Echoing Apple's $1B investment in Didi Chuxing, Alphabet sinks $1B into Lyft

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
In a deal that values Lyft at $11 billion, Google's parent company Alphabet has invested $1 billion into the ride sharing service, more than a year after Apple placed its own $1 billion bet on Chinese taxi provider Didi Chuxing.




Lyft announced on Thursday that Alphabet's growth investment fund, CapitalG, has placed a significant investment in the startup. In addition, CapitalG partner David Lawee is joining the Lyft Board of Directors.

CapitalG, formerly known as Google Capital, is a late-stage growth venture capital fund financed by Alphabet. It was founded in 2013 and has invested in the likes of Airbnb, Snap, SurveyMonkey, and Credit Karma.

Alphabet is best known as the parent company of search giant Google. Google did a major restructuring in August of 2015 that split off Google's side businesses into separate companies, all under the Alphabet umbrella.




The investment from Alphabet mirrors one that competitor Apple placed in China-based ride sharing service Didi Chuxing in May of 2016. Like Alphabet, Apple invested $1 billion into a growing taxi company with self-driving automotive ambitions.

Apple's own self-driving vehicle plans have slowly come to light over the last few years, initially under the guise of an internal endeavor known as "Project Titan." While it was initially believed Apple was interested in building its own cars, it has since been suggested that the company has moved on to building the brains of self-driving cars, with a particular focus on autonomous vehicles.




Google and Alphabet, meanwhile, have been more forthcoming about their plans for autonomous cars. Since the Alphabet restructuring, the Google's self-driving car project has been branded as Waymo.

Alphabet's investment in Lyft is a way to help bolster the Waymo program, but it is also likely a snub at Lyft rival Uber, with whom Waymo is in the midst of a lawsuit. Waymo has sued Ubere, accusing it of using data allegedly stolen from the Alphabet subsidiary.

Waymo's lawsuit led Uber to fire one of its leaders, Anthony Levandowski, who was previously a key player at Alphabet's self-driving car project. Waymo alleges that Levandowski of taking some 14,000 files with him before he founded self-driving truck company Otto, which was bought by Uber a few months later.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,516member
    And Lyft was looking so promising! Pity.
    patchythepiratecali
  • Reply 2 of 20
    That’s a shame. Switching back to Uber now. 
    calijbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 20
    65026502 Posts: 280member
    At least Lyft is an American company and its work will benefit Americans. I could care less about Didi.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 617member
    not a shocker...if they are copying Apple's donuts, why not this?


    jbdragonAppleExposed
  • Reply 5 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,001member
    6502 said:
    At least Lyft is an American company and its work will benefit Americans. I could care less about Didi.
    Except Apple is a global brand (Company)...even though its based in the US, it cannot just sit there and only do what's best for the United States. This is typical American thinking...and we wonder why others hate American's? China is a very large investment and a good one at that. 
    edited October 2017 bshanktokyojimucaliSolijbdragonMacsplosionwatto_cobra[Deleted User]
  • Reply 6 of 20
    That’s a shame. Switching back to Uber now. 
    Seriously?
    Soli1STnTENDERBITSjbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 20
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,695member
    Wondering if ride sharing companies have legs from an investment standpoint. Is this something that will still exist 10 or 20 years from now?  Or will it be the same companies, just operating on a self driving platform and many fewer employees?  I have never been confidant in the wildly optimistic deployment time frames put out by these developers for widespread use of self-dring vehicles.  I think it's going to take more like 30-50 years before they are the norm.  Apple and Google may be investing early, even though it seems like we have been talking about this stuff for 10 years.

    Personally I've never used ride sharing as I have my own car.  However, as I move into retirement and see my parents becoming less able to drive, autonomous cars and services seem like a good thing.  Not sure it will happen soon enough for me to take advantage of however.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Still waiting for Apple to invest another billion in Didi international roll out. 
  • Reply 9 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,381member
    welshdog said:
    Wondering if ride sharing companies have legs from an investment standpoint. Is this something that will still exist 10 or 20 years from now?  Or will it be the same companies, just operating on a self driving platform and many fewer employees?  I have never been confidant in the wildly optimistic deployment time frames put out by these developers for widespread use of self-dring vehicles.  I think it's going to take more like 30-50 years before they are the norm.  Apple and Google may be investing early, even though it seems like we have been talking about this stuff for 10 years.

