Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is taking the competition to Uber with its own ride-sharing service. The firm plans to make the service available to all Waze users in San Francisco. This is the latest development in the Google-Uber rivalry, but on the good side for Uber, Google’s jumping in to the fray is expected to weaken the influence of taxi lobbyists to outlaw ride sharing platforms.
Waze is a navigation app that the company acquired in 2013 and the company plans to use it for its ride-sharing service. Alphabet plans to offer the ride-sharing service to Waze users in San Francisco. The Wall Street Journal claims that the service will be launched this fall. If the service is successful, Alphabet will expand it to more areas.
Alphabet’s ride sharing feature was first tested in Israel in 2015. The company also had another test run in the Bay Area in May though the service was only available to 25,000 employees from different firms. The Waze app allowed the employees to hail for rides based on their area of residence and destination. The app would then match them with a driver selected among the 700,000 Waze users in the area. The service was however not limited to those involved in the pilot and the drivers have the mandate to accept or reject ride requests.
Alphabet charges 54 cents per mile as stipulated by IRS regulations. Passengers will, therefore, get to share the costs. Unlike other ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber, Alphabet’s Waze service will not be an opportunity for drivers to make profit. Nonetheless, the service is expected to make the ride-hailing services more competitive.
The launch of the service also highlights how Alphabet and Uber have both been venturing into each other’s territory. Alphabet’s subsidiary Google was the first firm to venture into self-driving technology while Uber was one of the pioneers of ride-hailing services. Uber is also working on its driverless technology with the hope of offering taxi services with autonomous vehicles. Alphabet has also identified that there are huge opportunities to be exploited from driverless taxi services along with sparking up Uber rivalry.