Lyft declared yesterday that it will update its app for drivers to replace its old navigation system with Google Maps, in the hopes of saving drivers the hassle of switching back and forth between apps. Drivers who prefer Waze, though, can opt out of the in-app navigation, Lyft says.
Most drivers are already spending a lot of time swiping between multiple ride-hail apps like Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Gett, looking for the closest passenger or alerts of surging fares. On top of that, a lot of them depend on crowdsourced navigation apps like Google Maps or Waze, another Google-owned service. By integrating Google Maps into its app, Lyft is hoping to minimize the swiping, and also keep drivers locked into its own digital ecosystem.
The new feature is also one of the advantages of having a separate app for drivers, which Lyft rolled out earlier this year. Before May, both rider and driver features were located within the same app, making it harder to add new features.
This isn’t the first time that Lyft has leaned heavily on Google’s superior navigation services and expertise to bolster its product. Back in 2016, Lyft added Waze into its app as its default navigation tool. Earlier this year, Lyft hired former Google engineer Luc Vincent, who helped pioneer Street View. He is now helping spearhead the ride-hail company’s effort to design and build its own self-driving car technology.
Lyft’s new Google-built navigation is currently only available to drivers who use Android, with the feature rolling out to iOS users soon after.
Of course, Uber has been using Google Maps since March, when it announced that it had rebuilt its driver app to include the search giant’s navigation tool. And Google Maps lets users hail either an Uber or Lyft without ever leaving its own app. Thanks to APIs and SDKs, every app is every other app.