Despite being one of the top investors in leading ride-sharing service Uber, Google has launched a rival service called Waze Rider.
The original Waze app uses crowdsourcing to provide navigation and real-time traffic information.
Waze Rider is an extension of this app that helps you find a ride by connecting you to fellow commuters already using Waze.
Cost based on miles traveled
You simply enter a destination and the app connects you with a willing Waze user (referred to as a Wazer) heading in the same direction. Once the ride is set, all you have to do is wait for the driver to show up.
The cost of the ride is based on the number of miles and right now Google isn’t taking any cut, which means the driver gets the full fee. The drivers have their own profile with information that can be verified, and they are ranked with “thanks” received from previous riders.
According to Google, many drivers and riders choose to travel together repeatedly, making the service great for carpooling.
May herald autonomous ride sharing
Waze Rider is only available at select locations at present though this is constantly being expanded. And with millions already using the original Waze app, there are potentially huge numbers of drivers out there willing to offer rides.
With Google hard at work developing a fully autonomous car, we may end up seeing rides being offered by driverless cars in the not too distant future. It’s a strategy other leading firms in the ride-sharing world are working on, including Uber and Lyft.
While Uber is handling the autonomous car development on its own, Lyft is partnered with General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] and could have autonomous ride sharing trials up and running as early as next year. Similarly, Apple recently confirmed it's invested $1 billion in Chinese Uber-rival Didi Chuxing and is thought to be developing autonomous car technology of its own.