It looks like Google and Uber are about to become rivals in more ways than one.
Google wants to take on Uber by developing its own ride-hailing app, according to Bloomberg News. It's a surprising turn of events, considering Google Ventures invested $258 million into Uber in 2013. But that's not all: David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer and SVP of corporate development, has served on Uber's board of directors since 2013.
The new app, which has yet to launch, will reportedly work in conjunction with Google's driverless car project. Speaking of driverless cars, Uber just announced it partnered with Carnegie Mellon to create the Uber Advanced Technologies Center. The center's projects will include researching and designing autonomous vehicles.
Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO, revealed last year that self-driving taxis were likely a part of his company's future, but today's news marks the first time Uber has officially made an effort to not only delve into the world of autonomous vehicles but also directly compete with one of its major investors, Google.
Uber executives have reportedly seen screenshots of Google's upcoming ride-sharing app, and now the Uber board is supposedly considering asking Drummond to resign as an Uber board member. Uber is likely aware it must tread lightly though, as the company is dependent on Google for capital as well as Google Maps.
Uber’s app for drivers and riders pulls map data from Google Maps, and without it, Uber would need to develop its own technology or resort to using alternatives like MapQuest or Apple Maps. The problem is... they are not as widely heralded as Google Maps, and Google's ride-sharing app will undoubtedly use Google Maps.
Uber is therefore free to bite the hand that feeds it, but not without consequence. We've contacted both companies for a comment and hope to update soon.