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Google stays put with Uber, denies starting rival service

Google Inc is preparing to offer its own ride-hailing service, putting it in direct competition with Uber, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person close to Uber's board.

business Updated: Feb 03, 2015 12:37 IST
The-Uber-smartphone-app-used-to-book-taxis-using-its-service-is-pictured-over-a-parking-lot-AFP-photo
The-Uber-smartphone-app-used-to-book-taxis-using-its-service-is-pictured-over-a-parking-lot-AFP-photo

Google late Monday fired off a terse tweet that appeared aimed at putting brakes on a report that it is readying a ride-sharing service that would rival Uber.

"We think you'll find Uber and Lyft work quite well," said a message fired off at the Internet titan's official @google Twitter account. "We use them all the time."

Google referred AFP to the tweet in response to a request for comment regarding a Bloomberg report citing an unnamed source as saying that the California company is developing its own car-hailing service, most likely in connection with its work on self-driving cars.

The report came the same day that Uber and Carnegie Mellon University announced a partnership to collaborate on a center devoted to research and development of mapping, car safety, and autonomous vehicle technology.

A person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that the news has been blown out of proportion. They said that a Google engineer has been simply testing an internal app that helps Google employees carpool to work, and the app has nothing to do with Google's driverless car program.

Google was an early backer of Uber, investing in the controversial ride-sharing service through its venture capital arm. Google Maps software integrated into Uber's smartphone application lets users check progress of drivers on their way to pick them up.