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Google-Uber integration in India can wait, works on payment options instead

uberGoogle Maps recently updated its app for iOS and Android, to add Uber integration.

If you have both the apps installed on your phone, Google Maps will display Uber option while you’re looking up directions, along with the estimated time for trips using the Uber’s cab-hire service. It will also let users launch Uber instantly with a single tap. However, this feature has not been introduced in India yet.

Google is clearly favoring one cab-service app, and why won’t they? It invested $258 million in Uber last year. Some contemplate an acquisition in the future – it already owns a significant chunk of the company. Google is also working on self driving cars, so a few years down the line we might be able to summon a self driving Uber car directly from Google Maps!

Bhavik Rathod, GM, Uber Bangalore told Medianama that this feature is not available yet in India – ‘yet’ being the key word. “The feature is something we’re working on,” and deferred from giving a timeline for the integration. He added that the Uber team which handles integration works closely with Google in San Francisco, and the team here handles only local operations. Hence, they are not aware.

Moving beyond credit cards

Rathod adds that Uber is working on other payment options in India, but will stick to its trademark cashless transactions policy. At present, registering an account with Uber requires users to add credit card details, and this step cannot be skipped. This gives a possibility of adding debit cards, e-wallets, or NFC perhaps?

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At present, the demographic they target in India is a smartphone user with a credit card and a data connection. This approach works in the US due to high credit card penetration. However, in India this requirement keeps away a lot of prospective users from the service. Rathod however denies they face any hesitance from the Indian market.

The company refused to release the number of users it has in India.

In India, Uber competes against service such as Olacabs, Meru and TaxiForSure among others.

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