Google’s Uber Competitor Is Finally Here

Sep 30, 2016

Google’s Uber-like app is now available to users throughout the San Francisco area, The Wall Street Journal reports, marking the latest escalation in the simmering battle between the search giant and the ride-hailing firm.

The app, Waze Rider, is intended to match drivers and riders who are already headed in the same direction. By contrast, Uber drivers tend to criss-cross cities in search of fares. Another difference: Waze Rider offers cheaper prices for passengers, but also lower pay for drivers. And for now, drivers and riders alike can only use the app twice a day, the Journal reports.

Think of it, then, as a form of monetized carpooling.

Reports that Google would be expanding Waze Rider beyond an early testing phase first emerged about a month ago.

Waze Rider is the latest sign of Google and Uber’s increasingly frayed relationship. Google was an early backer of Uber, leading a $250 million funding round through its venture capital arm, Google Ventures (since renamed “GV”) back in 2013. Uber remained GV’s largest investment as of March.

For more about Google's ride service, watch:

Yet the firms are increasingly competing in fields like autonomous vehicles, mapping and, now, ride-hailing. Perhaps the most significant sign of a fissure came in August, when an executive from Google parent Alphabet departed Uber’s board.

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