For a reason yet to be explained, Alphabet’s removed the ability to hail Uber rides from Google Maps. The iOS version of the app lost the feature last Summer, and now it’s been excised from the Android version, as spotted by Android Police.
Google Maps has long offered estimates of journeys from ridesharing services — including Uber. Fortunately, that feature’s not going anywhere.However, the ability to book trips with Uber from within Maps, which Google introduced in January 2017, is.
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Google didn’t offer this feature for any of Uber’s competitors. By pulling the plug on it, Uber is relegated to the same footing as other ridesharing services, like Lyft and Gett.
Google hasn’t made much fanfare about the move, and it’s hard to discern its motives. The Verge points out Alphabet’s venture capital wing holds a large investment in Lyft. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, it’d be strange for Google Maps to bolster a rival.
It’s also worth noting there’s a bit of bad blood between Google and Uber, stemming from the Waymo IP theft case, which was finally settled in February after a protracted court battle.
Either way, with the Uber ordering feature removed from both Android and iOS, it’s clear it’s not coming back. That said, I’m yet to meet someone who actually used it. I doubt its loss will be felt particularly hard.