Google Maps Update Is Giving Uber Competition
Users in certain countries will be able to see which service is cheaper so they can better decide which one to choose. It is an example of the growing amount of transit information available through Google Maps beyond the typical driving directions.
Previously, Google Maps provided ride sharing information under its transit tab only from Uber at the bottom of a list of options that included bus and train routes. But users were out of luck if they wanted to know what competing ride sharing services charged.
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Now, when users search for directions in Brazil, they can click on the ride share tab and see fares for both Uber and competitor 99Taxis. Google has added other partners in four other countries including Ola Cabs in India, Hailo in the UK and Spain, mytaxi in Germany and Spain.
Gett in the UK will be included in the new version of Google Maps.
But in North America, Google has made no similar additions. Uber remains the only option while rival Lyft is conspicuously absent. The only new thing U.S. and Canada, and Mexico users will see is a way to compare fares for Uber’s basic service, car pooling, and black car ride.
Google’s venture arm invested $258 million in Uber in 2013. But in the past year, Google has been reportedly working on a ride hailing app that will compete with Uber.
In December, Bloomberg reported that Google planned to make its self-driving cars unit a standalone business under the parent company Alphabet (GOOG). It’s been long assumed that Google would turn its self-driving cars into a ride-for-hire service.
Ride-hailing apps battle it out in China:
Smaller competitors to Google’s navigation app are also vying to become one-stop platforms for how people get around. Xerox, better known for making copies than cars, has developed software designed to make travel in and around Los Angeles, easier, cheaper, and faster.
Xerox’s (XRX) platform powers an Android and iOS app called Go LA, which was introduced in January by the city of Los Angeles. The app includes shows users every transportation option, including local taxi cab companies, ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber, car-sharing service Zipcar, city and county mass transit, smart parking app ParkWhiz, and an online-pre-booking travel service Flitways,. It also shows users how many calories are burned using the various combinations of transportation. But unlike the new Google Maps tab, users of the Go LA app can’t compare fares between ride-sharing competitors.