There seems to be an ongoing battle between Google (News - Alert) and Uber when it comes to providing the best car services. When Uber deployed self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this month, it became apparent that they had bested Google in the race to create the first autonomous vehicle. Now, the saga continues as Google moves into Uber’s territory by offering a competitive ride-sharing service to San Francisco commuters.
The purpose of Google’s new technology is to help commuters join carpools so that there will be fewer cars, and consequently less time spent, on the road. To do this, the company began a pilot program by its California headquarters in May. The program allows several thousand workers in the area at specific firms to use the Waze app to connect with other commuters. The Waze app enables users to choose the best routes in order to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. It also offers real time directions and updates on construction, accidents and police sightings.
With Waze, the commuters will be able to meet up with other people going along the same route, which is where the ride-sharing comes into play. If you wake up in the morning, turn on Waze, select the best route and discover that there are already plenty of people driving in the same direction, why not help improve traffic conditions by commuting?
You may speculate that drivers will take advantage of this new service by acting as taxi drivers. It could, hypothetically, result in people driving during rush hour that wouldn’t normally do so. Well, Google has thought of this as well. That’s why they’re making fares incredibly low; it’s unlikely that anyone will choose to operate as a taxi service if they’re only getting paid 54 cents per mile. That’s significantly less than most Uber and Lyft rides.
If this Waze ride-sharing goes according to plan, Google hopes to eventually enable it all over the country. That could be bad news for services like Uber. While Uber is cheaper than calling a taxi, it would still be more expensive than this Waze option. Plus, Uber doesn’t help the traffic situation by putting fewer cars on the road, which is a problem that Google could potentially be helping if this new endeavor works out well.
Thus, the battle continues between Google and Uber. Whenever one makes an advance, it seems like the other goes into overdrive to come up with something better. This competition is pretty great for us consumers, because we reap the rewards of their ongoing fight to be No. 1.