It looks like Google is finally moving into the San Francisco ride-sharing market. According to the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant is looking to offer commuters cheaper rates (and lower fares) than the two big players, Uber and Lyft. The plan is to connect drivers and riders who are going in the same direction, instead of the on-demand service you would see with other ride-sharing services.
This possible new initiative from Google follows a test that the company did in May that allowed workers at specific firms to commute with each other via the Waze app. It seems that Google will be expanding the service to the wider San Francisco area this fall, and beyond if successful.
The gist of the pilot program is that any Waze user in the area can sign up to be a driver or a rider, but ridership is limited to about 25,000 employees of San Francisco firms (such as Google, Walmart, and Adobe). Like Uber and Lyft, drivers will not be employees of Waze, and Google will apparently rely on user reviews to weed out bad drivers. This is similar to Waze's commuting service in Israel, where the ride-sharing business is already booming.
The Wall Street Journal also notes that the search giant is considering testing its driverless cars with Waze ride-sharing, a market that executives believe to be lucrative for the new technology. Obviously, Google is betting on the popularity of Waze, which has roughly 65 million active users, to streamline its entry into the transportation industry.
- The Wall Street Journal