Google may develop its own Uber-like service

Now there are signs that the companies are more likely to be ferocious competitors than allies. Google is preparing to offer its own ride-hailing service, most likely in conjunction with its long-in-development driverless car project. Drummond has informed Uber’s board of this possibility, according to a person close to the Uber board, and Uber executives have seen screenshots of what appears to be a Google ride-sharing app that is currently being used by Google employees. This person, who requested not to be named because the talks are private, said the Uber board is now weighing whether to ask Drummond to resign his position as an Uber board member.

Google is a big investor in Uber, and has been from the beginning. However, this isn’t the first time a Google employee sat on a company’s board and then decided to enter the same market. Eric Schmidt sat on Apple’s board and witnessed the development of the iPhone.

  • This is…what….5 years away, minimum? 10?

    • Greg

      I think it’ll take more than that for everything to be worked out in the courts. Only way it happens within 10 years is if auto makers can integrate Google’s tech into their own cars.

      • SockRolid

        Just wait until the first person is killed by a self-driving car. From any manufacturer. We’ll see who wants to stay in that market after billions are awarded to the estate of the victim.

        • Meaux

          Billions? Why would the payout be any different than a regular car accident that leads to a fatality?

  • Moeskido

    Funny, yet sad.

  • Greg

    Seeing this, followed by the story that Uber is getting into self-driving cars gave me a hearty chuckle.

  • SockRolid

    Google’s top brass are either 1. ignorant, or 2. arrogant, or 3. all of the above. We’ve seen this over and over again. Not “moonshots.” “Shots in the dark” more like.

    Every major car manufacturer on the planet is actively developing self-driving cars. And Google thinks they can do better? Or maybe they think they can give away “good enough” self driving cars for free.

    • Meaux

      Because the self-driving part of self-driving cars is software, not mechanical engineering. Google is good at the former, car companies are good at the latter. Anyone that’s used a car’s infotainment system can see that car companies suck at software.

  • joebot

    Might I offer a revised headline, “Google may scatter down bunny trails and get lost in the woods of other companies’ businesses”

  • Google has a pattern of developing businesses to compete against partners and would-be partners. Google made offers to buy Yelp before launching their own competing service. Firefox had a great partnership with Google until Chrome was released. Google bought, then flipped, Motorola despite being partnered with nearly every phone maker. Now there’s talk of Google launching an MVNO that will compete against members of the presumably deceased Open Handset Alliance. Google does this stuff all the time.

  • matthewmaurice

    Shawn’s right, self-driving cars are YEARS away from regulatory, if not consumer, acceptance. However, The Algorithm would be Google’s ace in the hole here. Uber may have the transportation and payment network, but Google can build those pretty easy. What Google has is all that raw data it’s been collecting about you for years. Google knows when you’re in close proximity to 3 other people from your Circles at a bar 9.56 miles from home 2.82 hours later than you’ve been in the last 3.47 months. Since your purchasing history shows alcohol, they know that there’s a 63.22% chance that if presented with a transportation ad of some type, you’ll take it. If that happens, Uber’s CEO’s first phone call should be to Mark Zuckerberg.