Google takes on Uber by turning Waze into a ride-sharing platform

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Google would be officially joining the ride-sharing fray in the U.S. with a pilot program under its Waze navigation app. Waze Carpool, as the program is called, will initially only be available in the San Francisco area and aims to swiftly match drivers and riders heading in the same direction to create a seamless, Uber-like ride-hailing experience.

The difference? It will be far cheaper and aimed at commuters rather than barhopping Millennials. The drivers get a small reimbursement of up to 54 cents per mile to cover gas and expenses (that’s the maximum you can deduct for business use of a car, per the IRS), and riders are limited to two trips a day, between work and home. The service is already available in Israel.

 

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In the Bay Area, the pilot is currently limited to select employers that have signed up for the service. While drivers would use the same app they currently employ to get directions, potential passengers would use the Waze Rider app.

The Waze Carpool, which will launch this fall, is being hyped as an early blow in the coming slugfest between Google and Uber, two once-friendly tech giants who are battling over who gets to drive people around. And it may well be: Uber’s recent announcement of a pilot program for autonomous cars in Pittsburgh certainly signaled the company’s intentions to get all up in Google’s self-driving grille.

 

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