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The navigation app now displays nine ridesharing partners as transportation across 60 countries
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The Uber-Google coziness continues to unravel.
Google today announced that it has added support for Uber’s primary U.S. rivals Lyft and Gett to Google Maps for Android and iOS.
The feature works in the same way as other transportation options in Google Maps. For example, if you look for directions from John F. Kennedy International Airport to 5th Avenue in New York City, you'll see a variety of transportation options—car, public transportation, walking, biking—along with associated directions and estimated duration of journey.
Earlier this year, the only ridesharing option you would see pop up was Uber. The app would give you an estimated duration as well as an estimate for the fare. Tapping the desired service (like “uberPOOL” or “uberX”) would then open the Uber app so you could hail the ride.
In March, Google announced that it had added several additional ridesharing partners around the world. Now the company has given the user even more options by launching support for Lyft across the U.S. and Gett in New York City.
A spokesperson confirmed for me that Google Maps now displays ridesharing options from nine partners in over 60 countries:
- Gett in the UK (and now NYC)
- GO-JEK in Indonesia
- Grab in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines
- Hailo in the UK and Spain
- Lyft in the U.S.
- mytaxi in Germany and Spain
- Ola Cabs in India
- Uber around the world
- 99Taxis in Brazil
Besides offering convenience to the ordinary Google Maps user looking to compare ways to get to their destination, the new feature also allows one to compare prices between different ridesharing services. So instead of having to hop between standalone apps (say, Uber and Lyft) to see how prices compare and whether one is “surging” or not, you can simply add your destination to Google Maps and compare options there.
While it's a surefire win for consumers, I can’t imagine the ridesharing vendors love this new element of competition. Ridesharing companies already battle each other over market share and often engage in price wars to lure customers.
Though the timing of today’s announcement is probably coincidental, it’s worth noting that the relationship between Uber and Google has grown less amiable lately. Last week, after it emerged that Google-owned Waze would be expanding its carpooling pilot later this year, it was also announced that David Drummond had stepped down from Uber’s board of directors. Drummond serves as Google's Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, so it was clear that the increasing competitiveness between Google and Uber would undercut Drummond's ability to serve on the board objectively.
Even so, Google still has a stake in Uber’s success. Drummond originally joined Uber’s board in 2013 when Google Ventures (now GV) made a $258 million investment in the ridesharing company.
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GV provides venture capital funding to bold new companies. We invest independently of Google, and we’ve backed more than 300 companies, including Uber, Nest, Slack, Foundation Medicine, Flatiron Health, and One Medical Group. We provide these companies unparalleled support in design, engineering, recruiting, marketing, and more.
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Uber is a ridesharing service headquartered in San Francisco, United States, which operates in multiple international cities. The company uses a smartphone application to arrange rides between riders and drivers.