Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has stepped into the hotly competitively ride-sharing ring when it kick started its pilot carpooling services for travelers in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Monday.
Confirming Google’s plans, Israel’s English Daily Haaretz says Google-acquired Waze has devised a carpooling service, namely, RideWith, and is planning to launch it in Tel Aviv beginning this week.
Waze is an Israel-based app company taken over by Google in 2010 for a record $1 billion. Waze will take up the responsibility of offering the mapping and traffic data
Tens of millions of users are already receiving guiding directions from Waze, a Google-run turn-by-turn navigation application. It will now connect the surrounding drivers with passengers from their workplaces to or from living places. RideWith will bank on Waze to know about the routes drivers take and match them with commuters going in the same directions.
Currently, RideWith is different from Lyft’s or Uber’s business model and its rides are not scheduled on demand but hours ahead of pickup.
Dissimilar to Uber and Lyft, drivers will not be entitled to earn living from RideWith. Rather, they are allowed to take up rides twice a day and will get a token payment from passengers based on distance commuted and nominal maintenance expenses. Every trip can be paid for through the application with Google is collecting 15 percent of the fee.
The RideWith application is going to be made available to three Israeli cities – Tel Aviv, Herzliya, and Ra’anana – where much of the technical workforce is concentrated. Depending on the initial test success, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is planning to stretch the service to other pockets of Israel.
Google’s focus on carpooling instead of a taxi replacement will apparently help Google and Waze overcome some of the regulatory issues that have impacted companies like Uber. Last month, Uber faced similar problems and was compelled to halt its UberPop service in France following a nationwide agitation taken up by taxi drivers.
Google’s move will be a spot of bother for Uber as it is entirely dependent on the search agent and Uber’s smartphone apps for drivers and riders are hugely based on Google Maps.