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The Bulletin

Google Maps update merges with Uber

Posting in Transportation

The controversial transport service Uber may be inundated with court cases and taxi drivers unhappy with the unregulated competition, but the firm has scored a major win with a recent Google Maps update which integrates Uber services.

A major update to the online mapping service quietly includes the ability to "call an Uber from Google Maps," according to a Google blog post announcing the mapping software's new features.

Google Maps for mobile, available on Android and iOS devices, improves upon driving directions and makes it easier for users to view alternative routes. Users can now also save navigation details offline, and can browse through restaurants, bars and hotels by opening hours, rating and price.

The interesting part is that if you have the Uber app installed, you can compare your ride with transit and walking directions in a number of cities through Google Maps, and if you choose to use Uber, then you jump in to the Uber service with one click.

The startup has endured a tempestuous ride in recent times due to a number of court cases being levied against the company due to its lack of regulation. Unlike standard taxi services, Uber connects those wanting a ride to licensed black sedan drivers, cutting out the middle man and leaving more expensive taxis in the dust.

Uber has a close relationship with the investment arm of the California-based firm, Google Ventures. This may explain why Uber's services have been included within the update rather than other transport startups. Either way, the San Francisco-based company cannot help but profit from this type of support from one of the most well-known brands online.

Read on: Google

— By on May 7, 2014, 3:57 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure