Google Maps Launches Ride-Sharing and Delivery Platform

Google's new developer solutions for couriers reflect COVID-19 demand.

Need to Know

  • Google’s new developer solutions for couriers and ride-share companies includes the ability to customize routes, and the capacity to locate the nearest delivery driver for couriered packages within Google Maps.
  • In-app navigation reduces distractions caused by switching from the driver app to a navigation app.
  • Google first launched an in-app ride-sharing solution in 2018; the company’s courier-focused services are new.


Google has launched new developer solutions within Google Maps for ride-sharing and delivery companies, as these services have proved of vital importance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a blog post written by Eli Danziger, group product manager for Google Maps, and published on October 22, Google unveiled the new features, which include solutions to help businesses improve their services while transforming “the driver and customer journey from booking to arrival or delivery.” The first key feature is Routes Preferred, which leverages Google’s existing Routes APIs to show a driver’s ETA, expected route, and the estimated cost of trip prices within Google Maps. Developers can customize routes, and adjust for factors such as whether a driver is in a car or a bicycle.

Second, Google is introducing Nearby Drivers, a tool with which you’re able to easily find the right driver or courier for a trip, resulting in faster pickups and fewer canceled rides. Nearby Drivers uses In-app Navigation to update driver locations, and search for the closest driver to a pickup location using a single API call.

In-app Navigation is now available through Google’s On-demand Rides & Deliveries solution, which helps to prevent the distractions that are caused by switching from the driver app to a navigation app. Developers can customize the look and feel of In-app Navigation, while drivers can control their navigation and receive alerts all within a ride-share or courier company’s app. Trip & Order Progress, another tool, allows ride-share customers to see traffic conditions, a real-time view of a driver’s current position, and a dynamic ETA.

Google first launched an in-app navigation solution for ride-sharing companies in 2018, but in the October 22 blog post, Danziger said that the emphasis on delivery and courier companies brought on by COVID-19 led it to improve and expand its offerings. “We’ve worked closely with the largest operators in the space to identify new ways to address the rapidly evolving needs of on-demand rides and deliveries companies,” Danziger wrote.

Google has been rolling out COVID-19-specific updates throughout the pandemic, most recently launching a Maps layer that shows the concentration of confirmed coronavirus cases in a geographical area. The company’s updates have mainly focused on digital commerce and shopping, including new Shopping features that are focused on curbside pickup, and a partnership with Ware2Go for ‘free and fast’ shipping, which is displayed within Google Ads for participating partners.