Mobile Commerce

Google Takes On Uber

Uber ride hailing

Google is driving straight towards ride-hailing giant Uber.

In a clash of tech-driven titans, The Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday (Aug. 30) that Google is unveiling a ridesharing service in San Francisco, with an eye on carpools and with a pilot program that the Alphabet unit started in May.

That pilot program lets thousands of workers across several firms connect with one another through the Waze app, which has 65 million active users, and the service will expand to become available to all Waze users as early as this fall, WSJ reported. Waze was acquired by Google three years ago. An unidentified source told the financial publication that the firm wants to have fares low enough so they encourage riding in groups. The current fare stands at roughly $0.54 per mile, and Google does not take a fee, said WSJ, though the concept of charging fees for the service is being mulled in both California and Israel, according to sources.

Beyond that, as noted by WSJ, the two firms operated as allies once upon a time, as Google sank $258 million three years ago in the ride-hailing firm. Uber, in its own strategic plan, has been developing its own maps in a challenge to Waze and, by extension, Google, and the two companies are competing to develop driverless cars. Uber said earlier in August that it bought Ottomotto, a truck startup that traces its genesis back to former Google employees. The driverless cars may become a feature in the ride-hailing service, pending testing.

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