Alphabet's interest in Lyft isn't that surprising, if you think about it. It's already clear that Alphabet is interested in self-driving cars, as the company owns Waymo. And back in May, Waymo and Lyft announced the two companies would work together on self-driving cars. Following that, Lyft announced it would develop its own autonomous driving technology, stating that it was "core" to its business. Of course, Alphabet could be hedging another bet, since its sister company Google Ventures is a large early investor in Uber to the tune of $258 million in 2013, as well as the failed rival service Sidecar.
As Uber has been plagued by woe after woe of its own making, Lyft has been quietly rising as an increasingly used alternative. This round of funding may help put the company on equal footing as Uber's rival, rather than constantly being thought of as a second-place finisher.