Google shows its competitive side
Google expanded its ‘Google Express’ business this week, extending delivery to 11 new states, including many cities in Washington. The project began in 2013 but this is its greatest expansion yet; Google now covers 90% of continental U.S. A spokesperson declined to submit user figures, however it has been estimated that the service reaches 63 million people, a figure similar to Amazon’s Prime program.
The service offers same-day, next day and 2-day delivery, however same day is not readily available in all states. An annual membership of $95 is offered and $10 for monthly payments, but for non-members it is $4.99 per order. When compared with its already well established rival on delivery costs, Google’s delivery service partners with retailers such as Target and Whole Foods whereas Amazon doesn’t, taking on all costs for itself, which in turn leads to higher prices. However, Google has retracted fruit and vegetables from its service in order to help with the scale of orders. Time will tell how Google fairs against Amazon, but for now the aim is to build up and gain scale for better chance of competition.
Read more information about the expansion here.
Uber’s unexpected division
Uber has become the world’s first to make the autonomous truck delivery of 50,000 cans of Budweiser. After buying the company Otto for $680 million last summer, Uber has integrated its technology into their trucks creating the Uber Freight division. The delivery was done under Otto’s team but is still connected to Uber and highlights what can be expected from Uber’s new division.
At the simple press of the ‘engage’ button, the driver can relax and let the system direct the truck. A high-precision camera monitors movements while 3 lasers detect the position of the vehicle, leaving time for the driver to relax. The journey lasted 120 miles, however the system was only used on the highway. It is reportedly safer due to the main cause of accidents being the result of human error. The reduction of emissions through a steadier and controlled speed can also be realized. However, drivers still remain a necessity for the journey and likely will for years to come. Otto will continue to develop the system, with goals including reacting to changes in weather and the biggest, the use in city centers which pose many hazards.
Discover more details on the trip and its future here.
Child labor discovered in Turkey
It has come to light this week that Syrian refugee children allegedly have been found in factories in Turkey, making clothes for Marks & Spencer. The BBC, under Panorama investigation, also alleged there are refugees illegally working on Zara and Mango jeans. The brands stated they do not tolerate this kind of behavior in their factories and that they already carefully monitor their supply chains in order to avoid such happenings. The aforementioned brands pride themselves on having good and fair working standards. After these findings, Marks and Spencer has offered permanent jobs to Syrians working in their factory.
The refugees earn just over one pound per hour and work over 12 hours a day. Jobs such as ironing and bleaching jeans were performed without any of the protective gear. Children as young as 10 years old were found working. Audits are said to have taken place on some of the factories before filming of the BBC show and were sectioned by brands for improvements to address problems such as these. In order to avoid further scandals, BBC has critiqued the brands’ actions and stated they are not doing enough to fight against this kind of practice.
Find out more on the scandals and reactions here.
Have a great weekend!