Uber hires former Amazon/Groupon exec as chief product officer

Uber has hired Jeff Holden, until recently a vice president at Groupon, to become its chief product officer. We got to know ex-Amazonian Holden when he launched Pelago, makers of Whrrl. The app failed to get major traction because it was ahead of its time and was acquired by Groupon. Holden, however impressed us deeply then with his clear insights about the market. At Groupon too he continued that streak. It is a great hire for Uber, which could use direction and focus as it builds out the last-mile mobility infrastructure. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a more hyper-personal version of Uber come to market in the near future.

Groupon Buys Pelago in Bid to Expand User Discovery

Groupon is buying Pelago, maker of local discovery app Whrrl, signaling the end of the check-in service. But it could also mean a broader direction for Groupon as it looks to expand beyond daily deals to more localized and personalized discounts.

How the Little Guys Can Compete in Local Mobile Advertising

There’s been a flurry of activity lately in local mobile advertising, which is often called the Holy Grail of marketing. Players like Google and Facebook have an edge thanks to their sheer size, but smaller players will have a place at the table if they keep a few key rules-of-thumb in mind.

Whrrl: Living In Foursquare’s Shadow

If your are a consumer geo-location startup, then you have to content with one simple reality — a little company from New York called Foursquare. But life does continue for other apps, including Whrrl, a location centric discovery app developed by Seattle-based Pelago.

Five Location-Based Apps for the iPhone

With the iPhone OS 3.0 announcement that Apple’s (s aapl) new iPhone software update will include Google (s goog) Maps integration, you can expect an explosion of location-based apps to start appearing in the App Store. There are already a few location-based apps available now, including ones we’ve written about before — Job Compass and Locly, for instance. Here are five more that are worth a look.

uSonar (Free)

usonarThere are lots of apps available that let you keep up with your social networks while you’re on the go, but what about when you’re bored and want to find someone local to hang with? uSonar lets you know who’s around and what they’re up to, whether they are someone you already know or not. Members post “blips” about their activities and locations, then you can message them directly through your iPhone or iPod touch. Everything about uSonar is opt-in, so you’re in control of who can see where you are, or send you a message or email. You can even post anonymously if you’d like. Read More about Five Location-Based Apps for the iPhone

Interview: Pelago

Last week, I caught up with Jeff Holden, the CEO of Pelago, which is developing Whrrl, an application for mobile phones that lets people sha…