Back in May, Google ran a pilot program that allowed some Waze users to commute with fellow Waze users heading the same direction, and it’s about to expand the service to everyone in San Francisco this coming fall.
Google acquired Waze in 2013, an app that offers real-time directions for drivers. Unlike Google Maps, Waze is a turn-by-turn navigation app that uses information – such as accidents and road closure – shared by real drivers.
Earlier this summer, Google reportedly began a pilot program in its California headquarters area which essentially let Waze users in the area commute with one another. It’s not quite like Uber or Lyft where you call for a ride on-demand; instead, it’s uniquely for ride sharing, sort of like Uber Pool. So if you’re heading somewhere and you see a designated Waze driver heading the same direction, you can simply hop in. For the pilot program, you could only get two rides per day – to and from work – but it remains to be seen if this will be the case when the service becomes publicly available in San Francisco this fall.
It’s not quite like Uber or Lyft where you call for a ride on-demand; instead, it’s uniquely for ride sharing, sort of like Uber Pool.
According The Wall Street Journal, Google’s new carpool service could resemble how Waze operates in Israel, its birthplace. Google introduced the Waze ride-sharing service in Israel last year, and the service is now available in most parts of the country. Although details on rates are unknown, it is reported that the new service from Google will be cheaper than its competition.
With Uber doing way over a million rides per day, the biggest factor for Waze’s success would depend on availability. Although the navigation app boasts 65 million active users, Google will have to provide the right incentive to recruit enough drivers. There is also the question of security. Unlike Uber or Lyft, Waze’s drivers are not official employees, meaning they represent neither Waze nor Google. Everything will apparently depend on user reviews, so if a driver has no reviews, that’s a risk you’re gonna have to take.
You may be wondering what could be next in on-demand transportation services. The next wave is likely to bring driverless rides: Uber recently bought a self-driving truck company for a cool $680 million, and The Wall Street Journal claims that according to familiar sources, Google is also testing self-driving cars for its carpool service. For more information on self-driving cars, check out our sister site, Charged.
If you’re in SF area, would you use the upcoming ride-sharing service from Waze? How do you think Google’s new service will compete against Uber and Lyft? Let us know by leaving a comment below!