Google reportedly plans to take on Uber with ride-hailing service

Bloomberg reports the Internet giant has been working on an Uber rival in conjunction with its driverless car project.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read

Uber's app allows people to hail cars from their smartphones. Uber

The ride-hailing field may soon get even more crowded.

Google plans to take on Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and all the other ride-sharing services by offering its own similar product, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company "most likely" has been working on the service in conjunction with its driverless car project, the publication said, and David Drummond -- Google's chief legal officer and senior vice president of corporate development, who also serves on Uber's board -- recently notified Uber about the possibility it would launch such a product, Bloomberg said.

Google and Uber didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The news likely came as a surprise to Uber, which counts Google as one of its most important investors. Uber relies on Google Maps for the routing information for its car-hailing app, and Google's apps also refer travelers to Uber. If the world moves to driverless cars, Uber likely also would rely on Google in that arena, though another report said Uber is starting research in the field in Pittsburgh.

San Francisco-based Uber was first established as a luxury service but eventually branched out to offer lower-priced "everyday" services as well, letting it compete with traditional taxis. In its five years of existence, the company has gone from nascent startup to one of the most talked about tech companies. Last year, it raised more than $2.4 billion in funding, giving it a valuation of at least $41.2 billion.

But it was also the center of several controversies: drivers protesting price cuts, passengers complaining of a secretive rating system and regulators around the world vying to shut down the service. Uber also continued to war with its ride-sharing rivals and the taxi industry.

There also have been some recent signs of tension between Uber and Google. Google last week introduced the ability to hail a ride home from the Google Now personal assistant using Uber's rival Lyft.

Google declined to confirm or deny the Bloomberg report, instead pointing reporters, without explanation, to a tweet it posted that says "We think you'll find Uber and Lyft work quite well. We use them all the time."

Updated at 3:49 p.m. PT with a comment (via Twitter) from Google.