Google takes on the ridesharing industry
It seems that a new giant entered the rideshare market – Google announced the launch of its own ridesharing service. Google has been testing its new carpooling service on the base of the navigation app Waze since May. It has been available for thousands of workers of tech companies in the Bay Area. The service will become available for everyone in San Francisco this fall.
Waze that was acquired by Google in 2013 provides drivers with crowdsourced information about traffic situation and driving directions based on the info collected by drivers. However, Google will be offering “real” ridesharing, unlike Uber or Lyft, meaning that the option to take passengers will be given to drivers going in the same direction. So far, drivers get paid no more than 54 cents per mile, and Google doesn’t take any commission. Such low rates allow Google to keep this a co-driving arrangements rather than on-demand taxi service that need to be regulated just like Uber and Lyft.
“For years, Waze has established a trusted community of drivers, with millions of Wazers helping each other beat traffic on the fastest routes. Since so many people are already using Waze to get to work, why not help a fellow commuter heading in the same direction? That’s what Waze Carpool is all about,” the company said in the statement on the Waze website.
This announcement was made a few weeks after Alphabet executive David Drummond left Uber’s board. It’s no secret that both companies plan to use driverless cars in the future, and with the launch of the carpooling service become even closer competitors. At the same time, Uber that currently uses Google Maps, invested $500 million in creating its own mapping service to stop depending on maps from Google.
Lyft has recently closed its Lyft Carpool service. It seems that it’s difficult for classic ridesharing to compete with Uber and traditional Lyft. In case of Waze, the problem of background checks also arises. As long as the company is not generating revenue, such checks are not required and anyone can offer ridesharing. Let’s see if Google will be able to beat Uber in the niche where Uber is the king.
What do you think about Google’s carpooling efforts?