In short: Google Assistant will now make it easier to book an Uber or a Lyft, as well as other popular ride-related services. Google announced the update to the Assistant today confirming that going forward users will simply just need to ask Google Assistant to book them a ride and the Assistant will respond with the available options and prices.
Background: Booking an Uber and Lyft specifically with an Android device, has always been something Google has been keen to integrate and that’s evident by the tighter relationship between those ride-sharing services and Google Maps, and Google Search. However, this update effectively strips the process down even more by decreasing the physical need to use a phone to book a ride. In fact, as this is a Google Assistant-specific feature, it’s not even resigned to a smartphone with those in need of a lift able to use this feature on pretty much any Google Assistant-enabled device, including smart speakers. Google has confirmed the feature is now in the process of rolling out, although it’s currently only available in countries “where one of our supported ride service partners operate.” In addition, the feature only currently supports requests in English although Google does plan to expand the language support “in the coming months.”
Impact: While the idea here is to remove the taps and presses and just make use of your voice, the feature only partly reduces the effort involved as it’s more for information purposes than anything else. As you still will need to complete the booking via a smartphone and irrespective of what Google Assistant-equipped device is used. So for example, Google explains users can now simply say “Hey Google, book a ride to destination” and the Assistant will surface the various services, prices and current expected wait-times. From here the user can then just click the one they want and continue with the booking. Google also pointed out people who are more invested in one service can skip the rest by adding that service to their spoken command. As an example, “Hey Google, book me an Uber to downtown.” By the same token, Google notes “many more” ride services are also supported, including Ola, Grab, GO-JEK.