Google is turning its self-driving cars unit into a standalone business under Alphabet next year, Bloomberg’s John Lippert and Jack Clark reported Wednesday.
Google’s autonomous cars will offer “rides for hire,” according to Bloomberg.
That doesn’t sound much different from the service Uber provides — especially since one of Uber’s goals, CEO Travis Kalanick has said, is to get into the driverless car business.
“Look, Google is doing the driverless thing, Tesla is doing the driverless thing, Apple is doing the driverless thing,” Kalanick said in an interview with “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert.
We’ve known for months now that Google has been working on an Uber rival, a service that will likely feature its autonomous vehicles.
Coincidentally, there’s been a bit of an exodus from Google to Uber in recent months.
Recently, Manik Gupta, who announced his move on LinkedIn after working on Google Maps for seven years (most recently as the director of product management), just joined Uber as the director of its Maps product.
Brian McClendon, who ran Google Maps for many years joined Uber in July. Tom Fallows, a former founder of Google Express is now an Uber exec. And Rachel Whetstone, Google’s communications and policy SVP, started working with the same title at Uber in May.
The exodus from Google to Uber has been so noticeable that Fallows recently said on stage at a recent StrictlyVC event that one out of three people he works with at the $50-billion startup is a former Google colleague.
A quick LinkedIn search reveals more than 300 Xooglers now at Uber.
Google’s venture division, Google Ventures, invested roughly $250 million in Uber in 2013, but the two companies’ expanding ambitions mean they are increasingly eyeing each other’s turf. Uber used to use Google Maps data to power its apps, but now its working on its own mapping product (hence Gupta’s role).