Uber’s latest experiment is an on-demand moving service

In the ongoing march to its outsized IPO, Uber is trying out yet another delivery product. But this time, instead of bringing you packages or food, the company wants to help you move.

UberCargo, which is being tested in Hong Kong right now, connects people with cargo vans that can help move bigger items, like mattresses and “large pets.” It can also be used like a taxi service for people traveling with big gear, such as surfers or bands. It’s not clear from Uber’s post why it picked Hong Kong as its testing ground, or when the option might roll out to other locations (I’ve reached out to the company for clarification and will update this when I hear back).

The fee will depend on both time and distance and loading time will be included. In Hong Kong, the base fare will be US$2.58 ($20 Hong Kong dollars), with additional per minute and per mile costs. Check out the breakdown here. You can ask the driver for help with that part, although their assistance doesn’t sound guaranteed from Uber’s blog post.

This isn’t the first of Uber’s delivery experiments. Part of the reason it has a $40 billion valuation is because it plans to transform urban logistics; it won’t be content with just changing the nature of the taxi industry. It’s testing couriers in New York City for letters and smaller packages, drivers in Los Angeles for food delivery, and corner store delivery in Washington D.C.

But Uber-for-moving may be the most helpful product yet. It opens up a ton of opportunities for the carless: Lugging stuff home from Ikea, purchasing items off Craigslist, traveling with hefty equipment. Farewell, expensive moving services and unwieldy U-hauls — you can stick with the family with far more stuff than the average single city-dweller. And good luck to the many on-demand moving apps that have formed in recent months. With Uber as a competitor, it will be a tough fight.

UberCargo could be the most useful thing for the carless urban dweller since … well … Uber itself.

Assuming its vans aren’t too creepy, of course. Twitter, for its part, has wasted no time in imagining the dystopian future of UberCargo:

Web Work 101: Great Software Starter Bundles

google_packMaking the jump from longtime corporate employee to self-employed or freelance web worker carries a lot of challenges. One of those is finding the right tools for the job, since in a corporate environment, standard equipment and software deployment is most often determined for you. Being left to sort things out for yourself can be fun, but it can also be overwhelming.
Luckily, there are a few shortcuts available that provide all-in-one solutions to give you a running start. These packages include a lot of essential software, without the  RAM-stealing shovelware you tend to bundled with new PCs from most major hardware manufacturers. Whenever I set up a new PC, I like to strip it down to the bare essentials and build it back up piece-by-piece; these packages help expedite the process considerably. Read More about Web Work 101: Great Software Starter Bundles

Track your packages on your iPhone


In addition to running The Apple Blog, I also run an interactive design/development firm called Sabotage Media where we build interactive jazz for clients and ourselves.

Something that we released recently was a little web app called TrackThePack that basically lets you track the various packages you have en route to you. It has RSS feeds and Google Maps built in so you know it’s hot stuff.

So how does this relate to Apple? Well while we do believe TrackThePack is the best package tracking app on the web, we’re pretty much positive it is the best (and possibly the only) tracking app designed to work specifically on mobile Safari (iPhone & iPod Touch).

So go ahead and check out TrackThePack on your iPhone or iPod Touch. But be careful, your addiction to tracking the shipping status of your new MacBook Air might get worse by doing so. Consider yourself warned.