Lyft and SideCar, which let any car owner sign up as drivers to offer rides, received fines of $20,000, the companies told TechCrunch. Uber, which contracts with professional limo drivers, maintains that it’s not subject to regulation by the PUC, which already regulates its drivers.
The commission is classifying the companies as “charter-party carriers.”
The companies argue that such rules don’t apply to them, because they’re offering an Internet-based service to connect riders and drivers.
The city of San Francisco has generally proven friendlier to its local startups. It’s formed a “collaborative consumption” task force to come up with a framework for handling ride-sharing services and other new businesses like Airbnb which run up against older regulations.
Google’s OneBox is the result you get when Google magically knows the answer to a search you perform. Above the normal search results, Google gives your the definitive answer to your search—or a miniature, interactive tool to continue your search. These are different from search operators that help you narrow your search. With the OneBox results you can quickly find the weather, learn what a medication is, peek at a musicians discography, and even find release dates for movies. With this power you can find the information you’re looking for almost instantly, and you’ll look like the smartest person in the room for knowing the results before anyone else.
Get Instant Artist Discographies and Filmographies
Want to take a quick look at a musician’s discography? Or maybe just a list of all the films from a director or actor? Just type “[artist] [movies or albums]” into the search box and you get an instant list of what they’ve done. For musicians, you can also search “[artist] songs” to get a list of their popular songs.
Find Release Dates for Movies, Games, and More
Want to know when a game or movie is getting released? Type “[name of movie or game] release date” and you get the result. Movies automatically show the theatrical release date, but you can add “dvd” to get the DVD or Blu-Ray release. This search works for both upcoming and past releases.
Find Current Movie Showtimes
To quickly find movie showtimes in your area, type “[name of movie] [zip code]” into the search box and you get results for theaters close to you. If you don’t have a particular movie in mind, you can also just type “movie [zip code]” and get a list of everything playing in your area (if Google knows your location you can just type “movie”).
Instantly Find Simple Factual Information
For any search you might want to do that includes a definitive fact you can often search for the answer directly. These include dates like “[name of famous person] death,” certain stats like, “[mountain] elevation,” or even population with, “[city] population.” Essentially, if you’re searching for anything that has a number attached to it, you can often search for it directly.
Find the Score of Any Current Sports Game
Whether you’re a sports nut or you just want to know the best time to avoid going near a stadium, you can search nearly any sports team name to get the current score, and upcoming games. You only need to type in the name. For instance, “colorado rockies” gets you the recent scores, record, standings, win percentage, and upcoming games.
Get a Five Day Forecast of the Weather in Any City
Need to get a quick weather report before you head out for vacation? Search “weather [city name]” and you get a five day forecast for the city you search for.
Find the Current Time in Any City
Time zone conversions are a pain, but thankfully Google does them for you. Search “time [city name],” and you get current time in any city. If you’re looking for more results, type in “time [country name]” to get a full list of the timezones in any given country. While you’re at it, you can also get the time of the sunrise or sunset by typing “sunrise [city name],” or “sunset [city name].”
Find Upcoming Dates for Holidays and Events
When you need to quickly see what day of the week a holiday lands on, or when a big event starts (like the Presidential Election, the Super Bowl, Olympics, etc), search for “[year] [holiday name or event title].”
Calculate Almost Anything
Google’s calculator is surprisingly robust, and all you need to do is enter a calculation into the search box. “5+2” works just fine, but you can also use advanced phrases like “cos(pi) + 4.” If you want a graph, simply add “graph” before the equation. You can also search for “calculator” to bring up the calculator directly.
Convert Units of Measure
Unit conversions are handy when you’re cooking or building just about anything. The search in Google is easy. Type “[number] [unit] into [unit].” For instance, you can convert knots into miles per hour like this, “6 ounces into cups.” It works with any type of measurement, including digital storage (“5 mb into kb“). If you need to bring up the unit converter directly, you can do so by searching unit converter.
Need to get an up-to-date currency conversion? Google’s one of your best choices, and it’s as simple as typing “[number] [currency] to [currency].” For instance, to get the conversion rate of US dollars into Yen, type, “1 usd to yen.”
Check Stock Prices
When you need to check the status of your stocks, search Google for the shortened stock name. For example, to find Facebook’s current price, search “FB.” If you’re not sure of the stock’s name, you can also use “[name of company] stock.”
Find Word Definitions and Synonyms
If you want to quickly find the definition, synonyms, or pronunciation of a word, all you do is type the word into the search box. For many words, Google will automatically pull up a quick definition, pronunciation, and a list of common synonyms. If it doesn’t, type “define” before the word.
Translate Words Instantly
Google Translate is great for translating large chunks of text. You can translate single words right from the search bar by typing “translate [word] into [language].” For instance, to translate “monster” from English to Spanish, type, “translate monster into spanish.” You can also translate simple sentences. For instance, “translate the monster ate my neighbor into spanish,” will result in “el monstruo se comió mi vecino.”
