Uber has been getting in Google’s way for some time now and the latter has been trying various things to remedy the situation. It seems that Google has now come up with something new and this is RideWith. While it is different from Uber, is clear that the search engine giant is offering it as an alternative. Basically, it is an opportunity for people to find others who will pay them for a ride in their car when they go to work.
Given search giant Google’s mapping expertise, perhaps the only thing surprising about its rumored carpooling business is that it didn’t launch one sooner. According to multiple reports, Google’s set to launch an app in Israel, RideWith, that lets drivers collect metered payment from passengers traveling in the same direction.
Waze, which is a community based mapping service that Google already owns, will be the power behind the new RideWith app. When launched, only an initial pilot will be available. However, some inside rumors are suggesting that Google will be looking at acquiring other taxi and car-sharing companies to grow the RideWith functionality. Of course, they are likely to also find a way to make sure the soon to be released self-driving vehicles of Google will also fit in to this idea. The initial pilot will take place in Israel, as Waze is a Tel Aviv based company.
Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute. Waze. Outsmarting traffic. Together.
When first launched, only those in the Gush Dan region will be able to use RideWith. Furthermore, it will initially only be available on Android devices. However, Google representatives have called this a ‘pilot’ themselves, which would suggest that they plan to expand this particular service across the world and across different operating systems if it is proven to be successful.
The pilot will also only allow people to car pool for their work-related journeys. The app will monitor just where these people actually go, which means they can check whether they were indeed work related trips. Furthermore, people will only be able to book two trips each day for starters. This is because there are numerous regulatory problems surrounding these types of apps. This is something that Uber and other companies of its kind are all too aware of. Indeed, Uber seems to be in the news more for its problems than for its successes.
The battles range from the national ban in India following accusations that an Uber driver raped a passenger, to a lawsuit Uber faces in California for denying service to blind customers. With another $1.2 billion raised late last year, and a partnership that will bring it into China, Uber is likely to continue its furious rate of expansion over the coming year. And if the pattern from 2014 holds, that will also mean another big jump in regulatory battles as well.
Google is also limiting the number of trips because they do not want to take the market away from local taxi drivers – or at least, not yet. After all, if the app is rolled out properly without any limitations, taxi drivers will most certainly notice the effects.
RideWith is designed to be cheap. A user will only have to pay a very small fee for each journey. This fee is worked out looking at the depreciation of the vehicle and the gas that is consumed. This means that those who offer somebody a ride will not actually be paid for their services. This is actually where it differs most significantly from Uber, which connects people with drivers who tend to be taxi drivers.
Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in hundreds of cities today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer.
At the same time, however, both apps are designed to make sure people are able to share their cars, allowing them to get to their preferred destination. Another similarity is that neither company seems to truly care about the future of taxi services. Indeed, both Google and Uber could very well start to use self-driving cars in order to pick people up who are going to and from work. After all, both companies are trying to build such a vehicle, and both hope to complete such a project very soon.
The battle between Uber and Google seems to be on. While Google is not being overly secretive about its self-driving vehicles, Uber seems to be downright open, with one of its vehicles having been spotted in Pittsburgh not too long ago.
The first test vehicle for Uber’s self-driving car programme has been spotted driving around the streets of Pittsburgh covered in cameras and sensors. The modified Ford branded with “Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center”, was spotted on residential streets by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Uber announced in February that it would open a research centre in Pittsburgh to develop self-driving technology to replace drivers in its taxis.
It is not clear where Google aims to go with RideWith. Some are suggesting that the company’s inability to acquire Uber is the main reason behind the development of the RideWith app. Others are saying it is the logical continuation to Google’s self-driving vehicles. However, if that is the case, then it would seem Google should be piloting the app after the said self-driving vehicles have been released to the public. Additionally, the reality is also that the regulatory concerns that Uber is facing will also be faced by Google and they seem almost impossible to avoid. Perhaps Google will keep its project much more low key, or maybe it has another ace up its sleeve that it has not yet shared. Either way, the pilot project in Israel will likely explain more.