Google is running its own ride-sharing service in San Francisco, The Wall Street Journal reports. The move would put Google in direct, immediate competition with Uber, which helps explain even further the recent departure of Alphabet executive David Drummond from Uber’s board. Google’s new offering piloted in May, according to the WSJ, and uses the Google-owned Waze app to connect commuters for shared carpooling.
The plan is apparently to open up said program to all San Francisco residents starting this fall, with an eye toward expanding it further provided that works out. And unlike Uber, this is more of a matchmaking service, which brings together riders with drivers headed in the same direction. Fees are going to be low, too — the report says Google is intentionally keeping them low to keep this a peer-to-peer co-driving arrangement, rather than something that professional drivers will want to use in a dedicated capacity, like Uber and Lyft.
Waze’s operational model to date has focused on connecting drivers via crowdsourced navigation information. Users report things like accidents, roadside obstacles, storms and traffic jams, and these are immediately available to other drivers. Shortly after Google acquired Waze in 2013, it started using its crowdsourced navigation data in the primary Google Maps app, as well.