Google To Offer On-Demand Car Service, Wireless Service Plans

Chanel Adams

Google wants to take down Uber by offering its own on-demand car service. Bloomberg’s Brad Stone reported the shocking news, and cited sources with knowledge of the company’s plans.

This bold move could put Google in direct competition with on-demand car service Uber, which has already hinted plans at offering autonomous taxi service. Uber executives reportedly leaked screenshots of Google’s alleged on-demand car service app, according to Stone’s sources. Uber’s executives are reportedly “deeply concerned” of Google’s shocking new decision.

Google is creating its own self-driving cars to pick up and drop off passengers at various locations. The report gets even more interesting. Google’s venture arm, Google Ventures, invested $258 million in Uber, according to Business Insider. Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, has been on the company’s board of directors since 2013.

Drummond reportedly told Uber’s board that Google is planning to launch its own on-demand car service. The board is deciding whether Drummond should be asked to resign. If the report is accurate, Uber and Google will quickly become rivals. In addition, Uber’s smartphone app uses Google Maps, which gives Google plenty of information about transportation and traffic data within major cities. Google allegedly said that its driverless car technology is being developed at its Google X research lab for widespread use within two-to-five years.

Uber has previously reported that it began plans to open its own research facility in Pittsburgh, PA. The company is interested in creating its own autonomous vehicle service, according to a report on Techcrunch. Uber has already hired more than 50 scientists from Carnegie Mellon University and the National Robotics Engineering Center.

This isn’t the first time that Google hinted toward automonous car service. At the Detroit auto show last month, Chris Urmson, a Google executive in charge of the project, explained how autonomous vehicles will pick up and drop off passengers.

“We’re thinking a lot about how in the long-term, this might become useful in people’s lives, and there are a lot of ways we can imagine this going. One is in the direction of the shared vehicle. The technology would be such that you can call up the vehicle and tell it where to go and then have it take you there.”

Google isn’t just thinking about getting into on-demand car service. The search engine giant may also add “wireless service” to its list of business ventures. According to a report on The Information, Google is planning to offer wireless service plans in the near future. The company wants to become the next mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

Google has already signed reseller deals with Spring and T-Mobile. By partnering with these wireless carriers, Google will purchase wholesale access to each of the existing carrier’s networks, according to Tech Republic. Google would also be able to sell wireless plans and manage users’ phone call and mobile data use.

Is a move into wireless service a good move for Google? Not exactly, according to CNNMoney’s David Goldman. The writer highlighted the pros and cons of Google’s ambitious move.

“If successful, Google’s plan could pave the way for Apple to sell its own wireless service with every iPhone. And Facebook and other companies with a vested interest in connecting people to the Internet could get involved too.”

“But there’s a lot of risk associated with being a wireless carrier too. When service inevitably goes down or connections fail, customers will blame Google – not Sprint or T-Mobile – for the disruptions.”

Do you think that Google should stay in its lane? Or, do you think that its news business ventures are a good idea?

[Image: Andre Pan/Flickr]