Google's Waze Rider Service Debuts in San Francisco

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Three years after Google bought the popular navigation app Waze, the company is ready to release another solution for our ever-busy roads. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the carpooling app Waze Rider is going live in San Francisco after spending over four months in testing. The app is a ride-sharing solution somewhat similar to Uber and Lyft but with one important exception – it's specifically designed for casual ride-sharing and not ride-hailing. In other words, it connects people who have similar destinations in mind. What that means in practice is that Waze Rider users are limited to two rides per day and while they obviously don't get to commute for free, they're only paying for travel expenses and not the actual driver.

Why would anyone want to be a Waze Rider driver for free, then? Again, because this is a carpooling app and is looking for people who are interested in cutting their travel expenses by taking on a few more passengers. More specifically, passengers in San Francisco are currently paying $0.54 per mile which is obviously cheaper than both Uber and Lyft so Google has a good chance of attracting commuters to use its new service. In addition to that, the tech giant doesn't have to worry about all of the regulations Lyft and Uber are subject to because Waze Rider drivers technically aren't making a profit. In order to sign up for the program, all you need to do is submit your home and work addresses and your general working schedule. Waze Rider will then pair you with potential commuters looking to catch a ride with you and share your travel expenses. The Mountain View-based company specifically stated that Waze Riders will never be required to provide any information on their vehicles, background checks, and everything else that the likes of Uber and Lyft are currently demanding from their drivers.

It's a service with a limited scope but works pretty much as intended. The app itself still requires some additional polishing as The Wall Street Journal reports its actual navigation still isn't working as intended but all in all – it's interesting to see whether Google manages to take some of Uber and Lyft's customers considering how more affordable its service is. On the other hand, it's worth noting that Uber is also likely to follow with a similar carpooling service in the near future, so Waze Rider won't be without competition for long.

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]

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