Google has added Grab and Go-Jek to its Google Maps platform in Southeast Asia to fuel the heated ride-hailing market, reports Tech Crunch.
Uber’s advantage over its competition was the fact that it was being integrated into Google Maps. However, this year, Google Maps added a slew of non Uber options onto its platform, with the latest being Grab and Go-Jek in Southeast Asia.
The option appears when a user has asked for directions to a place inside apps. The app will show the distance, location of the nearest vehicle and a price estimate. Clicking for the ride option will redirect the user to the Grab or Go-Jek application.
Google Maps has been helping people navigate the world for over a decade, and we’re excited to be able to make Southeast Asia more accessible through Grab’s affordable, on-demand local transport options. – Grab’s Press Release.
These new integrations comes at a very interesting time for Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing apps. Grab is raising a new round of funding at a valuation of $2.3 billion, with China’s Didi Chuxing and Softbank leading the investment of $600 million into the company. Go-Jek has also recently raised $550 million in funding. Although the latter is less globally known, it is the leading motorbike on demand app in Indonesia. The integration into Google Maps may also suggest that the startup is considering a further expansion into Southeast Asia.
The Google Maps app still prioritizes Uber over other options. However, this monopoly is very much like Google’s relationship with Uber itself, complicated. Uber has been dependent on Google Maps, but the company is reportedly spending $500 million to develop its own solution, which is reflected in its acquisition of a small US based maps startup. There have also been many reports that Google is working on an Uber rival of its own.
Perhaps by adding Uber’s Southeast Asia rivals, Grab and Go-Jek to its maps platform, Google is sending out a message of its own.
A version of this appeared in Tech Crunch on August 9. Read the full version here.