    Personally I've never used ride sharing as I have my own car.  However, as I move into retirement and see my parents becoming less able to drive, autonomous cars and services seem like a good thing.  Not sure it will happen soon enough for me to take advantage of however.
    1) I'd think the various sages of automated driving are going to come about much faster than you've predicted. It wasn't that long ago when there wasn't even adaptive cruise control and now we're well beyond that in shipping vehicles. Even relatively low-cost vehicles, like the Nissan Rogue, has an self-driving enhancement options.

    2) Outside of ride sharing there are taxi cabs and shuttles. Ride sharing is simply a melding the modern technology and culture with fared transport, which have done wonders to upset the taxicab monopolies in cities around the world and bring fared service and cheaper service to areas that were previously weren't populated enough to handle demand a reasonable cost. I expect that to grow in time over everyone owning their own car.

    PS: I still see and hear people comment that self-driving cars will always be less safe than a human driver, but that awful mindset is much less pronounced than it was just a few years ago before Tesla introduced AutoPilot. Ironically, at least with the people I know that make this claim they all have had major accidents that they caused and/or their licensing suspended from drunk driving. That tells me it comes down to control, but all that is solved with each passing year.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 10 of 20
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    welshdog said:
    Wondering if ride sharing companies have legs from an investment standpoint. Is this something that will still exist 10 or 20 years from now?  Or will it be the same companies, just operating on a self driving platform and many fewer employees?  I have never been confidant in the wildly optimistic deployment time frames put out by these developers for widespread use of self-dring vehicles.  I think it's going to take more like 30-50 years before they are the norm.  Apple and Google may be investing early, even though it seems like we have been talking about this stuff for 10 years.

    Personally I've never used ride sharing as I have my own car.  However, as I move into retirement and see my parents becoming less able to drive, autonomous cars and services seem like a good thing.  Not sure it will happen soon enough for me to take advantage of however.
    I think that’s uktimately the goal for Apple and Didi. They’re collecting data to make that a reality. China is a huge auto data market. Don’t be surprised if Apple provides devices that collect data on Didi cars soon. 

    I rode a self driving car in the future(in a very vivid dream I had) and the experience was breathtaking. The car had a huge top to bottom windshield but the car was shaped like a high end sports car and I laid back as I watched the mountain-side of cool Colorado in a cloudy day. I was laying on a central seat and turned over as I watched the snow and trees on the mountain next to the road. I was dropped off at a station where other autonomous vehicles were getting washed and there were quite a few passengers around the busy station.

    Yea it was a dream but it was very very vivid and real and as silly as it may sound I got a taste of what the future could be like an the car experience was similar to going to the cinema. It didn’t feel forced, dangerous or like a task. 
  • Reply 11 of 20
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    except Apple did it a while back, so not sure how this is an echo, maybe a remote echo... A cavern.

    It is probable that Apple has some product in the pipeline to test in the Chinese market, and I'd expect that to be pretty soon.

    Apple's option would be to slap that on the roof of just normal cars with a minimal conversion inside. A kind of kit for the very large Chinese market.
    Initially, it would mainly be for testing in very hard urban situations.

    Labor costs in China for this conversion are so low that there could be very fast a large test fleet.
    tmay
  • Reply 12 of 20
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    foggyhill said:
    except Apple did it a while back, so not sure how this is an echo, maybe a remote echo... A cavern.

    It is probable that Apple has some product in the pipeline to test in the Chinese market, and I'd expect that to be pretty soon.

    Apple's option would be to slap that on the roof of just normal cars with a minimal conversion inside. A kind of kit for the very large Chinese market.
    Initially, it would mainly be for testing in very hard urban situations.

    Labor costs in China for this conversion are so low that there could be very fast a large test fleet.
    Because deals don’t happen in a day.

