Google is attempting to take Uber’s throne: On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s Waze app will enter the already-crowded ride-sharing market.
An anonymous source “familiar with the matter” told The Wall Street Journal that Google has already rolled out a beta program to company employees. Google’s ride-sharing service will differ from Uber: It will be restricted to ride shares — in other words, it will not be a new haven for taxi drivers. Also, fares will be lower, at “about 54 cents a mile.” As it currently stands, Google will not dip into the profits.
The current version of Waze is popular because users alert other drivers to car accidents, traffic delays, and police presence. This rumored version of Waze would allow people to both request and advertise rides. As hitchhiking is now outmoded, and Craigslist is inherently sketchy, such an app could at last make carpooling reasonable.
Google has long been developing its own driverless car as well. Until now, no one’s quite understood why. If this “person familiar with the matter” is to be trusted, then Google could incorporate these self-driving cars into its carpool app. The Journal says its source reports Google executives “might be looking into ride-sharing as a way to make money off of self-driving technology,” so self-driving taxis might be hitting the streets of Silicon Valley sooner rather than later.