iOS Google Maps Checking for Taxi Apps

I recently was working on adding an “action extension” to Station to Station so you can quickly view stations nearby a location you may be viewing in another app.

(For example, if you’re viewing a contact’s vcard, and it has an address, you can tap the “share” icon, and an extension appears saying “View nearby stations”. This is super helpful for when you’re taken to a map from another app, or a link, and want to take bikeshare to get there.)

I was running through all the apps I had on my phone where I thought this would be useful: Apple Maps, Contacts, Yelp, Google Maps, etc.

When I launched the extension scheme and told Xcode to run Google Maps, I saw this immediately on launch:

canOpenURL is a method your app can call to see if the device can handle specific URLs. For example, if you wanted to compose a tweet from your app, you can check if the device responds to the custom URL scheme twitter://, and if not, go to the website in Safari. It’s a super useful tool in many cases.

In this case, Google Maps is checking to see if it can open URLs for:

  • mytaxi://
  • easytaxi://
  • gett://
  • hailoapp://
  • olacabs://
  • taxis99://

I can’t say for sure what Google is doing with this, if anything. But I can say I’m not sure I trust their intentions.


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