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A Significant First Step by Google into Driverless Ridesharing | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Google’s Waze navigation app

Google’s carpooling service, offered via Google’s Waze navigation app, has one aim and that is to connect commuters who are in need of a ride, with drivers who can supply one, where in exchange, riders will help cover the drivers’ fuel costs.

The launch of this service marks the beginning of Google’s inevitable entry into the ridesharing wars, noting that consolidating rides means less number of cars on the road solving traffic issues and definitely enhancing the environment’s current state, according to Waze.

“Waze Carpool connects riders and drivers with nearly identical commutes based on their home and work addresses,” the company says in a section of its website. “Thanks to Waze advanced mapping capabilities, the platform connects carpool partners from the same local community.”

25,000 people, who work for Adobe and Wal-Mart in the San Francisco area, will be the 1st and only ones who are going to be introduced to the invite-only service, where Carpool riders will have to download a separate app, called Waze Rider, designed to interact with Waze’s primary app for drivers.

Google and Uber have had an unstable bond, in 2013, Google Ventures invested hundreds of millions of dollars into Uber but the two companies have since grown apart as Uber has matured. The Google-backed carpool experiment differs from companies in the ride-hailing industry, such as Uber, which is designed to offer drivers with an additional source of income.

On the contrary, Waze Carpool drivers won’t be paid for the meantime, beyond the 54 cents per mile that riders will be charged for gas and other routine expenses.

Although the Waze Carpool won’t be available all day, except for morning and evening rush hours, the offering signifies a significant first step by Google into ridesharing, one that sets the stage for a future service that could potentially involve not just human drivers, but self-driving cars.