Google Maps will now show you where the nearest Lime scooter is
Google’s parent Alphabet made a big investment in the scooter company this summer.
Richard NievaFormer senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Google said Thursday that it's teaming up with Lime to include electric scooters in Google Maps directions.
Now, when you navigate to a destination using the Maps app, Google will also show you where the nearest Lime scooter, bike or e-bike is located. The app will tell you how long it will take for you to walk to the rentable scooter, give you an estimate of the ride cost and calculate how long the overall trip will take.
The new feature is rolling out to 13 cities worldwide, including San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; Auckland, New Zealand; and Brisbane, Australia.
In addition to walking and public transportation routes, Google Maps also currently suggests Uber and Lyft rides.
Scooters are the latest phenomenon to come out of Silicon Valley. Last spring, a handful of companies dropped tens of thousands of the dockless vehicles in cities across the US. People seem to either love or hate them. Some residents complain that riders don't follow the laws of the road and endanger pedestrians, while others quickly hopped on the new form of transportation.
The venture capital world, however, seems to be onboard. Scooter companies have raised funds at a breakneck pace. Bird became the fastest startup to become a unicorn, a startup with a valuation of more than $1 billion. In July, Lime also joined the billion-dollar startup club after GV, one of the investment arms of Google's parent company Alphabet, led a $335 million round of funding for the company. Uber was also involved in that funding round.
The integration with Google Maps could be a blow to Bird, Lime's biggest rival. While Bird was the first company to introduce electric scooters, the two companies have been competing neck and neck to win over more riders. Google Maps may give Lime an edge by prompting new riders to install the Lime app.
The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.