Google Begins Carpooling Pilot with Waze App

waze comboGoogle-owned mapping company Waze is launching a carpooling pilot program in its home city of Tel Aviv, enabling commuters to pay fellow drivers a small fee for a ride to and fro their workplace.

The service, which functions as a standalone app called RideWith, makes use of Wazes navigation technology, learning the route that drivers take most frequently when commuting, then matching them up with people headed in the same direction.

Israel-based Waze was bought by Google two years ago for around $1bn (£643m), and makes use of satellite signals from members smartphones to create real-time traffic information and maps, as well as active input by users to help others avoid accidents, traffic and even police speedtraps.

The RideWith pilot marks both Waze and Googles first step into the ride-sharing economy, but neither are trying to rival Uber and similar services yet, with drivers limited to two journeys a day, and unable to earn a salary from the company.

These limits should help protect it from the reaction that Uber and other taxi-hailing applications have seen globally, along with the legal complications that such services have seen in numerous markets.

“Were conducting a small, private beta test in the greater Tel Aviva area for a carpool concept, but we have nothing further to announce at this time,” said a Waze spokesperson when asked about the pilot program.

Waze reportedly expects demand for drivers to outweigh supply to being with, but as more members sign up for the service, predicts that this will equalise as more people aim to earn back some of their fuel costs by offering lifts.