Google is expanding its presence in the ride-sharing market.
The tech giant is expanding the service to its Waze navigation app in “several” cities across the United States and in Latin America over the next few months, the Wall Street Journal reports. The decision to enter the market came after a successful trial run in Israel and San Francisco.
The move makes Google a competitor for Uber â€” a company it was once allies with, notes the Journal (in 2013, Google invested some $258 million in Uber through its Google Ventures capital arm). However, it is important to note that Waze’s services are still different from soon-to-be rivals Uber and Lyft. Instead of working as an on-demand taxi service, Waze “wants to persuade regular drivers using its navigation app to pick up people who are heading in the same direction,” the Journal reports.
“Can we get the average person on his way to work to pick someone up and drop them off once in a while? Thatâ€™s the biggest challenge,â€ Waze CEO Noam Bardin told the Journal.
Waze’s prices also differentiate it from Uber and Lyft. According to the Journal, a ride from downtown Oakland, Calif. to downtown San Francisco costs a mere $4.50, where the same trip using either UberPool or Lyft Line is $10.57 and $12.40, respectively. To prevent drivers from using Waze as their main source of income, notes the Journal, riders only pay drivers $0.54 per mile, which is the current IRS reimbursement rate.
As of now, Waze doesn’t take a cut of its driver’s earning either â€” though will likely change to a 15% fee for riders if the service does well, according to the Journal.