Search Basic Health Conditions
When you type in any health condition (like asthma, psoriasis, etc) into Google, you get a quick synopsis of the condition from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. If you don’t know the condition, you can also type in symptoms. For instance, “abdominal pain on right side” pulls up a list of possible conditions, including appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, and kidney stones.
Find Information on Medications
Hunt Down Information on Local Restaurants and Businesses
Looking for a new restaurant to check out in your area? Type in “[type of restaurant] [your zip code]” and you get a list of every place close to you, including review scores. You’ll also see a map on the right side so you can quickly flip through places not in the top results.
Get Instant Drive Times (and Directions) Between Addresses
Google Maps is great, but you don’t actually have to navigate to the main page to get directions. If you need to get a quick time estimate or overview of the drive, type “[current address] to [new address]” and Google will give you a quick look at the directions and drive time.
Track the Status of Any Flight
You don’t have to dig around on an airline’s web site to track the status of a flight. All you have to do is type “[airline] [flight number]” into Google and you get instant results from Flight Stats. If you want a quick estimate on flight cost, you can also search, “flights from [city] to [city]” for a search of available flights and prices.
Track Your Packages
Paste the tracking number of a shipment from USPS, UPS, FedEx, or On-Trac into your Google Search bar and Google automatically figures out which service has it and links you directly to the tracking page.
Google seems to add more and more of these quick OneBox search tricks to its search engine all the time, so count on more popping up in the future. Google also introduces new tricks for specific events, like the medal count during the Olympics, or the election hub during the elections. With these tricks you’ll be the fastest Googler around, and will certainly impress everyone with how quickly you can acquire all types of knowledge.
The Kronen Zeitung is Austria’s largest newspaper, with a daily readership of around three million people. Yesterday, those readers were treated to the image on the left of war-torn Aleppo, bombed out and desperate. Except, as one sharp-eyed Redditor points out, that wasn’t the scene at all. It was just another Photoshop job.
Just to be clear, the family in the photograph is, in fact, in Syria; the original photo (on the right) came from the European Pressphoto Agency. But merely fleeing a city ravaged by guns and mortars apparently isn’t quite dramatic enough on its own. The editors of the Krone—as it’s commonly called—needed this baby to sing.
Using Photoshop to make actresses and models look unrealistically attractive is bad enough. Using it to make a part of the world that has enough problems as it is look even more apocalyptic? That’s just disgraceful. [Facebook via Reddit]
Campaign season is heating up, and in Michigan’s 3rd congressional district the Democratic primary battle pits an entrenched 60-year-old against a young social media upstart. Guess whose campaign has more Facebook Likes? Old man Steve Pestka’s. He’s got the best Facebook friends money can buy.
Eclectablog reports the curious rise of Steve Pestka’s Facebook popularity. Pestka has been running a pretty traditional campaign against Trevor Thomas, who’s running a “more modern campaign” that “involves heavy use of social media to create a buzz and appeal to a wider cross-section of voters.” Then a few weeks ago, Pestka’s Facebook popularity skyrocketed from just over 1000 likes to some 7500. Impressive! Er, except it’s pretty suspicious:
But what’s even stranger than the surge is the demographics of his followers. If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see his “Most popular age group” is 13-17 year-olds and his most popular city is in Israel. In April, it was kids in the age range of 13-17 from the Philippines:
While this is hardly definitive proof that Pestka’s campaign went on a Facebook Like shopping spree, it’s hard to think of any other plausible explanation. Eclectablog spoke to the Pestka campaign, which claimed that the meteoric rise was due to nontargeted Faebook ads. Yeah, sure, right. Dear inexperienced social media people of the world: Don’t try to be sneaky. We will catch you. [Eclectablog via Sean Carlson]
A new app could make apartment hunting in the Big Apple a lot less hellish.
RentHackr uses crowd sourcing to bypass landlords and brokers to show exactly what tenants are paying for any given pad.
Using the service is easy. Just sign in with your Facebook account, punch in some info about where you live and what you’re paying, then click “Let’s do this” to spread the word and view apartments around the city.
Like Pad Mapper, RentHackr plots apartments on a big map of New York’s five boroughs. You can click any of the green flags to see the price of an apartment or room and the tenant’s situation (how long he plans to stay there).
However, unlike Pad Mapper, there’s no filter to find what you want, and anyone new to the city might have trouble deciphering where Queens ends and Brooklyn begins.
Additionally, there’s no way to contact whoever posted the pad, so if you happen to find a place that meets your criteria, you’re bound to be frustrated.
That said, RentHackr could disrupt the way tenants and landlords do business. Both prospective and current renters will get the upper hand in lease negotiations by virtue of knowing how much a place actually goes for.
Even better, a shady landlord sizing prospective tenants for higher rent won’t get away with it if he can argue the place isn’t being advertised fairly.