Update: When reached for comment, Google pointed us to its Twitter account’s response (below), which it said is accurate. While it doesn’t directly address the reports, it does seem to hint Google is working on a Lyft-style ride-sharing app and that it doesn’t view it as a direct competitor to Uber. Following the original reports, Uber made its announcement official on its website.
[tweet https://twitter.com/google/status/562392039459807232 align=’center’]
Update 2: Google has reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that the app in question is a carpooling app created by one of its engineers for Google employees. It is said to be unrelated to Google’s self-driving car.
Uber, the app-based car service in which Google is an investor, is about to announce a new investment into building its own fleet of driverless vehicles, according to a report from TechCrunch. Although the specific details are unclear at this point, the report comes just as news breaks that Google is developing its own ride-sharing app that could be a possible competitor to Uber. Bloomberg reports Google has informed Uber it’s developing a possibly competitive app and that Uber employees even have “screenshots of what appears to be a Google ride-sharing app that is currently being used by Google employees.”
The announcement from Uber is set to include hires of a number of experts in the field including talent from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. The report says Uber plans to develop “the core technology, the vehicles, and associated infrastructure at this Pittsburgh facility,” although there’s no mention of any possible Google involvement.
It seems odd that Google, with around $258 million invested in Uber, would be working to develop a competitive app, and it’s unclear Google’s position on Uber’s decision to step into its territory with driverless cars.
Neither company has made any official announcements (apart from a remark on Twitter from Google’s official account, below), but perhaps there is more collaboration between the two companies on these new initiatives than has been reported.
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