You wouldn’t think a company that has enjoyed the vast success Google has would dare step foot into an industry whose largest company is bleeding cash but that is exactly what Google has done. Despite the fact Uber has reported losses of 1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2016 Alphabet has announced the latest addition to their Google app platform in Waze Carpool.
Now I don’t want to make it sound like Google is taking too extreme of a risk here. They have enough cash on hand to play around with which is exactly what they will be doing since they have stated they will not be taking a percentage of the ride share cost.
Instead carpoolers will be expected to help pay for gas and general wear and tear of the vehicle. In the same way Google is not making a profit on the app neither will the driver. By making this decision Google has found a route around ride sharing laws which would require the company to run back round checks on drivers and pay them as chauffeur. Seems the lawyers at Google have been, as always, very busy.
For now the service is limited to the San Fransisco Bay area. Google is using 25,000 employees from local tech companies as pilots while it collects data and begins preparations to expand. According to the video expansion seems like it will take place in a natural way, download the carpool app and lend your fellow man a hand, no background check required.
Ultimately this may be the smoothest path Google could take to becoming the end all be all of transportation. Even though they will always have to compete with companies like Tesla for electric cars and Faraday Future, Uber and Lyft for ride sharing they have found a course to integrate their GPS, Ride Sharing App, and electric, self-driving Google cars into the everyday commute with the addition of Waze Carpool.