New “Uber tab” added to Google Maps

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Google is adding a dedicated ride-sharing tab to Google Maps. Starting on Android and coming soon to iOS, users will start seeing a new icon indicating time to destination for taxis and ride-sharing services, such as Uber:

When you search for directions using Google Maps on your mobile device, we’ll show you a dedicated tab with information for ride services—in addition to the existing car, transit, walking, or biking options you’re familiar with. So when you’re leaving work to meet a friend for dinner, you can easily compare your options to find the fastest way there, without having to open multiple apps.

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In addition to Uber, providers internationally include “99Taxis in Brazil, Ola Cabs in India, Hailo in the UK and Spain, mytaxi in Germany and Spain, and Gett in the UK.” Those with the requisite app installed will see additional information:

If you have a provider’s app installed and tap on the ride service tab, you’ll be able to see fare estimates and pickup times if a car is available near you. Select a service, and we’ll take you directly to their app for you to book your ride with one tap.

Google essentially has no mapping competitors (save Waze, which it owns) on Android. The real battleground is the iPhone. And given that Apple Maps has pulled ahead of Google Maps, new features like this to differentiate Google Maps are critical to Google’s continued usage on the Apple handset.

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