Uber to challenge Google, hires former VP of Google Maps


Aside from Search, Google has a handful of products that command dominating strategic advantages, one of them being Google Maps. Together with Android Auto, this positions Google brilliantly to capitalize on one of the tech industries most promising yet unharvested sectors. From performing simple turn-by-turn navigation that displays relevant advertising to the futuristic but not too far reality of driverless cars, there is a lot more money to be made- and Uber wants a piece of Google’s pie.

Here is what Google Maps looked like when it was announced in 2005:


Under the direction of Brian McClendon, VP Engineering at Google, here is what it looks like 10 years later:


Now McClendon, the man who took the Maps team from Point A to Point B, has officially joined Uber to help take their mapping efforts to the next level.


At one point Uber was just a taxi alternative but the size and speed of the company’s growth has been astronomical. Rather than simply being a service that relies on APIs from Google Maps and Apple Maps, Uber looks to compete directly. Not only could they create their own alternative as a broad solution, but it’ll prove invaluable down the road as the companies seem headed towards an inevitable collision course in the fight for eventual self-driving car prominence.

“Google was actually Ubering before Uber”

Before you begin claiming that Google is trying to use their sheer size to eat everyone else’s lunch, let us not forget that Google was actually was Ubering before Uber, announcing Google Ride Finder way back in 2005 aside Google Maps.

It’s way too early to tell who has the upper hand, but one thing is for sure: it’ll be fun to look back in another 10 years and see how far mapping, navigation, and transportation of come in relation to these two companies.


Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Google needs to find a way to keep as many of their high asset brains in camp.

    1. It’s kinda hard when I’m sure Uber probably just gave the man an obscene amount of money more than the already obscene amount of money he was already probably making at Google.

      1. I’m pretty sure El Goog’s cash pile is far more obscene than Uber’s. But it’s not always about the $$ w/ these guys. He is very likely already set for life, could easily just retire today. But probably is looking for a new challenge. There will be a dozen other engineers at Google ready to take his place. I, for one, am not at all happy w/ the direction he took Maps after v6; really gutted a lot of the most useful features.

        1. Hey, we got a scale key back lately after doing without for a long time following its removal so we got that going for us! :D

          1. It could involve some serious stock options, if uber takes off he could get a windfall similar to a much earlier Google employee, and if it fails Google or Apple or Yahoo our Microsoft will always give him a job ago he has minimal risk

        2. Uber is still in the investment stages of growth, they’ve got a ton of debt, but a ton to show for it by way of their growth. My point, they don’t have anywhere near the amount of money Google has, so I’m sure he was well compensated. I doubt it was about the money, entirely. On the other hand, with all the tech that Google has at it’s disposal, particularly for maps, I would gather that whomever takes the helm will make some real progression. Hell, we haven’t even seen the full potential of Waze integration yet. Though curiously, Waze has seen a lot of Google Maps integration.

          1. I believe it’s the other way around. Maps has Waze’ traffic / incident data integrated. But Waze doesn’t use anything from Maps (afaik).

          2. Yep, you’re right. I can’t brain today.

    2. People can get bored at one company, or feel like they have done all they can and just want a new challenge with out having to move away from mapping.

    3. Google has already perfected Maps, so probably wasn’t much for him to do there.

  2. Ugh!! I’ve given up on this whole copying thing. For starters, there have been batteries excavated. Way back before electricity was “found”. That alone means the technology was already out.

    IDC who looks like what. Just make my shizniz work!!

    On the note for Google Maps and Uber, this is interesting. I think it was Uber I tried… or it could have been Lyft… Either way, it was… alright. People weren’t close by at all. Overall I wouldn’t be so keen on using it again. I ended up just walking those 4 miles because it was traffic time and no one was available until I was like 1 mile away.

    Could that be the maps? IDK… One guy told me to call someone closer. I just see this as a good thing. Spread the knowledge!! Do away with patents!!

    Wasn’t it the guy who developed the cure for smallpox that said he didn’t want to patent it so everyone can have it? Forgot who the guy was. I don’t think it was smallpox… maybe measles. But I’m digressing now.

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