Google's core business is that of data collection, management and distribution. Many of Google's free services are free because the information they collect pays for that particular service. Google have also opened up their cloud computing platform for other businesses to use this online resource Now, whilst Google can sell on this information it may also be used for the betterment of humanity. One of Google's acquired businesses, Waze, has just released a new ridesharing platform in Israel called RideWith. The idea is simple: Waze matches you with another individual on a similar commuting route. In exchange for a ride, you pay a little cash supplement. Waze's terms and conditions mean that Google will have access to specific information about drivers, such as makes and models of cars (so as to arrange carpooling), Google Account location history (so as to track commute patterns), last location and timing (to create events in a Google Calendar). In one small step, Google has leapfrogged Lyft and Uber as it has access to this information, the resources to manipulate it and the existing well proven infrastructure to make it happen.
There are a number of things that Waze's new system can handle, including building on the software's ability to mark and judge traffic flow. RideWith will allow Waze to dissect the traffic mapping down to a driver level. It will be able to track the most popular work routes and ascertain where the highest volume of users are heading to. It will be able to determine where most people are driving to and from for normal office opening hours. This information may then be extrapolated and provided back to drivers to help optimize the timing or routes. This should smooth the commute by avoiding the busiest areas at the busiest of times. Waze's RideShare information can also be fed back into GoogleMaps to give Google's mapping and routing service something of a heads up about expected traffic conditions. Yes; Maps already anticipates traffic flow and has near real-time information at its disposal, but RideWith's data will provide the service with a higher resolution of local traffic conditions. It means Google Maps' routing will become smarter.
Of course, information from Google Maps is already being fed into Google Now, and here we see how Waze's new service can benefit those users with Google Now and a regular commute. Google Now already looks up appointments in our Google Calendars so it will already be able to remind us of a carpool alert, but it may also be able to suggest a different departure time or route before we set off. This information will feed into other connected services, such as our smart home thermostat: if the commute takes a more efficient route, and the customer arrives home earlier, our home needs to know about it to pre-warm or cool itself.