Google is looking to bring the experimental ride-sharing functionality of its Waze app to the United States, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal. Apart from the U.S., the Mountain View-based Internet giant is also planning to debut the service in parts of Latin America. That turn of events will see Waze start competing with the likes of Uber and Lyft once it rolls out its ride-sharing service to more territories in the coming months. That timeframe was provided by Noam Bardin, Chief Executive Officer at Waze, who recently said how the concept of carpooling became much more popular in recent years, implying that the company's decision to push into the said market is carefully timed.
While some industry watchers believe the Google-owned firm is late to the carpooling game, Waze is likely hoping that millions of people who use its navigational tool on a daily basis will be interested in becoming drivers. In that regard, Waze isn't entering the market without a pool of potential drivers that would be an integral part of its upcoming service. Furthermore, while Waze will almost certainly try to take a portion of the market from both Uber and Lyft, its service isn't identical to the other two. Instead of acting as a ride-hailing company, Waze is planning to operate as a true carpooling service that encourages drivers to pick up passengers who are already going in a similar direction. In that way, Waze drivers would not be working full-time but would instead only share travel expenses with the passengers they pick up. Getting people accustomed to the idea of picking up carpoolers will likely be the biggest obstacle to the company's vision and will directly affect the success of its business model, Bardin admitted.
If Waze succeeds in that endeavor, it likely won't take drivers away from Uber and Lyft, but it could easily take away some customers from both companies given how Waze rides are significantly cheaper than hailing an Uber or a Lyft. It remains to be seen whether the Google-owned company will manage to achieve that goal but more information on the matter should follow soon once Waze details its plans.