Yep, I’m on a plane again. Returning to San Francisco after a whirlwind trip to D.C. to do some planning with our tech team. We have some cool ideas I look forward to implementing over the coming year.
Of course, if you have ideas I’m always open. Just hit reply or drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
As new transportation options like bike and scooter rental services proliferate, ride-hailing companies are rushing to outfit their mobile apps with as many services as possible, including public transit, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
“Just like Amazon sells third-party goods, we are going to also offer third-party transportation services,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said last year. “So, we wanna kinda be the Amazon for transportation.”
Yes, but: They still have to compete with Google Maps — the 800-pound gorilla in this realm, and also their business partner.
For years, both Uber's and Lyft's U.S. apps offered only their various car ride services.
With the boom in bike and scooter rentals last year, both companies started adding new transportation options to their apps.
The big picture: Expanding their apps' services only makes these companies’ relationships with Google Maps more complicated.
Payments for transportation also remain a tricky area.
The bottom line: Uber and Lyft have an opportunity to broaden their apps' value by integrating more information and services with them. But they'll have to improve fast to best Google and persuade users that their apps are good for more than summoning a car.
Go deeper: Kia has more here.
A Tempo Automation employee prepares a circuit board assembly machine. Photo: Kaveh Waddell/Axios
Last April, we told you about Tempo Automation, which was building out a short-run manufacturing plant in San Francisco, one of the most tech-laden but also expensive cities in the country.
What we're seeing: My colleague, Kaveh Waddell, recently got a tour of the facility. Here's some of what he had to say...
"The factory floor was far from empty when Axios visited. Employees in white coats twiddled with imposing machines or typed at standing desks in a corner of the cavernous space."
While tech firms still turn mostly to China and other places with cheaper manufacturing for large-scale manufacturing, Tempo is trying to carve a niche making small batches and prototypes for companies that will trade a slightly higher cost for the benefit of getting the job done locally.
How it works: Tempo's customers upload their plans and select parts on an online form. It works a bit like a car website that lets you choose color and options before spitting out an instant quote.
Read more of Kaveh's piece here.
The U.S. is home to Uber and Lyft, but Brazil, India and Mexico are among the places where consumers say they use their phones most to hail a ride or taxi, according to a new survey from Adobe.
By the numbers: A higher percentage of people in those countries also say they rely on their phones for food delivery than in the U.S., which ranked fourth in both categories among the 9 countries where people were surveyed.
The bottom line: Adoption of smartphone-based services various by geography based on a variety of factors, including the prevalence of smartphone-based options, societal norms, and the cost and availability of competing services.
Among other findings:
The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday it was setting up a task force that could review already-approved tech mergers, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Why it matters: It reflects a new level of federal scrutiny for a tech sector dominated by companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon — each of which made major acquisitions along the way to becoming a giant.
Yes, but: The FTC has been criticized as not doing enough to check corporate power and regulators are constrained by U.S. antitrust law that makes it hard to accuse a company of hurting competition with a free product.
Check out the photographer who captured modern life, then photoshopped out the smartphones.