duty, worked with city officials and lawmakers to ensure it had the green light before launching. In Portland, both Skip and Bird have received permits to operate electric scooters in the city.

With the sheer volume of capital pouring into these companies, along with interest from ride-hailing giants Lyft and Uber, it’s clear these scooters are here to stay. Whether cities like them or not, scooters are going to roll up. It’s just a matter of when and how many.


Source: TechCrunch

Invisible Mouse Clicks Let Hackers Burrow Deep into MacOS

A former NSA hacker finds a new way malware can take control of a Mac’s mouse for a powerful intrusion technique.
Source: Wired

NASA Parker Solar Probe launches on historic mission to high-five the sun – CNET

The probe will race closer to the sun than we’ve ever been before to learn more about the solar flares that disrupt our technology.
Source: CNET

NASA launches Parker Solar Probe video – CNET

Watch NASA launch one of the most ambitious missions to “touch” the sun with the Parker Solar Probe. The Probe will travel within 4 million miles of the Sun to study solar winds and learn how our home star affects weather patterns in space.
Source: CNET

New Hellboy movie: Release date, cast, plot, theories – CNET

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has given the go-ahead for a David Harbour-led reboot of the beloved comic series.
Source: CNET

The Techies Turning Kenya Into a Silicon Savannah

The country is home to a $1 billion tech scene.
Source: Wired

Spotify runs test in Australia, allowing users to skip ads at any time, potentially boosting targeting and revenues

If you want to test out a feature on a large, well-known, global, platform, there’s a very simple solution: Test it in Australia. At a population of 24 million and with a predominantly Western culture, it’s a large enough test bed and small enough market, so ideal for testing new features before (maybe) rolling them out globally. And that’s exactly what Spotify appears to be doing in testing out how it can tweak its advertising platform to take the fight to the likes of Pandora and other competitors.

Advertising Age reports today that it’s running a test in Australia which will let listeners skip audio and video adverts at any time while the ad is playing. This is instead of having a preset time limit to listen to or watch the advert which can’t be skipped. They’ll be able to do this any time they want, as often as they want, and the new feature will also let them jump straight back into the music.

The feature (well, it’s still a test feature after all) is called “Active Media.” In it, advertisers won’t have to pay for any ads that are skipped. It’s a high risk strategy because clearly Spotify may get less ad revenue in the short-term, while the algorithm is trained to serve ads that consumers will in fact listen to. But Australia’s smaller market means any lost revenue will be relatively small.

AdAge quote Danielle Lee, global head of partner solutions at Spotify, saying the move is about tailoring the ads to users’ tastes, so similar to Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” feature, which does the same for music.

It’s a smart move, since, by allowing users to spend longer on the ads they actually do like, Spotify will get better data on the ads which work best for that particular user, and thus sell better-targeted ads which, in turn, will have a higher premium.

“Our hypothesis is if we can use this to fuel our streaming intelligence, and deliver a more personalized experience and a more engaging audience to our advertisers, it will improve the outcomes that we can deliver for brands,” Lee said.

Plus, a user listening to a better-targeted advert in full is worth more than blasting adverts to consumers who may ultimately be put off the platform for being forced to listen to adverts. They’d also listen to fewer ads overall, thus keeping the platform ‘sticky’.

Spotify says advertisers won’t have to pay for any ads that are skipped. If things go well, it’s likely the feature will expand globally.

Spotify previously reported in July that it closed the second quarter of the year with 180 million monthly active users. This is up 30 percent year-over-year. It now have over 101 million ad-supported users in 65 markets globally. Total ad revenue has reached $158 million, up 20 percent. Automated ad sales are growing quickly and accounted for more than 20 percent of ad revenue, the company reported.


Source: TechCrunch

iPhone X and Siri need to find and organize my photos faster – CNET

Commentary: Photos Memories is a solid step in the right direction, but Apple should go further to help sort and locate my photographic gems.
Source: CNET

From sails to subs: 400 years of shipbuilding at the Chatham Historic Dockyard – CNET

For four centuries, the Dockyard at Chatham built ships for the Royal Navy and her allies. Today it’s a massive museum, with ships from the age of steam, WWII and the Cold War. Here’s the full tour.
Source: CNET

Alex Jones Tops This Week's Internet News Roundup

Last week the Infowars founder was booted from several platforms—but not Twitter.
Source: Wired

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