26 Mar 2016

Aggregating the Aggregators

(Disclosure: I work for Google, but not on Maps, and in any case, these are my personal opinions.)

Google Maps has now integrated Uber and Ola. This is a great idea because it lets people compare prices from both services, and presumably pick the cheaper one. After all, while I love Uber, I’ll choose Ola if it’s cheaper.

One can, in theory, check both the Uber and Ola apps before calling a taxi, but that’s a nuisance, one many people won’t do. We need to be able to compare them in one screen for the same reason we need travel websites that compare prices across all airlines in one screen.

In addition to saving money, aggregating cab services prevents any one of them from becoming a monopoly. It keeps the field open to a new player with a better or different approach.

Unfortunately, I see Ola fares in Google Maps only if I have Ola installed. If I didn’t have the Ola app installed, I would still want to see an Ola fare. That may be the trigger that drives me to install the app [1].

Still, aggregating Uber and Ola is a great idea.

[1] I have both Uber and Ola accounts.

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