Google plans ride-sharing service in San Francisco

Aug 31, 2016, 2:58 AM EDT
(Source: Ian Lamont/flickr)
(Source: Ian Lamont/flickr)

Google, which has been running a pilot carpooling service near its California headquarters since May, plans to expand the ride-sharing service in San Francisco. Google’s Waze app, which currently provides traffic conditions and driving directions in real time, will be open for everyone in the Bay Area to request a ride by the end of the year.

Google’s entry into a booming but fiercely competitive transport business sets up a showdown with market leaders Uber and Lyft, writes the BBC. Google’s model is slightly different from that of Uber or Lyft, as Waze connects the driver and potential passengers heading in the same direction rather than providing on-demand taxi services.

Waze, which reportedly has a user-base of 65 million people, does not employ drivers like Uber and Lyft. Anyone with the Waze app could sign up to be a driver or rider and use reviews and alerts from other app users for ride sharing.

Uber, which bagged a $258 million investment from Google in 2013, is now a rival as the tech giant ventures into the fast-growing transport business, reports The Wall Street Journal. Like Google, Uber is also developing driverless cars and its own mapping software.