When Uber was new, it may have claimed to be a ride-sharing service, but these days it’s a high-tech, glorified, unlicensed taxi app. So Google’s planning to start competing against it in San Francisco, with… an actual ride-sharing service.
Two months ago, Uber launched a rewards program that offered free rides to users who used a Capital One credit card. Today, the company unveiled a separate reward program with Visa, providing free rides based on how much customers spend at local businesses. [More]
Usually when you hear about banks offering home loans with low down-payment requirements, it’s intended to attract first-time homeowners who may not have the tens of thousands of dollars it can take to make the full 20% upfront payment. However, some banks in high-priced areas in and around Silicon Valley are using 0% down-payment loans in an attempt to attract well-heeled tech employees. [More]
Airbnb is suing the city of San Francisco, claiming that a recently approved city ordinance intended to hold the home-rental site more accountable for illegal landlods runs afoul of federal laws that protect website operators from content published by third parties. [More]
Building out a new fiberoptic network in a congested metropolitan area can be slow-going, which is why when Google announced in February that it was bringing Google Fiber to San Francisco, it planned to do so on the back of existing “dark fiber” lines controlled by the city. In an apparent effort to expand that model to privately-operated networks, Google has acquired a small, high-speed broadband provider already operating in San Francisco. [More]
Only a few weeks ago, a federal court refused to halt a new San Francisco ordinance requiring soda companies to place warnings on all their ads in the city, but today that same court decided to grant a temporary injunction preventing the rule from kicking in while the beverage industry appeals its case. [More]
In 2015, San Francisco enacted a new city ordinance requiring warnings on ads for soda and other sugary drinks. With the new rules set to go into effect later this summer, a number of trade groups are suing the city to overturn the law. The plaintiffs had hoped to get an injunction preventing San Francisco from enforcing the warning label requirement, but today a federal court said the city can go ahead with the ordinance for now. [More]
Laws, taxes, and regulations governing short-term rentals and hotels vary from location to location, and home-sharing platforms like Airbnb remind their users that they are obligated to comply with all relevant restrictions in their area. But when it’s clear that many users are not following the rules, should the company be held responsible? [More]
Though you might think of Uber and Lyft drivers as employees of those ridesharing services, the companies maintain that drivers are independent contractors who simply use the Uber or Lyft platforms to connect with passengers. That now means that several thousand of these independent operators in San Francisco must each obtain a business license.
For a few years now, Starbucks has been rolling out a plan to make some of its stores a more festive place to gather in the evening, which serve beer and wine. In San Francisco, the company applied for three licenses, and the city didn’t want to approve them, citing how many businesses with liquor license the city already has, and not wanting to set a precedent for approving booze in chain eateries. [More]
Less than two months after Uber agreed to pay $28.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of misleading consumers about its “industry leading” safety procedures, the ride-hailing company is ready to put another case behind it. The company will pay $25 million to settle a civil lawsuit with the district attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco over nearly identical allegations. [More]
If you’ve been renting out your home in San Francisco through services like Airbnb and HomeAway, you’re about to start paying more taxes. The city is notifying hosts that they’ll have to submit an itemized list for items like dishes, bedding, and any other supplies they purchase for their rentals. [More]
While Google is based in the San Francisco Bay area, the closest the Internet biggie has come to bringing Google Fiber to the region is listing San Jose as a “potential” Fiber market for the future. But today, Google announced that at least some people in San Francisco will be able to get its high-speed data service. [More]
With visitors coming to town for a high-profile sporting event next week, two high-rise buildings in San Francisco sold exterior ad space to Verizon and to Visa. There’s a problem, though: the ads, which are 15 and seven stories high respectively, are illegal, and the city wants them to come down before the Super Bowl. [More]
If you’re planning on heading to California on Feb. 7 to catch the Super Bowl showdown between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, be ready to have your bank account sacked. Tickets for the big game are currently selling for record-high prices.
If you don’t live or work in San Francisco and you aren’t an AirBNB host, you probably haven’t heard of Proposition F. The proposition asked the people of San Francisco to decide the future of short-term rentals through AirBNB and similar services, limiting the number of days per year a space could be rented to 75 and creating stricter penalties for hosts who disrupt their neighbors’ lives. The measure failed. [More]
Companies that send vehicles on demand also enjoy giving people the ability to summon other things with the power of their smartphones, like when Uber let people in select cities summon puppies and kittens or free fruit deliveries when the company was suspended from giving rides in Germany. Lyft’s Halloween publicity stunt is less cuddly and more spooky: they’ll send you zombies on demand if you order one. [More]
Fixed is a smartphone app that tried to help drivers dispute parking tickets, but that aspect of the service is no longer usable in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Oakland after those cities blocked the company’s access to their parking enforcement websites. [More]