Uber drives its car service onto the streets of Berlin

Currently in the testing phase, Berlin's Uber's private car-summoning service will be renamed "Super" to steer clear of language confusion.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
Secret Ubers pose with their first passenger, Alexander Ljung, cofounder of the steaming audio host SoundCloud. Uber

Uber began operation in Germany today, giving Berliners their first taste of the fast-growing private car-summoning service.

The service, which the company said is being conducted by "Secret Ubers," is in the testing phase, with more drivers being added each day, Jena Wuu, an international launcher, wrote in a company blog post today. The new service, which allows users to request rides via their smartphones, will apparently be limited to the capital, at least initially.

Interestingly, the service's first passenger was Alexander Ljung, cofounder of the steaming audio host SoundCloud, who was mysteriously "spotted" and given a ride from one SoundCloud officer to another in a Mercedes S-Class. Uber, which means "above" or "over" in German, will be rechristened "Super" in Germany to steer clear of confusion, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a tweet.

Uber, which entered the London market last July, plans further expansions in Stockholm and Melbourne.

The San Francisco-based startup has recently overcome roadblocks put up initially by local government agencies in the United States. After a series of conflicts with regulators in Washington, D.C., the company scored a victory last month when the city council unanimously approved a legislative framework for "digital dispatch" transportation services. Regulators in New York City recently approved a one-year pilot program that allows New Yorkers to hail nearby street cabs.

(Via TNW)