Hailing a cab through Google Maps just got a lot more interesting with the addition of two more cab hailing services, Lyft and Gett. This news though is going to be more interesting to users of Google Maps in the US and UK alone as those are the only places where those services operate at the moment.
As a matter of fact, only users in New York city would have use for the Gett option, as that is the only city in the US operating the cab service. And in the UK, Google Maps users who need to hail a cab have only Gett available to them as Lyft does not operate in the UK yet.
How does this affect Uber’s services in these places? Uber was already part of Google Maps for sometime now. Which meant that commuters could easily hail an Uber cab using the Uber option in Google Maps.
With the addition of Lyft and Gett, the choice for users hailing a cab in these places has just being increased by a factor of two. That is competition working I must say.
This would make Uber become more responsive and proactive or else they would lose customers in this places.
Since the Google Maps additions also display comparative prices between the cab services, arbitrary increases in fares would be done cautiously. You can’t go increasing your prices once you know users have good alternatives.
It was left to Sara Torti, the senior product manager of Maps to bring the good news to users of Google Maps in a blog post:
Back in March, we introduced a new way for people to find and compare the fastest ways to get around town by adding a new ride services tab when searching for directions in Google Maps. Today, we’re adding two more partners in the U.S., Lyft and Gett. Now Google Maps will display options from 9 ride-sharing partners in over 60 countries, allowing you to compare the fastest, most affordable ride near you, without having to download and open multiple apps.”
Last month, there were reports that Uber was actively seeking ways to de-link their app from Google Maps. One reason given was that Google maps was too bloated and not as specific as Uber drivers and users would want it to be.
Again, there was the matter of the money being paid by Uber to Google for integrating Maps into Uber app. The reports indicated Uber were uncomfortable with having to pay for many things they don’t need on Google Maps but have to if they want to use Google Maps.
The solution was simple for Uber. Since they have the funds, why not build their own maps. The sort of maps that would be lean and made specifically for drivers and users of Uber.
My conspiracy mind would say this additional feature by Google was done as a response to a future Uber maps. Perhaps, cut down on Uber’s pool of users by giving people more alternatives to Uber. But then again I could be wrong. Perhaps, Google are simply doing what they do best: upgrading a very important app to make it better.
For now, Uber have nothing to worry about. But they would seriously be looking over their shoulders to see if Google would go into the cab hailing business in conjunction with owners of cars around the world or even use their driver-less cars to kick-start the business.
This is the kind of development that only benefits the consumers. Because as companies try to make inroads into a new business, they have to make it better than what is already available. A starting point is to offer cheaper prices.
image credit: slate.com; lyft.com; theverge.com; idelogyltd.com;