Lyft connects drivers and riders with Google Maps APIs

Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Vishay Nihalani, Product Manager at the ride-sharing service Lyft. Read how Lyft uses Google Maps APIs to help riders save money and get to their destinations faster. Lyft is one of many customers sharing their story as part of our cross-country road trip, Code the Road.

We know a lot about road trips—people have taken tens of millions of rides with us from the steep hills of San Francisco to the city streets of Chicago. Ride-sharing today is an intensely competitive business. If you’re going to succeed, you’ve got to connect riders and drivers simply and conveniently and make the experience delightful from beginning to end. That’s why we chose Google Maps and the Google Maps APIs. We started using them with our internal operations tools, and when we saw how valuable and scalable they were, we worked with Google to launch their services in our customer-facing apps.

The Google Maps Android API creates our Android app’s main interface—it’s the map you see when users log in. Our users can drop pins on a map or enter their location manually to indicate pick-up and drop-off locations. Through reverse geocoding, the app will recognize locations and determine an address automatically based on where the pin is dropped. We also help people find their locations by using the Google Places Search API. People often think about the places they want to go by name—for example, they’ll enter “Cliff House” rather than the restaurant’s street address. The Google Places Search API allows a passenger to enter the name of a destination.

When customers use our app, they expect there’ll be a car waiting for them and they’ll get to their destination as quickly as possible. They need to know when they’ll be picked up and when they’ll get where they want to go. We make it easy for our riders to quickly see this information right in the app.

Lyft now has more than 100,000 drivers and delivers more than two million rides per month in 65 cities. We’ve seen more than 500% growth in rides and revenue since last year, thanks in large part to Google Maps. And we’re exploring ways to make Lyft even better by using maps to improve the ride options we offer—for example, by expanding our new Lyft Line option for riders going in the same direction.

Google has been a great partner and has really contributed to our success, so we’re pleased to participate in Code the Road as Google celebrates mapping innovation and fun on its trip across America. Kyle Madsen, Android Developer at Lyft, presented at the Chicago developer meetup on June 9th. It was a great crowd and an exciting event. We hope to see you on the road!