Sep 26, 2018

Living in a tech giant's lab

Erica Pandey, author of @Work

A visitor at Alibaba's Hangzhou campus. Photo: Wang He/Getty

There are a handful of perks to living in the hometown of a global tech titan — among them, thousands of high-paying jobs, bustling shops and restaurants and first access to the coolest new tech.

What's going on: Seattle, Hangzhou, and Columbus, Ohio are among a lucky few places that have become lab cities for the cutting-edge technologies of the future. Here, companies roll out their new concepts for shops, cars and hotels, and work out the kinks before peddling them to the rest of the world.

  • Amazon opened its first cashier-less Go store in Seattle, and has since expanded to New York and Chicago. The e-commerce giant also first used Seattle to test its "Treasure Truck," which drives around cities and offers discounts on an item of the day, per NYT.
  • Alibaba has partnered with Marriott hotels in its hometown of Hangzhou to offer facial recognition check-in. Some of the Chinese behemoth's retail ideas — like AI-powered shopping — start out in its employee canteen.
  • Columbus, Ohio has become a hotbed of retail experimentation and a lab city in its own right, reports NYT. Eddie Bauer has opened an ice box where shoppers can test how warm their winter jackets really are. And DSW — which actually does call the city home — is piloting cobbler services.
  • Uber and Lyft pitted Uber Express Pool and Lyft Shuttle against one another in San Francisco before expanding elsewhere.
  • Walmart had a wild last mile delivery idea, which had employees dropping off groceries on their way home. It didn't live long, but some residents of Bentonville, Arkansas, did get to give it a try.

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Cleveland police informed media outlets on Sunday that they are included in the city's downtown curfew, which began at noon and runs until 8 a.m. on Monday, police said. Cleveland police tweeted earlier that curfew violators are subject to arrest.

The big picture: Protests have continued across the country for six days, as demonstrators call for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd and other other black Americans who have died in police custody or who have been killed in racist attacks.

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo outside the CNN Center during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, May 29. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

Driving the news: The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless "they are inside their place of business" — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tanker truck plows into Minneapolis protesters

The tanker after plowing into protesters on the shut-down bridge in Minneapolis on Sunday evening. Authorities said it appeared protesters escaped injury. Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minnesota authorities said in a statement they're investigating as a criminal matter what happened with a truck that "drove into demonstrators" on a Minneapolis bridge Sunday evening while the eight-lane road was closed for a protest.

What they're saying: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn't appear any protesters were hit by the truck."