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​Google Waze takes on Uber, Lyft with more carpooling

A twist on ride sharing, Waze is reportedly ready to expand its carpooling services beyond San Francisco and Israel into the US and Latin America.


Would you use carpooling over a paid car service?

Google's Waze crowdsourced navigation app has been exploring carpool services since last year, testing it in the San Francisco area and Israel. Now it looks ready to expand to other cities in the US and Latin America, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The difference with Waze's ride sharing is that it's a form of carpooling, while Uber and Lyft involve hiring drivers for the ride-share. This could mean Waze carpooling is a lot more affordable, but a different concept: drivers already heading to a certain area would be invited to pick up others who need rides.

"Can we get the average person on his way to work to pick someone up and drop them off once in a while? That's the biggest challenge," Waze CEO Noah Bardim said in an interview with the Journal.

It does seem like a pretty large challenge. According to the Journal story, carpoolers currently pay drivers 54 cents a mile as reimbursement. Waze could start charging riders 15 percent more on top of that in the future, according to Bardin, making Waze ride sharing more of a for-profit enterprise.

The other question remains: Would you be comfortable letting strangers ride in your car? Or riding in someone else's?

Waze confirmed plans to expand its carpooling program, but declined to embellish. "We look forward to potentially bringing Carpool to additional cities in the future but have no details to share at this time," Josh Fried, head of business development, Waze Carpool, told CNET.

First published Feb. 22, 9:47 a.m. PT.

Update, 12:34 p.m.: Adds comment from Waze.