    And yes I’ve been saying it since Apple invested in Didi, don’t be surprised if they use Didi as a personal testing incubator. China is one of the best markets to gather driving data since it has terrible driving conditions(and drivers apparently). 
    Solitmay
  • Reply 13 of 20
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,516member
    That’s a shame. Switching back to Uber now. 
    Seriously?
    Anything but Google. Seriously.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 14 of 20
    That’s a shame. Switching back to Uber now. 
    Lemme get this right.  You currently use Lyft.  A company that has a much better reputation than Uber.  But you're going to switch back to Uber, a company that was run as frat house, spying on users, circumventing the law, and stealing IP.  This is the company you're going to give your business?  All because of what?  Google's investment in Lyft.
    Yup.  Makes sense.
    Soligatorguy
  • Reply 15 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,381member
    That’s a shame. Switching back to Uber now. 
    Lemme get this right.  You currently use Lyft.  A company that has a much better reputation than Uber.  But you're going to switch back to Uber, a company that was run as frat house, spying on users, circumventing the law, and stealing IP.  This is the company you're going to give your business?  All because of what?  Google's investment in Lyft.
    Yup.  Makes sense.
    The assumption is that Google is unethical, which makes supporting Uber an unfathomably odd choice.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Didn't expect so many sensitive reactions here. I don't want to support google and its omnipresent data gathering, which is more of a priority to me than favoring Lyft over Uber. I don't see what's so unusual about that. It seems like a pretty 'fathomable' stance to take to me. To each his/her own I guess.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,189member
    That’s a shame. Switching back to Uber now. 
    Seriously?
    Well now lift us spying for Google.  Where you get picked up where you were stored of, the time. Etc.  All valuable data to add to all the other crap they have on you.

    patchythepirate
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Lyft receiving $1B line of cash is GREAT news. They seem to really do a good job of screening drivers and handling issues. Self-driving cars won't happen until they make it economically impractical to own a driver-based car, but all the hyperbole builds great excitement.

    jbdragon said: Well now lift us spying for Google.  Where you get picked up where you were stored of, the time. Etc.  All valuable data to add to all the other crap they have on you.
    So most drivers already use Google Maps or Google Waze, regardless of which transit service they are affiliated with. It doesn't matter if you use those apps on your phone while taking a ride because...

    All recent phones can broadcast themselves as "beacons" using BLE, as do all WiFi devices and it's possible for other phones/devices to obtain a list of those nearby beacons (or WiFi devices), along with a Relative Signal Strength Indication for each of them (that can be further mathematically translated into a loose "physical proximity") and then uploaded to the Cloud for correlation of which phones AND computers AND vehicle-infotainment-systems are near each other and for what duration and what transit vector. From there the machine learning algos go to work determining what types of people a given user is likely to hang around and when, what kind of establishment, where they start and end journeys (both specifically and generally), when they are likely to use which of their devices/computers, etc. and that can be fed into more correlation to serve ads to you, marching you closer and closer towards doing something stupid with your money. The initial code that makes this possible is probably built-in to Android and Google Waze, Facebook Messenger, AccuWeather, etc.. but would have to be added to other apps (most like Uber's driver and/or rider apps) and is integral to a lot of social networking systems.

    As far as abuse of this, Congress is already heading towards regulation of Facebook and Google (in multiple phases, starting with accountability over who is advertising what). BTW, there is an interesting article over on The Verge today that covers a class of students that used a modest budget to sign up to distribute some online ads that, in turn, allowed them to track any specific person or group of persons they so chose.

    edited October 2017 patchythepirate
  • Reply 19 of 20
    In a deal that values Lyft at $11 billion, Google's parent company Alphabet has invested $1 billion into the ride sharing service, more than a year after Apple placed its own $1 billion bet on Chinese taxi provider Didi Chuxing.
    Strange way to phrase it considering Google invested in Uber in 2013, which at the time was Google Venture's biggest ever investment

    That’s a shame. Switching back to Uber now. 
    See above - Google as far as I know, still has that stake, about 7%, at least for now
    Soli
  • Reply 20 of 20
    In a deal that values Lyft at $11 billion, Google's parent company Alphabet has invested $1 billion into the ride sharing service, more than a year after Apple placed its own $1 billion bet on Chinese taxi provider Didi Chuxing.
    Strange way to phrase it considering Google invested in Uber in 2013, which at the time was Google Venture's biggest ever investment

    That’s a shame. Switching back to Uber now. 
    See above - Google as far as I know, still has that stake, about 7%, at least for now
    Welp, maybe I'll switch back to Lyft now, lol. Thanks for the info.
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