Google Maps Now Offers Deep Uber Integration

Google Maps Now Offers Deep Uber Integration

Google has issued a major update to its Google Maps mobile app, improving the ride-sharing experience and adding deep integration with Uber.

Google Maps has supported ride sharing options since last year, and users have been able to see travel times for Uber and Lyft alongside the previous driving, public transportation, walking, and bicycle options. But the results were presented in a basic list, as seen below. And if you selected one, you were prompted to open the Uber or Lyft app.

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With this week’s update—which I’m not yet seeing on Android or iPhone, yet, for some reason—the ride-sharing interface is changing. Now, instead of the list of ride-sharing options, you’ll be presented with a split view with a map on the top and a carousel of ride service providers on the bottom.

If you’re familiar with Uber, you’ll recognize that top view, as it features moving vehicles on the map which represent the nearby options. As in the Uber app, these vehicles move around and provide real-time location information visually.

Even more interesting, Google says it is “trying out” a new integration feature with Uber, and I suppose if this takes off, this functionality will come to Lyft (and other services) in the future too. And this new feature lets you book and pay for an Uber ride directly from within the Google Maps app. You never need to use the Uber app—or install it, I assume—again.

This is interesting to me on a number of levels.

First, I use and recommend Google Maps and Uber, and it’s always nice to see the services that I use come together in ways that are truly useful.

Second, if this eliminates the need to even use the Uber app—which most people would agree is pretty terrible, despite changing fairly constantly—I’m all the more interested. (I use/recommend Uber because it is so inexpensive compared to a taxi, but the app is horrible.)

Finally, when you think about the mobile app model to date, it’s pretty much followed a simplistic path in which you use one app to do one thing. There are exceptions to this—Outlook, for example, provides access to email, contacts, calendar, tasks, and even cloud storage—but for the most part, mobile has been a “whack a mole” experience where you go in and out of apps. This kind of integration—a hallmark of Windows phones back in the day—breaks that model in ways that make sense. It makes life easier for the user because now you only need to think of one thing, one app, when you need directions or whatever location functionality. (Google Maps provides increasingly useful information about destinations too.)

In other words, this is a good thing. I hope it works out, and I’ll give this a try the next time I need a ride.

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Conversation 10 comments

  • 5530

    14 January, 2017 - 10:44 am

    <p>so when will Uber actually realize this is a disaster for them because it decreases user engagement with their app and they roll back these integrations?</p>

    • 5234

      14 January, 2017 - 12:45 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#36397">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/FalseAgent">FalseAgent</a><a href="#36397">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>Well, maybe it’ll be better for Uber because they can pull a Microsoft and lay off their in-house development and testing staff.</p>

      • 6852

        15 January, 2017 - 12:23 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#36420">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/Waethorn">Waethorn</a><a href="#36420">:</a></em></blockquote>
        <p>Hey, when you’re losing $2 billion per year like Uber is you’ve got to cut costs somewhere. I&nbsp;enjoy Uber myself but have to wonder when this particular bubble is going to pop.&nbsp;</p>

    • 399

      Premium Member
      14 January, 2017 - 3:12 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#36397">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/FalseAgent">FalseAgent</a><a href="#36397">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>It’s Uber, not Facebook. They make their money when people book rides through them. The app is just a means to an end.</p>
      <p>The only reason I can see why Uber wouldn’t want to be integrated is if they start getting too much competition from other car companies, but even then they’re probably better off&nbsp;being integrated instead of leaving it to their competitors.</p>

  • 2233

    Premium Member
    14 January, 2017 - 2:03 pm

    <p>I wonder if this deep integration involves some level of profit sharing…</p>

    • 5592

      14 January, 2017 - 5:14 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#36433">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/ChristopherCollins">ChristopherCollins</a><a href="#36433">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>It’d better be from Uber since the average Uber driver makes $2.00/hour.</p>

      • 9562

        14 January, 2017 - 5:25 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#36450">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/MikeGalos">MikeGalos</a><a href="#36450">:</a></em></blockquote>
        <p>Maybe you should’ve stayed in school. &nbsp;Just sayin.</p>

        • 5592

          14 January, 2017 - 6:10 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#36451">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/BoItmanLives">BoItmanLives</a><a href="#36451">:</a></em></blockquote>
          <p>I don’t drive for Uber and I refuse to have ANYTHING to do with that miserable bunch of self-proclaimed Ubermenchsen who run the service by stealing from people who actually work for a living who they consider Untermenschen.</p>

  • 996

    Premium Member
    14 January, 2017 - 9:11 pm

    <p>So now other companies are fine with this app model?</p>

    • 4796

      18 January, 2017 - 1:59 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#36496">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/Lewk">Lewk</a><a href="#36496">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>Google maps has always had integration bypassing other apps. Eg public transport.</p>

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