Uber was one of the first apps to get Google Maps integration in the navigation section and allow direct cab booking without the need to exit Maps. However, the functionality has now been dropped from Google Maps and the Uber app will boot up when you need to book a cab. This was first spotted by Android Police. However, one will still be able to see the estimated fare and compare prices from different categories of Uber cabs. There is no official statement from either of the two companies as to why the integration was removed, but just to point out, this feature was not available for all regions and languages.
When thinking about why the feature was removed from Maps, there are a couple of reasons which come to mind. One could be because of Google’s $1 billion investment in Lyft last year and also due to of the fact that the direct booking feature caused Uber to lose out on location data from its consumers as the app wasn’t required to book a ride. As data is the new gold, Uber would want its users to book rides via its app instead of the direct booking using Google Maps.
Uber is also making progress with its app. The company recently announced a new Uber Lite app, which is tailored for entry-level smartphones with low storage and for areas with low network connectivity. The company claims that the new app has a response time of 300-milliseconds and it can load data faster by trimming the information displayed to the riders.
While using the Uber Lite app, a user’s location is automatically detected and they are presented with key landmarks around their location for making the selection procedure faster. Uber calls this feature Guided Pickups and it is aimed for facilitating minimal typing for users. The Uber Lite app also stores commonly selected locations on a user’s device to make requesting subsequent rides easier and more intuitive. You can read more about it here.