Uber is facing challenges on a number of fronts, but the biggest one yet may be coming down the pike: Google (GOOG).
Even though Google Ventures was an early investor in Uber, the search giant is now reportedly preparing to compete against the ride-hailing company, according to Bloomberg News. Google is said to be preparing its own ride-hailing service, which may be offered in conjunction with its self-driving car project.
While it's unclear how much of a threat Google would pose to Uber -- The Wall Street Journal cast some doubt about the report -- the development may not be a positive one for Uber, which managed to up-end the taxi industry with a simple app. If Uber can manage such an accomplishment, the deep-pocketed Google, with its legions of engineers and thinkers, could surely make a land grab as well.
The question may be whether Google actually wants to compete with Uber, however. One Google engineer has been testing an internal app for carpooling to work, the Journal reported, adding that the report from Bloomberg was "blown out of proportion."
Uber, however, is also encroaching on Google's territory. On Monday, the ride-sharing company said it would work with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to build self-driving cars, a long-time project at Google.
Uber has had a number of headaches recently, which include coming under fire for several sexual assault cases involving its drivers and tracking reporters' whereabouts with its "God View" tracking ability. While its fast expansion across the U.S. and internationally has led to growing pains, Uber has had no problems raising capital. Last month, it closed on $1.6 billion in convertible debt from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s wealthy clients, the latest round to help fuel its growth.
In the meantime, Google is focusing on self-driving cars, driven by chief executive Larry Page's reported fascination with how the tech company can revolutionize cities and transportation.
Those efforts have prompted concern among Uber's executives, Bloomberg reports. Uber is considering whether to ask David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer and senior vice president of corporate development, to step down from its board, a role he's held since 2013, the report added.
Uber didn't immediately return a request for comment. In response to a query about the development, Google pointed to a tweet it issued on Monday night. "We think you'll find Uber and Lyft work quite well. We use them all the time," it read.