MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - FEBRUARY 02: U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (R) and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) ride in a Google self-driving car at the Google headquarters on February 2, 2015 in Mountain View, California. U.S. Transportation Secreta / Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

App is powered by Google’s Waze, and will initially be launched in Israel

Google has launched its own carpooling service, taking on Uber with the opportunity to pay someone to sit in their car on the way to work.

RideWith will be powered by Waze, the Google-owned community-based mapping service, and will be limited to an initial pilot. But many have suggested that the company is looking to take on other car-sharing and taxi companies — eventually using self-driving vehicles — and the new launch could be the beginning of those plans.

At first, the service will only be launched in Israel, where Waze is based. It will only be available for people in the Gush Dan region who are using Android — but it is likely that the company will expand it further after that, describing it as a “pilot”.

Initially, it will only let people share trips to and from work. It will watch where people are going to ensure that they are only taking those journeys, and will limit people to two trips per day.

That should help it get around much of the regulatory problems that have blighted Uber and its competitors, as well as causing less of an issue with traditional taxi drivers.

Users will only pay a small fee, based on the cost of gas and depreciation rather than giving money to drivers for their services.

As such, it’s unlikely to directly challenge Uber for its main business of taxi rides, initially. But both Uber and Google are looking towards car sharing as an easier way to allow people to get where they want to be.

And neither company might be looking to the taxi business in the long term, anyway. Both companies’ ultimate strategy could be to provide self-driving cars that can pick people up and drop them off without need for a human driver, it has been said, and Google is perhaps the most famous company to be working on automated vehicles.

Comments