Ridewith by WazeEnlarge Photo
Here's some news that isn't likely to sit well with the Uber brass: Google is getting into the ridesharing game.
Details come from The Car Connection, which writes that Waze—the traffic app Google acquired in 2013—is currently testing a service called Ridewith on its home turf in Israel. The app allows users to find folks to carpool with, so it's less of a replacement for the cabbie-customer dynamic than a way to network and split expenses.
Ridewith is hardly alone in the desire to promote carpooling, but Google's deep pockets and Waze's wide popularity will make it an immediate force to be reckoned with.
Currently, there are no plans to bring the service stateside, and since it's a different model than Uber, the taxi-disrupting service likely shouldn't worry too much about Waze's experiment—for now.
That said, Uber has more pressing problems.
There are credible reports the company is operating at nearly a half a billion dollar loss. Uber also faces ongoing battles with local municipalities over regulation—riots in France caused the company to exit the country entirely—and fears it fails to perform adequate driver background checks.
Possibly the scariest outcome for Uber is that Google remains on the sidelines until regulation around its services is settled law. At that point, the cash-rich search giant could swoop into the market and undercut the market leader. It's speculation, certainly, but hardly an impossible scenario.
When we know more about developments in the fight for ridesharing dollars, you will too.