Taxi and ride-sharing apps such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are gearing up for one of the busiest nights of the year on Monday, hoping to raise prices, boost drivers’ income – and head off criticism from passengers and lawmakers for doing so.
Uber was given a rough ride by some customers after last New Year’s Eve, when they awoke not only with sore heads but lighter (digital) wallets due to the limo- and taxi-hire service’s “surge pricing”.
At times of peak demand, Uber pushes through price rises of up to four times as much as its regular fares, which are automatically charged to a credit card at the end of the journey.
Although it flagged the increases last year, some passengers – perhaps after a few drinks – failed to notice the warnings and ended up paying over $100 for short rides. Read more
Comparing Apple’s new iMac, reviewed in this week’s Personal Technology column, with HP’s Spectre One all-in-one, there are some striking similarities in the design decisions taken.
Sony’s Vaio Tap 20 and Lenovo’s A720, also reviewed recently take different approaches to the category, one adding a touchscreen and portability with its built-in battery, the other’s mechanism allowing it to lay flat if necessary. But the iMac and Spectre One are like Mac and PC equivalents. Read more
The so-called PayPal mafia is a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley: Max Levchin joining the Yahoo board is just the latest example of a network that spans Facebook, YouTube, Yammer, LinkedIn, Square and – with Elon Musk’s SpaceX – the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.
In the British start-up world, the closest analogy is Lovefilm. The DVDs-by-post turned video-on-demand service was acquired by Amazon in January 2011, but even before that, had started the careers of many London tech-scene notables.
Now, Adam Valkin – a co-founder and sometime chief executive of Lovefilm, who went on to join TV producer Endemol and, three years ago, Accel Partners’ London office – is helping to take the Lovefilm mafia abroad. Read more
When Google launched its AdSense network to push advertising to third-party websites, it already had a massively successful advertising business on Google.com.
Facebook hasn’t reached that point yet – so it makes sense that it has pulled back from testing third-party advertising to get the basic product right first. Read more
The internet consumer loans company Lending Club has certainly attracted some big names to its board: former Morgan Stanley boss John Mack, internet analyst-turned venture capitalist Mary Meeker – and now Larry Summers, a former US Treasury secretary.
It’s all a sign that the barriers to consumer finance are crumbling for a new wave of start-ups, Mr Summers tells us. Read more