Last spring, Google's parent company, Alphabet, started experimenting with a Uber-like carpooling service in San Francisco for select users of its direction app, Waze. Now, the company plans to open the service up to everyone in the Bay Area, lining it up in opposition to Uber and Lyft, the Wall Street Journal reports.
There are some key differences between Google's app and Uber and Lyft's services, though. Waze is billed as more of a carpooling app, rather than a taxi service, and aims to connect people who need rides with drivers who are already headed in the same direction. Waze also suggests riders call for a ride a few hours ahead of time, rather than use the app to hail a ride immediately.
It's a lot cheaper than Uber and Lyft, too. Waze charges riders a max of $0.54 per mile, which Google isn't currently taking a cut of. The company says its keeping the fee low to discourage people from becoming full-time taxi drivers.
Despite the differences, Waze will place Google in even more direct competition with Uber, after the ride-sharing company announced earlier this month it would be sending driverless vehicles to pick up riders all across Pittsburgh. Google has long been dabbling in the autonomous vehicle game, so its foray into the booming ride-sharing market seems to be business as usual.
Photo via Flickr userSam Churchill