If there's any Google service that keeps users in the Android family, it's arguably the Google Assistant. Sure, you can get the app for iOS, but to talk to the Assistant on an iPhone, you need to open its app first, whereas an Android phone is always ready for a "Hey, Google" voice command.
Now Google is upping the ante by integrating rideshare and taxi services directly into the Assistant. On an Android device that has the app installed, you can just say, "Hey Google, I need a ride to my house," and Google Maps will open to show you your options for Lyft (Android, iOS), Uber (Android, iOS), and other rideshare apps you have on your phone.
You can also use a smart speaker like the Google Home to make your request, then confirm it within the relevant rideshare app on your phone.
If you're new to these services, you may see a message within Maps that lists some discounts offered by Google, such as GMAPS50 for Lyft, which gives you $5 off your first 10 rides, and GMAP, which makes your first Uber ride free (up to $15).
Depending on where you are, you can also swipe through the different types of rides. For example, in the San Francisco bay area, your Lyft options within Google Maps can range from the default Lyft Shared (the cheapest option) to "Lyft Lux Black XL," which will cost several times more but be able to accomodate a much larger group of riders.
For each of these options, tapping on them will give you different categories: Carpooling, Economy, Extra Seats, and Premium. With Economy and above, you get the ride to yourself and whomever you may be bringing with you.
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You can see your rideshare options in Google Maps at any time by tapping on the icon near the top of the screen that shows a waving person with a piece of luggage. If you tap on the train car icon to the left, you will see your public transit options, and an "Also Consider" section below that where your rideshare apps will display their competing offers.
Note that the public transit menu has a scheduling option, while the rideshare/taxi menu does not. If you want to schedule the latter type of transit, you'll need to tap the "Open App" button at the bottom of the screen, which will take you into your rideshare app of choice where you can arrange a time to be picked up (assuming that your service of choice offers scheduled pickups).
- Google has just announced that the Google Assistant can accept voice commands to help you arrange a rideshare or taxi pickup within Google Maps.
- You can do this on a phone where the Google Assistant is installed, or you can talk to one of the company's smart speakers to make your request and then confirm it on your phone.
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- How Uber and Lyft are putting passengers in danger by choosing cheaper background checks for drivers
- Lyft app redesign focuses on shared rides and connecting to public transit
- San Francisco warns Uber, Lyft riders to get in the right car (CNET)
- Uber to pay $148 million in settlement over 2016 data breach and cover-up (ZDNet)
- Why Uber and Lyft are actually making your morning commute worse (TechRepublic)