Greentech Media // Aug 26, 2013
Google, continuing to meander outside the confines of the internet world, has launched major investments in clean energy projects across the world.
However, rather than farfetched long-term research projects, Google is looking to support existing renewables projects with more realistic aspirations. As such, Google recently became a player in the hybrid vehicles and ‘smart transportation’ market with $258 million USD in backing for the company Uber.
Uber is a “car-on-demand,” service similar in some ways to established car-sharing services like ZipCar and Car Smart. However, Uber doesn’t require members to “rent” a car for an allotted time. Rather, Uber pairs users with drivers, mainly professional, in several cities across the country. The company was founded in 2009 and is now present in 40 cities across the world and is now valued at more than $3.5 billion USD.
The CEO of Uber, Thomas Kalanick, confimed the $258 million in financing from Google Ventures earlier in August, commented the money would be used to, “accelerate customer and driver acquisition, and [to] fight off protectionist, anti-competative efforts.”
There may be other incentives for the companies to partner financially as well. Techcrunch recently ran a (fake) "news story from the future" (which, incidentally, was picked up and spread throughout the web as though it were a current story) that reported the company would purchase 2,500 driverless cars directly from Google... in 2023.
Back in the present, Kalanick expressed a positive outlook on their relationship with Google. “We look to Google and Google Ventures for the strategic connectivity to their product initiatives alongside the expertise that comes with evangelizing new technology with governments and regulatory bodies around the world.”