Watch out Uber, now Google's getting into ride-sharing

Lynsey Barber
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Google's stepping on it with Waze carpooling plans (Source: Getty)

Google is getting in on the ride-sharing action with the expansion of a pilot feature helping commuters catch a ride from a driver heading in the same direction and who has a spare seat.

Google will use Waze, a real-time mapping and navigation startup it snapped three years ago, to connect those driving in San Francisco with potential passengers. The tech company has already been testing the service near its headquarters in California for several months and will soon make it available across the city, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Read more: Now you can book an Uber in advance as Scheduled Rides comes to London

The latest move by Google sees it muscling in on the territory of Uber and other ride-hailing apps which have sprung up in recent years with the rise of the on-demand sharing economy.

Should Uber be worried?

This roll out may currently be limited, but the average cost of getting a Waze is just 54 cents per mile in the pilot program, cheaper than an already low-cost Uber. Google doesn't take a fee and it is also trying to discourage drivers from becoming taxi drivers with the service rather than simply carpooling.

Read more: The world's first driverless taxis have hit the road (beating Uber)

The two companies are also both exploring driverless car technologies, and the increasing overlap between parts of Google's business and Uber resulted in a Google executive stepping down from the Uber board in recent weeks.

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